About Christ The King Parish

Our History

by Rev. Michael O. Brown, December 2003
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
In February 1954 Father Goes broke the ground upon which Christ the King Parish is built. With him were Parish Council members Frank Gentner, Joe McCarthy, and Virg Grosjean; Leo Haas, electrical contractor; and Fred Entenman and Tom Witherell from the Entenman Construction Company.
In the years after the First World War, the population and boundaries of the city of Toledo grew, especially to the west of the urban center and especially after the Second World War. In 1910, before World War I, Toledo’s population was 168,497; by 1950, it had grown to 303,616. From what had been St. Agnes Parish in the “new” West End, six additional parishes were carved: Blessed Sacrament Parish in 1924, St. Catherine of Siena in 1930, St. Clement in 1946, St. Pius X and Christ the King in 1953, and Regina Coeli in 1954.

As early as 1950, Bishop George J. Rehring was soliciting advice about erecting two new parishes from the western parts of Blessed Sacrament. A proposal was tabled on July 17 of that year for an “Indian Road Parish” to serve Ottawa Hills and Indian Hills and for a “New Monroe Street Parish” to serve the area that did in fact become Christ the King Parish.
In August 1951, Bishop Rehring negotiated to buy part of a 17.8-acre property between Monroe Street and Sylvania Avenue, bounded to the west by a line that eventually became an extension of Harvest Lane. On October 25, 1951, the diocese bought 12 acres of the property, which had previously belonged to the Washington Township Board of Education, from Philip and Nellie Willis for a total of $75,000, part of which was paid in installments over four years.
The bishop’s next order of business was to appoint a priest to organize the proposed “Monroe Street Parish.” In November 1952, he appointed Father Basil F. Goes as assistant pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish with the task of organizing a parish to be called Christ the King. On May 15, 1953, Bishop Rehring formally established “the Parish of Our Lord, Christ the King” according to canon law. On May 18 he determined that the parish’s buildings would be located on the 12-acre “triangle” of land the diocese had purchased in 1951.

At the time of the parish’s inception, Pope Pius XII was Bishop of Rome, Father Goes counted 230 families as his parishioners, and the parish’s boundaries were identical to those today—except that the parish limits stopped at Talmadge Road to the west. Specifically, the lines began at the corner of Laskey and Talmadge, continued east on Laskey to Garrison Road (or at least what planners thought would be Garrison Road), head south on Garrison to Monroe Street, west on Monroe to Secor Road, then south on Secor Road to Central Avenue, then west on Central to Talmadge, and north on Talmadge back to Laskey.
The new parish was carved entirely from the western part of Blessed Sacrament Parish, but at the very same time that Christ the King Parish was established, Bishop Rehring erected another parish (mostly from the southern part of Blessed Sacrament with a small section taken from Gesu Parish). This second parish was named for Blessed Pius X, who had been beatified in 1950; when Pius X was canonized in 1954, the parish became St. Pius X.
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
Father Basil F. Goes was the first pastor of Christ the King Parish, from May 1953 through June 1978. Father Goes died on December 2,1994.
Moving In
The infant parish of Christ the King had parishioners, an administrator (Father Goes), and property, but no buildings whatever. For the first few months of the parish’s existence, the new parishioners gathered for Mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish, but on October 25, 1953, on the Feast of Christ the King,the parish began celebrating the Sunday liturgy on its own, using the newly built West Toledo Knights of Columbus Hall on Secor Road. (When the Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quas primas in 1925, the last Sunday of October was the designated feast day; in 1970, as part of the revision of the liturgical calendar, Pope Paul VI moved the feast day to the last Sunday in ordinary time, that is, the Sunday before Advent.) Two Masses were celebrated each Sunday morning, at 8:30 and 10:30.

Raising money to put up parish buildings was a necessary task, to which parishioners applied enormous energy and creativity. The first parish festival was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Saturday and Sunday,November 14-15, 1953, but this was just one event along with doll-making, block parties, bake sales, raffles, and card parties. After bills had been paid, the first festival accounted for net earnings of about $3,100. 

The first Parish Council consisted of Lawrence Abair, Dr. John Hillabrand, Virgil Grosjean, Joseph McCarthy,and Franklin Gentner. A Women’s Committee was organized in place of an Altar Society; its officers were Mrs.Franklin Gentner, Mrs. Lawrence Abair, Mrs. Robert Lanzinger, Mrs. LeRoy Tuttle, and Mrs. Virgil Grosjean. A decree dated at Rome on May 31, 1954, established the parish’s Rosary Society, and a similar decree authorized the parish’s Holy Name Society on March 1, 1955. When officers were elected for Altar Society, as it was then called, in March 1955, those chosen were Mrs. G.A. Anderson, president; Mrs. Carl Trompeter, president-elect; Mrs. L.W.Martin, vice president; Marie Dunn, secretary; and Mrs. R.J. Burnard, treasurer. In the same month the first officers of the Holy Name Society were elected: Father Goes, president; Melvin Miller, vice president; Franklin Gentner, secretary; and Virgil Grosjean, treasurer.

