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The Beginnings

Holy Spirit is called to be a family, finding its center in Christ and His Body, the parish — and in turn, reflecting that Love of Christ to the community and beyond.

A community room in a Uniontown bank, the chapel in a local funeral home, an elementary school cafeteria, and a former boys club – these were the first sites of Holy Spirit Masses from 1977-79. In 1974, it had become apparent to Rev. John A Murray, pastor of St. Paul’s in North Canton – nine miles to the south – that personal contact and creation of a local faith community were nearly impossible for families spread out in the Uniontown area. A census was conducted that identified 70 Catholic families, resulting in boundaries for the new Holy Spirit Mission: Heckman Road on the south, the Summit-Stark county line on the west, North Market Street on the east, and the Stark-Portage county line on the north. Father Murray’s devotion to the Holy Spirit and the renewed interest and awareness in the Catholic Church of the third person of the Trinity were the motivating factors for the mission’s name. On September 11, 1977, the first Mass, attended by 93 people, was celebrated in the Citizens Savings Bank community room in Uniontown. Also that month, family-oriented religion classes were conducted. Describing the atmosphere of the new community, Fr. Murray said, “Their family spirit comes through in personal and community commitment. Their genuine concern for each other and willingness to work to make this new community a success are an inspiration to those of us who have taken this step.” It was standing room only for that first worship, so the second Mass was held in the Uniontown Elementary School. William Louver, owner of Hopkins Funeral Home, offered the funeral home chapel for Mass on Christmas and New Year’s that year. By February 1978, more than 150 families had registered with Holy Spirit, and the growing assemblage had returned to the school, utilizing the cafeteria for Masses. In spring, 1979, property was purchased 2952 Edison Street; the site included a brick building with living quarters and a hall, built in 1974 to house a boys club. The Holy Spirit congregation had an average Mass attendance of 300 persons and membership of 220 households. The physical move was completed on June 30, and on July 2, 1979, Holy Spirit officially became a parish of the Diocese of Youngstown – the first new parish in the diocese since 1952. Rev. Ed Wieczorik, from St. Joseph’s in Canton, was appointed pastor. In 1991, Rev. John P. Zapp was appointed pastor and Father Ed became pastor of St. Joseph’s in Suffield.

Holy Spirit Timeline

First Census of the area took place.
Seventy Catholic families were identified.
A second census identified 169 Catholic families in the area.
Holy Spirit Mission began with Fr. John Murray on September 11.
First Mass was held in the Citizens Savings Bank Building (now Chase).
Later sites were Hopkins Funeral Home chapel and Uniontown Elementary cafeteria.
Dick Bergkessel (DRE St. Paul’s, North Canton) conducted family-oriented religion classes.
A Steering Committee was established.
A 4.11 acre permanent site with buildings was found on Rt. 619, ½ mile east of Cleveland Ave. House and multipurpose hall were remodeled into rectory and the first church. Holy Spirit with 220 families officially became a parish with Fr. Ed Wiezorek as pastor.
First Parish Council was installed on January 4.
Sr. Mary Catherine Blooming HM became the first full-time DRE/Pastoral Minister in August.
A building committee was formed to establish a new church and parish center; 4.6 more acres of land were purchased.
Fifth anniversary as a parish was celebrated with the unveiling of the model for the new church.
Sr. Karen Bernhardt HM became the DRE/Pastoral Minister in July.
Ground was broken on May 26th for the new church and social hall.
Renew program for small Christian communities began.
Jacqueline Glass S.F.O. became the DRE/Pastoral Minister in August.
Holy Spirit celebrated its 10th anniversary in May.
David Schmidt became DRE in July.
The carillon system with bell shells and cross were installed.
A bridge/deck was built onto the back of the rectory, and a cedar sign was placed by the road.
Fr. Ed celebrated his 25th Anniversary of Ordination in October.
Fr. John Zapp became pastor.
CCD changed name to Parish School of Religion (PSR).
Kitchen in Social Hall was renovated.
Chuck Ivan was ordained Deacon.
Eucharistic bread was offered along with the host in June.
Holy Spirit celebrated its 15th anniversary as a parish.
New electronic Allen organ is dedicated was dedicated in September.
Stations of the Cross were installed in the Church.
Beth Aiello and Sr. Doris Steiner HM were named Co-Directors of Religious Education (DRE).
Parish parking lot was paved.
Chapel renovated and new tabernacle purchased.
Anne Weeks was hired as co-DRE. 1997
Long Range Planning Committee was established.
Fr. John celebrated 25 years as a priest.
Holy Spirit celebrated 20 years as a parish.
Russ O’Neill was ordained Deacon.
Renew 2000 program for Small Christian Communities began.