Parish History

The History of St. Mary Church in Orwell, Ohio begins with the establishment of the mission at Orwell in 1918. It was attached to the parish at Chardon and was placed in the care of Father John Price. However by 1922, the Catholic community had grown sufficiently so that in January the Most Reverend Joseph Schrembs, D.D., Bishop of Cleveland appointed Reverend Anthony Suwalski as the founding Pastor of St. Mary Church, Orwell. The parish was formally organized on July 1, 1922 with no church building and not much money.

  • Fr. Suwalski pastored this young faith community until 1929. During this time the church and rectory were purchased, and also a plot of land was designated as St. Mary Cemetery
  • Reverend Leo A. Rygwalski, Pastor (1930 to 1932)
  • Reverend Joseph Spanowski, Pastor 1932-1939
  • Reverend John S. Bialek, Pastor 1939-1957. The Youngstown Diocese was carved out of the Cleveland Diocese in 1943 and St. Mary became a part of the Youngstown Diocese. The Daughters of Mary were established in 1946. Fr. Bialek was buried in St. Mary Cemetery
  • Reverend Joseph Czaja, Pastor 1957-1961
  • Reverend Wallace Kosin, Pastor 1961-1962. For the month of July until August 21, 1962 Reverend John Hoey served the spiritual needs of the parish
  • Reverend Richard Buchman, Pastor 1962-1976. In October 1966 the rectory was moved. The dedication of the new church took place on March 31, 1968 with the Most Reverend James W. Malone officiating, assisted by Fr. Buchman. Fr. Buchman died March 5, 1981and was buried in the cemetery next to Fr. Bialek
  • Reverend Ralph J. Friedrich, Pastor 1976-1980. Many improvements were made to the cemetery. St. Mary Parish Council was established in 1977
  • Reverend William A. Petrunak, Pastor 1980-1982
  • Reverend Thomas G. Ziegler, Pastor 1982-1988
  • Reverend Thomas J. Crum, Pastor 1988-1991. The Hip Roof was added to the Parish Hall and a new Rodgers Concord Organ was purchased
  • Rev. Dacian Barette, Interim Pastor January 1991-July 1991
  • Rev. Philip Miller, Pastor July 15, 1991-1995. Started the Grand Valley High School Baccalaureate Services to be held at St. Mary Church. The Pieta Statue was purchased for the cemetery in 1994
  • Rev. Raymond J. Thomas, Pastor 1995-1998. Fr. Thomas was very active with the spiritual growth of the parish with the development of the parish’s RCIA, establishing the Liturgy of the Word with Children. A new Trane Furnace and air conditioner was installed in the church. In July an electrical fire damaged the rectory, repairs were made
  • Rev. Gregory F. Fedor, Pastor 1998-2009. Also became Pastor of Sacred Heart January 26, 2003
  • Substitute Priests weekend Masses July 15, 2009 – November 27, 2009
  • Reverend G. David Weikart, Pastor Nov. 2009-June 2013
  • Reverend John P. Madden, Current Pastor Nov. 2013

The current total membership of St. Mary Parish is approximately 690.

We pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for this beautiful House of God and for our Pastors and parishioners, past and present, who by their sacrifice and devotion strive to share the Word of God with everyone.


103 North Maple Avenue
Orwell, Ohio 44076

Contact Information:

Phone: 440.437.6262
Fax: 440.437.8216

Mass Times:

Sunday: Sep thru May – 8:00am
Jun thru Aug – 10:00am
Saturday Vigil: Nov thru Apr – 4:00pm
Weekdays: Tuesday & Thursday – 8:00am

Rev. Daniel Finnerty, Administrator