|"The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians"|
A Brief History of Our Lady of Peace Parish
What should a parish be?
Today parishioners are expected to feel a true sense of ownership in their parish. A parish is more than just a place where you go to Mass.
1. It’s a SACRED PLACE where the human and divine meet.
2. It’s a place where people receive SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT, guidance, inspiration and strength – not just from the priest but also from other members of the parish as well.
3. It’s a SPIRITUAL HOME where people share each other’s joys, support each other in times of sorrow, offering encouragement to those who are struggling, help to those who are broken by life’s trials and tragedies.
4. It’s a SOCIAL PLACE where people make new friends, reach out to the less fortunate, invite others to become a part of the parish community of believers.
Even the best of parishes can become even better when parishioners take an active interest in making the parish grow and prosper.
The seed was set for the Parish of Our lady of Peace Church more than 150 years before the parish was established.
The Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1790 set up the Salt Reservation around Onondaga Lake (Salt Lake) and as a result began the settlement of what is now the town of Geddes. In the early years the area from the present State Fair through Lakeland consisted of farmlands. The Syracuse Nursery and a Lakeside Stock Farm were the major Lakeland
In 1909 the Fabian’s purchased land from the Stock Farm and were soon followed by other family members. Before long others were purchasing land in the area. In 1912 the Valerinos purchased land here and in 1917 the Gaworecki family opened a Dairy.
After World War I there was a continued movement into the country and homes were built along State Fair Blvd., but it was not until after World War II that the Lakeland area really began to grow.
During the years between 1909 and 1935 there was a slow steady growth in the area and with that growth the need for a Catholic Church became more and more apparent. To attend Sunday Mass Lakeland residents were required to travel either to St. Cecilia’s Church in Solvay or to other parishes more distant.
In 1935 a proposal was made for the building of a chapel to serve the Lakeland Catholic community. The Chapel, built on Stasko Drive, was a mission chapel of St.Cecilia’s Church in Solvay. The mission began on September 5, 1935 and continued until June 10, 1949 when Our Lady of Peace was incorporated.
Reverend Thomas Driscoll was the first pastor; the Reverend Richard J. Shields followed him in March 1938. On March 24, 1949 Reverend Robert M. Reddy was appointed to be pastor of the new parish – Our Lady of Peace. Our first trustees were Leo R. McCarthy and Joseph Stasko.
A rectory was built at 203 Stasko Drive and was occupied by Father Reddy in April 1950. On Friday, February 23, 1951 a fire damaged the church. Masses were temporarily held in Lakeland School and auditorium and in the Church Hall. For ten weeks following the fire, volunteers, men of the parish and the Holy Name Society worked to restore the church.
Reverend Reddy continued as pastor until his sudden death in 1958. He was followed by Reverend Vincent J. Donovan who remained as pastor until 1970 when he was transferred to St. Paul’s in Whitesboro. Father Donovan actively worked with the deaf community and in later years was an authority on the Shroud of Turin.
During Father Donovan’s tenure Our Lady of Peace experienced a second fire on February 14, 1964. The church was completely destroyed. The task of rebuilding fell into the capable hands of Father Donovan. A new brick church and rectory were built at 203 Halcomb St., about a block from the original frame church and rectory. The new church was dedicated on November 14, 1965. As in the past the church community contributed much time, effort and expertise
to the rebuilding of our church.
In 1970 the Reverend Leo J. Kalinowski was appointed pastor. Father Kalinowski continued to work on the church but died suddenly on June 20, 1973. A shrine in his memory was later erected in the churchyard.
Our fourth pastor was Reverend Edward C. Hearn who retired from Our lady of Peace in 1981. we celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination on June 7, 1981. Father Hearn died in 1998 and was buried from Our Lady of Peace. A memorial to him was planned for the parish’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Our fifth pastor was the Reverend John H. Hill who retired from Our Lady of Peace in 1993. Father Hill encouraged and fostered the development of several lay ministers within our community. He promoted the religious education of our children and provided opportunities for increased participation in ministries of the church as well as the Parish Pastoral Council.
