History of OLPH
On April 9, 1954, Bishop Michael J. Ready announced the official establishment of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Grove City, Ohio. The boundaries were set to cover territory in Southwest Franklin County with the Scioto River on the East, Frank, Clime and Alkire Roads on the North, the Madison County Line on the West and the Pickaway County Line on the South. Most Catholics south of the city to Mt. Sterling attended the Grove City Parish. Msgr. Harold O’Donnell was appointed Administrator of the new parish and would serve until September when the first pastor arrived, Father Richard Hoch. The Community Theatre was purchased on Broadway and was used for several years.
The First Mass was celebrated on April 25, 1954, with 90 adults and 31 children present. Many who came to the first Mass were grateful for the new parish for they previously had to travel as much as 30 miles to attend Mass. Within the first year, 73 families had registered.
In 1955, the parish grew to 154 families, and in 1956 to 216 families. The parish grew so rapidly in 1957 with 363 families that the first assistant priest was appointed, Father Robert Luchi.
In 1959 the parish had outgrown its original home in the theatre. Land at 3752 Broadway, a former dog track, was purchased by the diocese in 1953 and became the site of a new building. Three days before Bishop Ready’s death, the plans for the new church and school were approved. Construction began on the present edifice and Bishop Edward Hettinger, Auxiliary Bishop of Columbus, laid the cornerstone on September 27, 1959. Though not completely finished, used furnishings, old pews, and altar supplies were given from several churches and were put into the new church so that Mass could be offered for the first time at Midnight Mass Christmas, 1959.
Following the dedication of the church, the parish school grew and the first addition of eight classrooms was completed by 1970. Shortly after that, the present rectory at 3710 Broadway was purchased.
In 1977, after 23 years as the first and only pastor, Father Richard Hoch was honored by the parish for many zealous years of service to Grove City.
Bishop Edward Hermann appointed Father Thomas Shonebarger on June 21, 1977, as the second pastor of the parish. At this time the parish had grown to 850 families and was still growing.
Since the church was still using many of the donated and used furnishings that were beginning to need much repair, a fund drive was begun in 1978-79 to enlarge and renovate the church. A tower and steeple were added which enclosed an elevator for the handicapped, air-conditioning for the church and cafeteria. A new Schantz pipe organ and all new furnishings in the church including walls, ceiling, carpeting, a small cry-room, and new sacristy, bride’s room and many other new features were added at this time. On Sunday, September 16, 1979, Bishop Hermann celebrated a Liturgy of Re-dedication.
Another project was yet to take place. New office space for the school and Religious Education Department, along with a full-sized gymnasium, was approved and work completed in 1981.
Fr. Romano Ciotola was appointed pastor in July 1987 and led the parish for the next 13 years. This included, in 1997, a major fund drive that was undertaken, predominantly for the construction of the new church/parish building and conversion of old church space to classrooms. The project saw the addition of the basement, funded by a major donation from the Knights of Columbus. The church building project was completed and dedicated by Bishop Griffin in September 1999.
Bishop Griffin appointed Fr. Stephen Hawkins pastor in July 2000, though he served less than a year and passed away on Feb 15, 2001. Fr. Joseph Stanton served as the interim administrator until Fr. John Swickard was appointed pastor by Bishop Griffin in April 2001, in time for the celebration of Holy Week. He introduced a formalized Stewardship program, which brought significant contribution of time, talent and treasure from the parish family. Through much generosity, the new church/parish building debt was paid off in November 2008, as well as numerous enhancements including the addition of air conditioning and replacement of windows in the school, and an elevator and bell tower in the church building. In the fall of 2010, Fr. John Swickard took a medical leave of absence and Fr. Daniel J. Millisor was appointed as interim pastor.
Fr. Dan Millisor was formally appointed pastor by Bishop Campbell in the spring of 2011 after Fr. Swickard officially retired.