St. Patrick Parish, Wellington – Founded 1851
Like much of the historic Village of Wellington, Ohio, St. Patrick Parish owes much of its early development to the growth of the railroad industry. By the middle of the nineteenth century, 250 of Wellington’s 1,556 residents were Irish-Catholics, many of whom were employed as railroad construction workers. In 1851, these Irish‑Catholics petitioned Bishop Amadeus Rappe to establish a local Catholic Church, only the third congregation in the Village of Wellington. Bishop Rappe gave his blessing to the new community and began sending priests to celebrate Mass. Five years later, the community purchased property on Hamilton Street, where it erected its first church in 1858. In the wake of the American Civil War, Wellington became home to a number of butter- and cheese-processing factories, which soon began shipping millions of pounds of dairy products throughout the United States and to Great Britain. Bishop Richard Gilmour elevated the community to parochial status in 1878, appointing Father John Galvin its first pastor. Seven years later, the parish erected its first rectory on a lot adjacent to the church on Hamilton Street. After succeeding Father Galvin, Father George Vahey served the community for only eight months before leaving Wellington. Upon his departure, the parish became a mission of St. Francis Parish in Medina, Ohio; the Diocese reinstated the community’s parochial status in 1893. During the next two decades, the St. Patrick community welcomed a number of pastors: Father John Powers (1893-1896), Father Stephan Weber (1896-1898), and Father Leonard Plumanns (1898-1903). The parish reverted to mission status again in 1903. Three years later, the community received administrator, Father Peter E. Dietz, who served the community from Sacred Heart Parish in Oberlin, Ohio.
Recognizing the need for a larger church, parishioner John O’Brien helped secure the former North Elementary School in 1907. The community returned to parochial status in October 1908, welcoming its new pastor, Father Michael Shannon, who served only a few months. Once again, the congregation became a mission. After the community renovated a building on Adam Street, it was dedicated as the second St. Patrick Church on December 6, 1908. The church received a number of donations, including stained-glass windows from Myron T. Herrick, former Governor of the State of Ohio, and Charles F. Devereaux. During the next three decades, the community received a number of priests from various parishes, failing to return to parochial status until 1933, when it welcomed its new pastor, Father William T. Moran. By the time Father Charles J. McCann became pastor in 1943, the church proved too small for the growing congregation. Following extensive renovation, Bi shop Edward F. Hoban blessed the facility on September 229 1946. Two years later, the community erected a new rectory.
Between 1956 and 1965, Father Edward F. Maher shepherded the St. Patrick community, retiring the parish’s debt and purchasing a corner lot at the intersection of Main and Lincoln Streets. Responding to further population growth during the pastorate of his predecessor Father Ira R. Still (1965-1968), St. Patrick Parish’s pastor, Father Willard F. Wiesler (1968-1976), established a building fund for a new church. In 1976, Bishop James A. Hickey and Father James J. Reymann (1976-2016), decided to erect the new church on Main Street. Work on the building began with the October 23, 1976 groundbreaking ceremony and concluded with Bishop Hickey’s dedication of the building exactly one year later. To preserve the historical continuity of the community, the parish incorporated statuary and furnishings from the old church into the new facility, supplementing them with donations of pews and chandeliers from the St. Dymphna Catholic chapel of the former Cleveland State Hospital on Turney Road.
Under the guidance of Father David Trask (2016-present), St. Patrick Parish continues to uphold the traditions of its Irish-Catholic founders. Through a variety of religious and social organizations, it remains a visible reminder of the role of the Catholic Church in Wellington and northern Ohio.