The Reverend John Fetcho, our current pastor, followed Father Hill. During his tenure Father Fetcho has undertaken major projects within the church. An immediate need was classroom space for our religious education students. This was accomplished through his efforts and many of those in our parish. Father Fetcho also transformed the altar in appearance and emphasis so that it more clearly reflected our faith. The interior of the church built in 1964-65 was never actually completed. The major project of completing the interior was undertaken by Father Fetcho in 1997 and completed for Christmas of that year. A ceiling was constructed, the upper walls painted and refinished, the area over the altar renovated and a new sound system installed. With all this work going on Father continued to meet the spiritual needs of the parish. On May 16, 1999 we celebrated the 35th anniversary of Father Fetcho’s ordination.
In 1999 the parish celebrated its 50th anniversary. During each month of the year we had some activity which has promoted our celebration: Easter Egg Hunt, St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, Halloween Party, Parish Picnic. This culminated on June 13, 1999 when we celebrated a 50th Anniversary Mass. On June 18, 1999 the final celebration was a 50th Anniversary Dinner Dance held at the Empire Room, State Fair Grounds with the music of Stan Colella.
On July 20, 2005 Bishop Moynihan gave permission to Our Lady of Peace Church to obtain four marble altars from St. Ann’s and St. Joseph’s Churches in Binghamton, New York. These churches had merged into a new parish called Holy Trinity Church. It was a huge task to move the four altars from Binghamton to Syracuse. Each altar had to be disassembled, wrapped properly and transported to Syracuse. The Paduana Construction Company of Syracuse did a wonderful job in installing the altars – three in the main church and one in our daily Mass Chapel. The altars are very beautiful and add a special beauty to our celebration of Holy Mass. Also at this time the Church steeple was painted, the sanctuary walls were marbleized, and work was done on all the flat roofs of the church.
Through the years there have been many participants in our journey. We should mention those who assisted our priests in the parish – Reverend Long, Reverend Joseph E. Schuk, SJ, Rt. Reverend Monsignor David C. Gildea, Reverend Charles Aylesworth and Reverend Angelo Libra.
There were many pioneer families in the parish. They include: Joseph Stasko, Rudolph Gancarz, Eugene Galka, William Griga, Edward Schellhammer, Anthony DeCirce, Peter Rinaldi, Eugene Hook, Francis and Edward Loangwinter, Peter Tarolli, Amed Kalii, Louis Zogby, Louis Valerino, Joseph Foremati, Peter Evanizek, Edward Rowe, Joseph Dubiel, John Polech, Edward Kozubiski, Clarence Lawton, William Mahar, Eric Schneider, Frank Sladich, Guereschi and VanAmber Families, Joseph Marko, Andrew Kalenak, Francis Razzano, Frank Grovine, Clisson Family, Pal DiGilio, Roy Thibault,
Stanley Mack, Albert Scheuer, Frank Rydelek, Fabian and Mazianski Families, Konstanty Smelkoff, Louis Albrigo, Leo McCarthy, Donal Rauch, Leonard Piedmonte, John Solomon, Clara Roche, Gryziec and Peltz Families, Herman Finkbeiner, Joseph Cerrillo, William Roberts, Frank Maphey, Arthur Daley, Nicholas Russo, Joseph Cardone, Joseph Tresta, Harold McHugh, Jospeh O’Neill, Robert Piedmonte, Edward Bossong, Nicholas Delia and Ben Alexander.
Today many either remain with the community or have family members within the church community.
As in the 50 (60?) years past Our Lady of Peace continues to be a hub of activity for the Lakeland area. It of course provides for the religious needs of many where worship, Marriages, Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations and Burials continue to be celebrated. It also provides a social gathering place for both the church community and the community at large. Our Lady of Peace Church provides for both religious societies and community activities such as picnics, dinners and special events.
SIX WAYS TO HELP YOUR PARISH
1. Think of yourself as part of a PARISH FAMILY. Family members have a common heritage and history. They are grounded in the same beliefs, values, and traditions. They embrace new members of the family with a spirit of love and
2. BE WELCOMING. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. Take time to smile, take time to compliment one another.
3. Use your GIFTS AND TALENTS for the good of the parish. Share your time, your treasure, your talents. Be involved in the various ministries of our church.
4. ATTEND PARISH EVENTS – spaghetti dinners, parish raffle, daily Mass, Stations of the Cross.
5. SUPPORT YOUR PARISH – SPIRITUALLY. Pray for one another.
6. And FINANCIALLY: everything we have is a gift from God. Continue to be generous to help continue God’s work in the parish.
May God bless all of our parishioners and families!