Pastors of St. Charles Borromeo Parish
History of Original Parish Site
HISTORY OF ORIGINAL PARISH SITE
(Northeast Corner of Market Street and State Route 224)
In 1795, forty-eight men purchased land in the Western Reserve from the State of Connecticut. Three years later, the land was divided into shares. In 1805, the land was declared Boardman Township with the total population at approximately 200 people.
George Stilson’s property was on the northeast corner of Boardman Center in 1805. Boardman Center, was the intersection of Boardman Road (now Market Street) and Poland Road (West Street, which later became State Route 224).
Arthur Patrick purchased the property in 1836; and in 1847, the original house was torn down and another was built. It was a grand house in a very sparsely settled area. Arthur Patrick kept a noted tavern there for many years. It was the halfway stopping place on the stagecoach route between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
The land was repartitioned in 1867, at which time either some repairs were made to the house or an addition was constructed. When the rectory was moved in the 1950’s, the chimneys were dismantled in preparation to move the house. During that process workmen found a brick stamped “Canfield 1867” which correlates to a time when a brickyard is known to have been in operation in that location.
The estate continued in the Patrick family until North Newton sold it to Milton E. Coombs on October 23, 1919. Seven years later, the property was chosen by the Diocese of Cleveland to accommodate a Catholic Parish in the area.
Rev. Patrick Ferron Pastorship
REV. PATRICK FERRON
In 1926 Bishop Joseph Schrembs of the Cleveland Diocese bought approximately one and a quarter acres for the purpose of forming a parish. That property was on the northeast corner of Boardman Center, Boardman Road (now Market Street) and Poland Road (West Street, which later became State Route 224). On the grounds were a stately house and a garage.
Father Patrick J. Ferron was named the first pastor of St. Charles Church. The new parish was officially launched with the purchase of the land on November 4, the feast day of St. Charles. The parish included an estimated 200 families.
The first Mass was in the Boardman Town Hall on November 10, 1926. The house on the property served as the rectory and office. The parlor in the rectory was eventually converted to a chapel.
In 1927 the parish quickly outgrew the rectory and its small chapel. Plans were made to construct a church, which would also serve as the school. It would cost $15,000 to build, but the Cleveland Diocese only gave $5,000 for construction.
Being $10,000 short, male parishioners stepped in and constructed the new building. The men would go to work in the mills, only to come home, to go to St. Charles and build the church/school afterwards. They would work on the church till the late hours of the night. Up to 150 volunteers came at a time to build the new building. The church/school was built in one month’s time.
It was a large, roomy, frame structure, steam-heated and furnishes ample room for the 55 children attending the school and for church parties and socials.
Originally St. Charles students were to be bused in the mornings to the Boardman School (Center Intermediate School). The students would then walk to St. Charles School. In the afternoon, the procedure would be reversed and the students would walk back to the Boardman School to be transported home. The plan, however, was short lived. The students arrived for their first day of class without incident, but in the afternoon, they were not permitted to board the bus for their return home. A ruling made public school busing unavailable to parochial schools. Thus, beginning a dispute that would last for many years. The church purchased a Pierce-Arrow as an attempt to resolve the dilemma. The caretaker/custodian used the car to transport the students. The following year, the parish bought a bus and he continued his added duty as driver.
The St. Charles School had two classrooms. Sr. Mary Alice Ryan taught grades 1-4 in one and in the other, grades 5-8 were taught by Sr. Helen Wernet. They were nuns from the Ursuline Order in Youngstown.
Marked by the stock market crash of 1929, the St. Charles School lacked the necessary funds to stay open and in 1932, Fr. Ferron was forced to close its doors.
Rev. John Crann Pastorship
REV. JOHN CRANN
Fr. John M. Crann became the second pastor of St. Charles Parish in 1936, replacing Fr. Ferron. Due to the great depression, the growth of the parish remained dormant for many years. During this time, parishioners helped each other in whatever ways they could. They shared food, talents, and clothing.
By the 1940’s, with the economy beginning to boom, due to World War II, the population in the area including the church grew immensely. The Diocese of Youngstown was established on May 15, 1943 and was structured in canon law by July 22, 1943. The six northeastern Ohio counties of Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, and Trumbull separated from the Cleveland Diocese and constituted the new formation. Bishop James A. McFadden was the first bishop of the Youngstown Diocese.
