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HISTORY: From Our Lady of Peace Dedication Brochure
December 10, 1967
“Few members of our parish can recall with much clarity the northeast corner of Dominion Blvd. and north High Street as it existed on January 17, 1946.
This was the date the late Bishop Michael J. Ready decreed the boundaries of a new parish to be called Our Lady of Peace. Fr. George H. Foley was named first pastor.
The new pastor actually launched the parish when he moved into an apartment at 4217 N. High Street, near Cooke Rd., a few days after his appointment.
Weekday Masses were said in the apartment. Sunday Mass first was held in the Beechwold Theater and later in the A. A. Schroyer Funeral Home (now Weir Arend).
Meanwhile, the site of the present church and school was purchased. It contained two buildings; one was an old farm house at the corner which was torn down and the second became the first rectory and, later, the first convent. Behind these buildings thrived a vegetable garden, trees, weeds and a mass of just plain mud.
The first church on the property consisted of a barracks obtained from the Army Supply Depot at Marion. It was located at the northwest edge of the parish property, facing High Street. Kneelers and benches were constructed by prisoners of war.
The date of the first Mass in the church is in dispute; some say Easter Sunday, 1946, while others contend it was June 1.
Members of the parish cleared the ground and re-assembled the barracks for the church. They also erected a double barracks for the first school which opened September 3, 1947.
The Dominican Sisters accepted the assignment of teaching at the school. Sister Mary Lucille was the first principal.
Until a convent was provided in the fall of 1951, the nuns resided at St. Francis parish convent. They commuted daily. Their transportation frequently was the transit bus which then had its terminus at Blenheim road. This provided considerable exercise for the nuns.
An old mobile voting booth was used by the nuns as a kitchenette to prepare their noon lunches. During those first several years, the pupils frequently were excused early from classes because of inability to heat the classrooms adequately.
Enrollment at the school jumped from 55 in 1947 to 150 in 1951 and the school was expanded from six to eight grades.
Bishop Ready presided at cornerstone rites for a new school on June 14, 1951. That fall, the rectory was converted into a convent and the nuns finally had a home at Our Lady of Peace.
Fr. Foley moved into a house just east of the school. (Editor's note 2009: The exact location remains a question. There are no records found from Parish records, Bishop’s Office, or Franklin County Auditor’s site.)
The new school was dedicated April 27, 1952. It consisted of six classrooms, a basement also used for classrooms, an office, teachers’ room, and a boiler plant. The school later was expanded.
Following Sister Lucille’s tenure as principal, the office was filled successively by Sisters Romaine, Macaria and Mary Joseph. Present principal is Sister M. Christopher.
The present church, an adjunct to the school, was dedicated by Bishop Ready in December, 1953, as a “temporary place of worship.” Last Mass in the church, which will become a gymnasium, will be celebrated at 12 (noon) December 10.
On February 2, 1965, Fr. Foley died after a lengthy illness. Bishop John J. Carberry appointed Msgr. Frank T. Riehl, then of St. Ladislas parish, to Our Lady of Peace with a mandate to construct a new church.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held April 12, 1966, during a downpour of rain. Auxiliary Bish Edward G. Hettinger officiated at the cornerstone laying rite on March 19, 1967.
Fr. Donald Maroon is the latest in a series of assistant pastors. Previous pastoral aides were Frs. Brice Metzger, David Corcoran, Frank Fortkamp, Kenneth Grimes, Roland Torrer and John Tague.
Msgr. Leonard Fick of the Josephinum Pontifical College also has rendered outstanding service to the parish.
Fr. Edward McFarland, vice principal of Watterson High School, is the parish’s lone ordained priest although several young men of the parish currently are attending seminaries.
Vocations for parish girls include Sr. Mary Thomas (Diana Gorsuch), Sr. Veronica Marie (Jean Conrad), and Sr. Benjamin (Elizabeth Jackson)…
Our Lady of Peace Church was designed to conform with directives of the Ecumenical Council.
The Blessed Sacrament rests on an elevated altar in the highest part of the sanctuary.
The church will seat 600 who will face the white marble altar from three sides. The church floor has a light slope to augment the altar view and thus the participation in the Mass.
