The History of Christ the Servant Parish

The process of merging our parishes, Our Lady of Peace and Saint Paul’s, called for a new name that represented the living legacy and the future of both parishes.  The reconfiguration of our parish community as one became effective on the Feast of Christ the King, November 21, 2010.

Our Lady of Peace Church Community was established on June 27,1952 by the decree of Bishop Emmett M. Walsh, Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown.

Most of the early parishioners were from the parishes of St. John and St. Peter. Today over 900 families call Our Lady of Peace “Home.”

The first pastor was Fr. Paul Marceau, who began celebrating parish Mass at the chapel of Sancta Clara Monastery.

Ground was broken for the new church on November 8th 1953, the cornerstone was laid on May 23, 1954 and the first Mass was celebrated on December 8th, 1954 – the feast of Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception.


Msgr. Gaetano Announces Christ the Servant Name Change

A very important mission of the church began with the establishment of the Parish school in 1957. The Sisters of the Daughters of Charity staffed the school for many years, followed by the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown and then by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. The school now numbers about 270 students K thru 8.

The sisters occupied the convent, built in 1957.  The convent gradually has served a variety of purposes until became the Our Lady of Peace Center for Early Learning and Kindergarten Readiness in 2011. 

In 2012 an extensive renovation program was begun on the church, incorporating important memento's from the former St. Paul in Canton Church. 

In May of 1999 a new Parish Activity Center, located at the northwest end of the property, was dedicated.  Alumni Hall, our gymnasium, serves both the school and the wider community. 

St. Paul's Catholic Church of Canton started humbly in 1907 as a chapel. It was a remodeled section of the barn which stood on the property purchased that year. Sharing the barn was a temporary school, which the Sisters of the Humility of Mary volunteered to staff.

The optimism of Father Joseph M. Paulus, who organized the fledgling parish, was soon dashed, however, when instead of the expected 130 families, only 30 families signed on as members. With an average monthly collection of $17, there was not enough money to build a church and not even enough children to justify a school.

By 1910 there was a new pastor, Father John F. Maloney, but the future did not look promising. The parish was not disbanded, however. From May 1911 to December 1918 the parish continued to function, recording marriages, baptisms and deaths under the signature of Father W.C. Zierolf. Although he was not a resident pastor, Father Zierolf apparently kept afloat the parish, which was comprised mostly of working families who benefited from increased work during the early years of World War I. When the parish passed to Father J.W. Schmitz, he was able to initiate a building plan for a permanent church and school.

By 1921 the church and school were completed and three years later Father J.A. Stefanic became the pastor, retaining the position until 1948.

As all long-established parishes, in the following 60 years St. Paul's experienced growth and decline, which generally followed the economic and social patterns of the city where it was located. Throughout its history, St. Paul's was always the “helping hand” on which people in the community could count.

The process of merging our parishes, Our Lady of Peace and Saint Paul’s,on one campus respected the dedication of both Our Lady of Peace and St. Paul's.  Christ the Servant was chosen as the name of the parish, and Our Lady of Peace was designated as the worship site for Christ the Servant Parish. 

The process for the transition to one worship site continued to take precedence in the pastoral care of Christ the Servant Parish and in creating a responsible reply to the future challenges of the Catholic Community.

On January 23, 2011, Monsignor Lewis F. Gaetano announced Our Lady of Peace Church as the chosen worship site for Christ the Servant Parish.

The following priests have served as pastors of our churches through their history.

Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church St. Paul's Catholic Church of Canton
Msgr. Paul Marceau 1952-68 Fr. Joseph M. Paulus, 1906-1910
Fr. John Rath 1968-75 Fr. John F. Maloney, 1910-1911
Fr. William Picard 1975-78 Fr. W.C. Zierolf, 1911-1918
Fr. Conrad Gromada 1978-83 Fr. J.W. Schmitz, 1918-1924
Msgr. P. Breen Malone 1983-86 Fr. J.A. Stefanic, 1924-1948
Fr. John Nentwick 1986-2005 Fr. Ernest J. Smith, 1948-1953
Fr. Thomas Crum 2005-2009 Fr. Herman Klocker, 1954-1973

Fr. J. Robert Coleman, 1973-1986

Fr. Dacian Barrette 1986-1987

Fr. Joseph P. Martin  1987-2000

Fr. John Zuzik  2000-2003

Fr. Nicholas Mancini 2000-2003

Fr. Joseph Gleixner 2003-2008

Msgr. Lewis F. Gaetano,  Pastor of Christ the Servant Parish and                                                                         Administrator of Our Lady of Peace School, 2008-Present