Parishioner at the time, T. Kirwin Obendorfer became the first St. Charles parishioner to become a priest. He was ordained by Archbishop Hoban on May 16, 1943. He attended Immaculate Conception grade school and Ursuline High School. He continued his studies in Maryland at St. Charles College in Canton and John Hopkins University in Baltimore. He attended the Catholic University of America in Washington.
In the years following World War II, there was much social and economic activity. As the country recovered with a renewed energy, so did the parish of St. Charles. In 1945, Fr. Crann left St. Charles and Monsignor John L. Bardon began his pastorship.
Msgr. John Bardon Pastorship
MSGR. JOHN BARDON
In 1945, John L. Bardon began his pastorship. The Sunday Mass schedule consisted of five Masses and was apparent that the parish had outgrown its church on the Northeast corner of Boardman Center. In addition, approximately 275 children were attending CCD classes.
On June 2, 1949, St. Charles Church bought a portion of the Hitchcock Farm property, with the purpose of expansion.
To help raise funds the St. Charles Parish held its annual festival on the original parish grounds for the last time on July 28, 1950. The following year, an alternative festival site, a store in the Boardman Plaza, was provided by parishioner and entrepreneur, Edward DeBartolo Sr.
Construction of the new school began in March 1951, with an estimated cost of $300,000. The tan brick building had one story with an elevated basement. The lower level accommodated a temporary church with seating for 1,000 persons. The facility also housed eight classrooms, a kitchen, nurse’s station, office, and cafeteria. Prior to the opening of the1952-1953 school year, approximately 350 students were registered.
In 1954, a $100,000 program was executed beginning with an addition, which was built onto the north end of the school. The prior worship area on the lower level of the school was converted to classrooms and the new addition temporarily housed the church. It was intended that the addition would become a combination of cafeteria and gymnasium after the construction of the permanent church.
Steady progress carried into the 1960’s. The boundaries of the surrounding area that made up the parish had not changed since the parish was established in 1926. In September of 1960, Bishop Walsh announced the formation of St. Michael’s Mission to serve Catholics in the Canfield area. Msgr. John L. Bardon, pastor of St. Charles, was assigned to direct the mission. Members of the new St. Michael’s mission were formerly parishioners of St. Charles.
The tract of land, which was the original site of the parish, was subdivided in June 1964 into three lots. The separate parcels were then sold with the most favorable economic advantage.
In June 1966, Monsignor Bardon retired. His 21-year pastorate is the longest in the history of the parish. He would long be remembered for his “all business” leadership and commanding personality.
Msgr. Adelbert Cook Pastorship
MSGR. ADELBERT COOK
In June 1966, Monsignor Adelbert J. Cook became the fourth pastor of St. Charles Parish, following Monsignor Bardon’s retirement.
During Msgr. Cook’s tenure the parish of St. Charles approved a plan in June 1968, to increase the size of the school building by one-third. The addition included three classrooms and a library at a cost of $150,000.
Then in 1972 the church was remodeled and received a new look. The restoration included a new altar, carpeting, and refinishing the pews. The sanctuary was also elevated and included an addition of a concave screen behind the altar. The high point of the project was a pipe organ, which was purchased for $650.00 from the First Congregational Welsh Church of New Castle. Upon completion, Msgr. Cook, Fr. Richard Brobst, Fr. Joseph Iati, and Romeo Brooks, a diocesan adult education director and priesthood candidate, celebrated a Mass. A dedication of the organ and blessing of the altar took place during that Mass.
Msgr. Cook retired in 1977.
Rev. Francis Haidet Pastorship
REV. FRANCIS HAIDET
In 1977, Fr. Francis Haidet became the fifth pastor of St. Charles Parish, following the retirement of Msgr. Cook.
Plans for a social hall were made in the spring of 1978. The original frame church, moved to the new parish site, was being utilized for meetings and social events. The building had problems with flooding in the basement as well as vandalism. It was torn down after being condemned.
The parish had a fundraising goal of $600,000. Construction was started following the groundbreaking ceremony in July. In May 1979, work was completed and Bishop James W. Malone dedicated the new hall in the name of Father Haidet.
The parish experienced a great sadness in 1985 when Fr. Haidet died unexpectedly on Holy Thursday.
Rev. Richard Reis Pastorship
REV. RICHARD REIS
By the mid 1980’s, St. Charles Parish had grown to approximately 2,800 families. The school had over 500 students and CCD enrollment was close to the same. The temporary church was no longer adequate. Sunday Masses were standing room only. Once again St. Charles Parish had outgrown its worship space.