The baptistery is located at the church entrance with a recessed floor containing a white marble baptistery font. (2009 Editor's Note: no longer true)
The priest will approach the altar along the center aisle from the sacristy which is at the northeast section of the church.
Two small side chapels are dedicated to Our Lady of Peace and to St. Joseph.
Narrow stained-glass windows contain varying symbolized themes.
Windows in the main body of the church depict the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a background design of olive branches denoting peace. Windows of singing angels supplement the choir area, located behind the altar, while the windows in the baptistery symbolize that sacrament. The four windows at the entrance depict the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The ceiling of the church consists of heavy wood decking 31/2 inches thick to span the wide spacing supports. The roof frame is steel enclosed with wood paneling. The ceiling has soft tan and brown tones. The ceiling slopes upwardly from the four exterior walls and terminates at a skylight 32 feet above the sanctuary.
In addition, the building complex includes a rectory, connected to the church by offices, and a new convent. The convent is located east of the school.
The basement of the church and rectory contains rooms for meetings, brides, grooms, library, restrooms, kitchenette, storage and for mechanical equipment.
Plans call for the former church to be converted into a gymnasium.
Thank You Sisters: This year, 1967, is the 20th anniversary of the Dominican Sisters at Our Lady of Peace. A new convent is a part of a new building complex which includes a new church and school. This new convenience is a far cry from the early days of the parish when nuns commuted daily from St. Francis parish convent, prepared lunch in an old mobile voting booth and fought the weeds and mud in the playground and cold in the classrooms located in a former prisoner of war barracks. Sister M. Christopher has served as principal of the school since the fall of 1965. The teaching nuns are Sisters M. Norita, M. Michaeleen, M Melinda, M. Felicitas, and M. Martin de Porres.
Parish Figures: Parish Families 745, School Enrollment 297, Baptisms, 1024, First Communicants 828, Confirmants 879, Marriages 240, Burials 164
From Columbus Mayor M. E. Sensenbrenner”…Our Lady of Peace Church, under the direction of Monsignor Riehl, will make an important contribution to a fast-changing and vital area of our ‘All-American’ community, as we move ever closer to a new century. Let us hope that in these years ahead, distinguished by challenge and change, your namesake---Our Lady of Peace---truly find a place in the hearts of all men and reigns over City, State, Nation and world…”
From Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes”…May the patron of your Church be a beacon of peace for our community, the state, the nation and the world…”
From the Bishop of Columbus John J. Carberry: “…’O how awesome is this place! Truly, it is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.’ …Truly, Our Lady of Peace Church is an outpost of heaven. It is the material sign, in brick and stone, of the spiritual Jerusalem, to which it points the way. May the Divine plan of Salvation, begun in time on earth and completed in eternity in heaven, be accomplished in the souls of all who have made this Church a reality and who may worship God therein. This is our fondest wish and fervent prayer…”
From Pastor Monsignor Riehl: “…Today in the brief history of our parish we see the fulfillment of the hope of Father Foley, your former pastor; of all the members of our community of God and also of an obligation placed upon me, your present pastor, by the chief shepherd of our diocese, Bishop Carberry…May the Mother of Christ, to whom our church is dedicated, intercede for us that all of us, at all times, and in all places, manifest by thought, word and action that we are brothers and sisters of Christ, her Son, and loving sons and daughters of God our heavenly Father…”
Below are some of the photos included in the dedication program:
below: interior, "temporary" church
above: First "First Communion"
below: inside Barracks Church
10:00 a.m.....Blessing and Dedication of Church
The Most Reverend John J. Carberry, S.T.D., J.C.D., L.L.D.
10:45 A.M......First Mass
The Most Reverend John J. Carberry
The Very Reverend Frank T. Riehl
The Right Reverend Leonard Fick
The Reverend Edward McFarland
The Reverend Frank Fortkamp
The Very Reverend John P. Byrne V.F.
The Reverend Richard Crosser
Masters of Ceremony...
The Reverend Michael Donavan
The Reverend Donald Maroon
The Reverend Richard Bober
12:30 P.M......Dinner for Bishop and Clergy
2 P.M...............Private blessing by bishop of rectory and convent
4 to 6 P.M.....Open house in new church, rectory and convent