History of Our Church

Parish History – St. Jude

St. Jude Church in Columbiana began as St. Patrick Mission on November 6, 1960 with the first mass said by Father Paul Petric in the all-purpose room of Joshua Dixon School with 75 people present. Father Michael Chonko was assigned as administrator in December 1960 and served for 5 years. During that time the initial First Communion service took place in May 1961 and a CCD program was started in September 1961. In September 1965, Father Frank Lehnerd was assigned and the name was changed to St. Jude Mission with a second mass added. The Mission was elevated to a Parish in March 1966 and Msgr. P. Breen Malone was the first pastor. A Parish Council was also started. Father James Stenson was the next pastor in June 1967 and Father David Lettau succeeded him in June 1968. In September 1969, ground was broken for the church on Seventh Street and in 1970 a house was purchased adjacent to the property as a rectory. The first Mass and First Communion were held in the new St. Jude Church on May 2, 1970. Father Donald Oser became pastor in 1970. The church held a form dedication on August 9, 1970. By June 1971 the parish had grown to 125 families and Father Robert Flynn was named pastor and he was there until 1986. The parish grew to 450 families and on December 14, 1980, its Activity Center was dedicated. It served as the parish CCD center as well as for meetings and social events. In July 1984, Father Gabriel Yablonsky became pastor until June 1991 when Father Edward Wieczorek succeeded him. Father Thomas Zeigler became pastor in August 1995. The parish has been blessed by having three Permanent Deacons ordained: the late Mr. Eugene Basile, the late Dr. Louis Cosentino, and the late Dr. Terry Coulter. Each Deacon assisted the various pastors with different ministries. St. Jude Parish had had a very activate Women’s Guild as well as a Men’s Club which was the forerunner of the St. Jude Knights of Columbus Council #10183. Both organizations have been responsible for financially assisting the parish with numerous needs throughout the years. In 2001 an addition was added to the buildings to house more classrooms and the church offices. Then in 2006, a new Rectory was built across from the church. In 2009 St. Jude and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in East Palestine began a collaboration and shared one priest. St. Jude gained the benefit of another Deacon, Christopher Evans. He formed a Bereavement Support Group at St. Jude. Father Christopher Cicero became pastor in February 2014. He formed Caritas of St. Jude as a charity ministry that offers monthly free community meals and a food drive. A Parish Festival also started in 2016. A recent Capital Campaign was successfully held and a major renovation and enlargement of the church are currently underway. The dedication of the new church held in 2018.

Parish History – Our Lady of Lourdes

Prior to 1872, Catholics in East Palestine walked 5 miles to St. Rose in Cannelton, PA to attend Mass offered by Father Bingham. On June 6, 8:00 a.m. 1872, the first Mass in East Palestine was said at the home of Mr. And Mrs. John Boyle by Father Eli J.W. Lindesmith, the pastor from Salem and Leetonia. During the time from 1872 to 1880, Father Lindesmith continued to offer Mass weekly in private homes in East Palestine. In 1881, Msgr. Clement Treiber founded the parish of 25 families and began to construct the first church. It was a 30 by 60 foot wooden structure at West Clark and North Walnut Streets. The first Mass was offered by Msgr.Treiber in 1881. The church was dedicated June 10, 1883 by Reverend Richard Gilmore, Bishop of Cleveland with 2,500 people in attendance. In 1886 Msgr. Treiber purchased three acres on the back road to Unity for St. Mary’s cemetery. The first burial took place on February 17, 1887, for Mrs. Albert Shaffer, 27 years old. Father William Finucane served as pastor from 1887-1888, followed by Father Senner from 1888-99. During that time the mission debt was liquidated. Then in 1899-1900 Father Edward M. Reagan purchased the site for a rectory and the present-day church at 210 East Main Street. During 1900 Father Boyle, the pastor in Salem, ministered to the parish until a new priest could be sent. From 1900-1929, Father Joseph Barth supervised the building of the rectory and was the first of ten priests to reside there. In 1905 St. Mary’s Ladies Aid, a vital and active part of the church community, was formed. The Knights of Columbus Reagan Council was founded on February 10, 1918. Father Peter Gribbon served from 1929-1933. Father J.W. Kegg served from 1933-35. Father Heid arrived from Cleveland in 1935. Under his guidance, the new church was built with the cornerstone laid on October 22, 1939. On February 14, 1940, Reverend Thomas Walsh of East Liverpool dedicated the new church and Father Heid celebrated the first Mass in the new church. In 1951, construction of the parish school began. On September 17, 1951, the school was blessed by Bishop Emmet M. Walsh. There were 59 boys and girls Grade 1-8. In 1952, Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown moved into their 6-bedroom convent. More classrooms were added in 1961. In 1965 Rev. John Cunningham was appointed to assist Father Heid. In 1967 Msgr. Joseph Heid retired. Father John Pertz was pastor in 1967-68. From 1968-72, Father Martin Matulick’s pastorate, the old altar, and altar rail were removed and replaced and the school was closed due to lack of enrollment. In 1972 the school was renovated and a kitchen was added and named “Heid Hall”. Father Edward Dierker served from 1972-74 and Father Robert Bruce from 1974-1981. Father Dezo B.Torok served from 1981-93 and converted the convent into a duplex. Father Dan Cipar served from 1993-2010. He was appreciated for his pastoral gift of caring for the sick and dying. Formal collaboration with St. Jude, Columbiana began in 2009. From 2011-2014, Father Thomas G. Ziegler cared for the parish as administrator; he oversaw the sale of the rectory. In 2014 Father Christopher Cicero was named pastor, the church is now in the process of being renovated. The history of the church in East Palestine is one of pride, caring, dedication and this continues to this day.