A committee representing a cross section of the parish addressed the issue of more space. They found that the amount of structural changes needed to make the temporary church fit to accommodate the needs of the parish would cost 1.3 million dollars. Also, if that would be the course of action taken, the school would still not be able to utilize the area that housed the temporary church. The area was intended to be a combination gymnasium/cafeteria. The committee concluded that plans should be pursued to build a permanent church. The recommendation was made to Parish Council. The decision was made to go ahead with the project. That marked the beginning of a four-year ventured filled with a combination of hope, distress, anticipation, and hard work.
The original bid for he church as $2.8 million dollars. To cut costs, an office wing was cut from the plan. In addition, it was decided that vinyl-covered drywall would be used on the interior walls instead of brick. The changes in design reduced the cost by $500,000. The cement-tiled roof was also cut from the plan, but upon further decision it was put back into the design. The great pine beams were then necessary to support the weight of the tiles. In spite of the efforts to cut back, the final cost had escalated to an amount greater than originally expected.
The ground breaking was celebrated in November 1990. One year later, on November 24, 1991 the long awaited church of St.Charles Parish was dedicated. After 65 years of practicing their faith in temporary places of worship, the family of St. Charles moved into its new spiritual home.
The feeling inside the new church was one of spaciousness and community. The combination of natural materials offered and ambiance of strength with warmth. There was a sharp contrast between the atmosphere of the new church and that of the prior gymnasium-to-church conversion. While the parishioners were excited to have a beautiful new church to enjoy, the old church held many precious memories. It was a church, which had served its purpose well for 37 years. It functions as the place where Masses were held and Sacraments were received. It was the setting of countless weddings, baptisms, and funerals and where the post war generation raised its families. It allowed a growing parish to worship while staying within its means, and investing instead in a school to educate its children in the Catholic faith. That choice was a strong example of the parish philosophy. Since its establishment, the members of St. Charles parish had demonstrated that the church is not only of raw building materials, but also of the people and preservation of their faith.
Due to declining health, Rev. Reis, retired in 1995 and later passed away in 1998.
Rev. Daniel Venglarik Pastorship
REV. DANIEL VENGLARIK
Father Daniel M. Venglarik succeeded Fr. Reis in July 1995. Upon Fr. Dan’s arrival, the parish adopted the Jerusalem Cross as symbol to identify our parish.
In 1995, the parish was in the midst of converting the old church into a auditorium, library, meeting room, and storage space. The former balcony of the old church was walled in and created a meeting room for study groups as well as a storage area. Below the balcony, a library for the school was created.
Several other projects were completed in 1997. In the spring, a new stage and library for the school were dedicated. The stage was named in honor of the late Fr. John Andrecic, an associate pastor who was fond of the arts. During the summer months, an old garage, parallel to the east wall of the school was demolished. A new garage was built adjoining the northeast corner of the rectory. In the fall, three modular classrooms were added on to the school.
In the church there are twelve glass panels dividing the sanctuary from the gathering space which were etched and completed in 1998.
In November 2000, St. Charles members attended the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) conference in Arlington, Virginia. St. Charles Parish received The Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Award. This award is given out nationally to a parish for its outstanding work in stewardship. St. Charles Parish, through the leadership of the Stewardship Commission was compelled and impassioned to model and to educate all members of the parish in stewardship as a “Way of Life.” Everyone is called to be a disciple of Jesus. Everyone possesses a unique gift given by God. Everyone is responsible for using his or her talent to make whole the Body of Christ. In the process, God assures everyone of His continual presence promising that all that is needed will be given.
It was no secret that St. Charles Borromeo Parish and School outgrew its facilities in the new millennium. The Parish needed more space in the school, more space for meetings in the church, and more parking.
In early 2000, the decision was made to clear the trees at the top of the hill on the south side of the property for a parking lot expansion. In order to do this, the school’s playground would also have to be moved to the top of the hill. During July 2000 the new parking lot expansion was completed along with handrails and steps leading down to the main parking lot.
In June 2000, the Finance Council met and discussed future facility needs. Those needs included additions and renovations to the school for space and security reasons, a new Ministries Building, which would house parish offices, and meeting spaces for parish groups, bereavement meals, social activities and other parish meetings and functions.
In 2001, after numerous meetings with the Ad Hoc Committee, Finance Council, and Pastoral Council, it was decided to proceed forward with the plans for the new additions to the parish properties. Besides a new school edition and a new ministries building, it also included expansion of the kitchen facilities in the social hall, a new sacristy, new restrooms, and choir room. The new addition to the school included an art room, music room, media center, offices, and cafeteria. A permanent full time gymnasium was also part of the plan. It was a $4.5 million project and monies were collected through the Enhancing Our Ministries Program.
Additionally the project included plans for the replacement of the school roof and new windows. In 2002, the school’s roof was replaced with a pitched roof, rather than a flat roof, for better drainage.
During 2003, ground was broken for the new ministries building. Additions and renovations to the school were completed by September. The ministry building was completed in the spring of 2004.
In 2004, parishioners traveled to El Salvador and developed a sister parish. Upon returning the parishioners spoke with Pastoral Council. The Pastoral Council requested that this not be a project for just one special committee, but that as a parish community we should see it as all of our responsibility to share with a parish community in another part of the world. The purpose of the Sister Parish is primarily about communication between two communities-different culturally, socially and economically, but of the same faith with its struggles, ideals, and successes. It is about achieving the solidarity of Christian love and enriching all who work for it.
During 2004 many additional updates and changes were made to the school, old church and social hall. The old church, which at the time was the auditorium, was converted into a gymnasium. The Athletic Club removed the asbestos from the ceiling, added new paint, new lights and a new gym floor. The old glass basketball backboards from the social hall and installed them in the new gym.
Updates to the Social Hall included new lighting, new electrical outlets as well as the installation of new kitchen equipment.
In December 2004, the portico was finished and forever changed the landscape of the church.
With the generous donation of time, talent and treasure of the parishioners many more projects, large and small, were brought to fruition during Fr. Dan’s leadership.
On May 3, 2007, only six months after being diagnosed, Fr. Daniel Venglarik, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
After his death, Bishop George Murry S.J., appointed Fr. Philip Rogers as Administrator until a permanent pastor was announced.
Rev. Philip Rogers Pastorship
REV. PHILIP ROGERS
Fr. Philip Rogers was officially installed as new Pastor of St. Charles on November 4, 2007.
In 2008, the parish wanted to honor the late Pastor, Fr. Daniel Venglarik by erecting a Bell Tower in his name. A letter was found from a meeting in 2005 between Fr. Dan and the The Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, which described the Trinity Tower. That design was chosen and would cost $50,000. A memorial fund began and was to be built solely on donations. The fund garnished over $87,850.00 and the monies that exceeded the actual cost of construction and installation was used to assure upkeep and landscaping around the memorial.
A new parish sign was also erected in front of the church on State Route 224.
Conversation began in 2007 regarding a Habitat for Humanity project. As a partner in the project, we were responsible for providing the money ($50,000) for one home, the volunteers, and the meals for the build.
In 2009, a massive change occurred at St. Charles School. After 57 years of St. Charles School, the first lay-person was hired as school principal. The principal at the time, Sr. Mary Alyce Koval retired as the school principal and Mary Welsh was hired.
In 2013, the pews and kneelers in the sanctuary were reupholstered and refinished along with the installation of new carpet. The pews were changed from a maroon/red color to a light green. The floor/carpeting was also changed, the carpet originally was a maroon/white combination, which was changed to plain maroon carpet squares, while the aisle and the gathering space carpet were changed to a green/maroon/white paisley combination.
In 2014, the modular classrooms that were put in during 1997 were taken down and sold to Youngstown Christian School.
Following a harsh winter in 2015 it was obvious the parish needed a new roof. After much planning, surveying and meetings, a new campaign was needed to pay for the new roof. Raise the Roof Campaign began in September 2015. The parish needed to raise at least $1 million in order to repair and replace the damaged roof.
Many ministries have been created during Fr. Roger’s time as Pastor, including, Community Meal, Graceful Hands, Rosary Makers, Ladies Who Dine, and the rosary being recited before Saturday Mass.
Today the parish has approximately 3,300 families. The enrollment (2015-2016 school year) of the school is 337 students, 22 teachers, 1 administrator, and 16 support staff. There are 424 CCD students (K-8), 29 Catechists, 2 substitute catechists, 1 classroom aide, 2 office helpers and 7 JAM Catechists. Youth Ministry encompasses approximately 75 youth, which are involved with the Celebrate and Ablaze programs.