Meanwhile, Father Goes continued to live at Blessed Sacrament where he was still earning his room and board as vicarius cooperator (assistant pastor) to Father Gosser, as well as fulfilling his duties as administrator of the fledgling parish. Weddings and baptisms continued to be celebrated at Blessed Sacrament. The first baptism Father Goes registered in the books of Christ the King Parish was celebrated on Sunday, November 1, 1953; the first wedding on Saturday, February 13, 1954, and the first funeral on Saturday, March 20.
Establishing A Parish School
From the outset, the parish’s first two priorities were to open a school and provide the congregation with its own place to worship. In February 1954, using the remaining 7 acres of property facing Monroe Street and Harvest Lane, ground was broken for a school building that would also serve as a temporary church. (Apparently, from the original purchase of 12 acres, four acres was sold or transferred to another owner—presumably Willis Nursery—and one acre was, as expected, ceded to the city to build Harvest Lane.) The groundbreaking ceremony was a low-key affair, attended by three members of the first Parish Council (Frank Gentner, Joe McCarthy, and Virg Grosjean) along with Father Goes and officials from the Entenman Construction Company. By May of the year, registrations were being taken for next school year, and the 
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
Wearing cassock, surplice, and stole, Father Goes laid the cornerstone for the original school (and church) building.
parish had obtained a used school bus “to assist in the transportation of the grade school children who would have to walk a good distance on streets carrying a heavy traffic load.” Father Goes hired Mr. Rupley as the first bus driver, and, when school began in the fall, Elaine Kehn from Secor Road was the first passenger.

As work was beginning on the school building, men from the parish erected a 30’x50’ concrete-block garage on the property. The two-bay garage was designed by Mr. James Morris, who had a hand in 11 of the 13 building projects undertaken by the parish over the next 50 years. Stories are told that Father Goes recruited his volunteer masons for the garage by offering to supply them with all the beer they needed to get the job done, complaining for years afterward that he had naively miscalculated how much brew would be consumed. Once the garage was completed, in anticipation of the school opening, parishioners hauled in second-hand school desks that they had acquired from Blessed Sacrament, St. James, and St. Stanislaus Schools and from the public-school system. Parish women removed the old finish from the desks, stripping the desks to the bare wood, and then the men and the parish janitor did the refinishing work.

Hopes had been high in February that the school could be completed by the opening of the academic year in September, but construction went slower than anticipated. After considering a couple other locations in which to hold classes temporarily, it was decided to use the basement of St. Pius X School. The first principal, Sister Mary Immaculee, SND, recalls that “at this point Father donned his khakis and went to work.” He commandeered an old truck and with the help of a “screaming, screeching” load of Blessed Sacrament eighth-grade boys, moved stock-piles of books and paper into storage. Then Father Goes turned carpenter; in the basement at St. Pius he nailed posts together from which were hung dark red curtains and bed sheets to create “individual classrooms.”

When the school year began on September 27, classes for 134 first- through seventh-graders were held half-days, while eighth-graders remained at Blessed Sacrament through the entire school year. The newly organized school was placed in the charge of the Sisters of Notre Dame, with a faculty of four sisters and one lay woman: Sister Immaculee was principal, assisted by Sister M. Pierre, Sister M. Teresilla, and Miss Helen Clark. The three sisters“commuted” to school from the nearby Provincial House of the Notre Dame community; when Miss Clark became ill later in the school year, Mrs. Mildred Humphreys became the first long-term substitute.
Christ the King’s own school was ready for occupancy on Tuesday, November 2. The historic day got off to a rough start. Excited teachers and school children woke to the first snowfall of the season, and no bus appeared to pick students up for the school. At 7:45, the pastor learned that the old bus’s an-cient battery needed recharging in the cold, but by 8:00 the bus had been sufficiently charged to turn over the engine and begin making its rounds, picking some cold and patient students, while parents and Father Goes hauled other shivering students to school by car. “Despite the difficulty,” Sister Immaculee remembers, “everybody showed up.” 

The classrooms were not completely ready for use until Tuesday, November 23, and full-day classes did not begin until the following week. With a parking lot under development and the site still a construction zone, the grounds were something of a challenge to arriving students. The November 21 parish bulletin contained this notice: “All children walking to Christ 
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
The first wing of the school (which also served as church and parish office) opened on Harvest Lane on November 2, 1954. Between September 27 (when the school year started) and November, children attended half-day sessions in the basement of St. Pius X School. The cement-block garage behind the school building was actually the first building completed on the site, constructed by volunteer masons following plans drawn up by Jim Morris.
the King School tomorrow from either Monroe Street or Sylvania Avenue should walk along the unplowed ground next to the Willis Nursery fence until they reach the south side of the garage and then cross to the school by means of aboard plank walk to the south side of the school. The mud in front of the building is impassable now. Children crossing Monroe Street should cross as usual at Harvest Lane and then walk along the south side of Monroe to the Willis fence.”
Mass On Harvest Lane
It was the construction of a parking lot that postponed the use of the school building for Sunday Masses.That milestone was finally achieved on the Fourth Sunday in Advent (December 19). Until that time, parishioners Lawrence Abair and Jesse Morningstar had spent every Saturday night preparing the Knights of Hall for the Sunday-morning liturgies. Christmas fell on a Saturday that year; the first Mass of Christmas was celebrated at midnight, with two more Masses on Saturday morning.

The temporary church occupied unpartitioned space in the school building that would eventually be converted into four more classrooms. When the school opened, there were three classrooms on the second floor and one on the ground floor, where Father Goes also set up his office, just inside the front entrance. Plans were to extend the second floor for additional classrooms as enrollment increased.
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
The altar that was erected within the school building in 1954 had been reassembled from an altar salvaged from Blessed Sacrament by Father Goes. Using an unpartitioned section of classroom space,the parish started celebrating Mass on Harvest Lane on December 19, 1954. Bishop George Rehring dedicated the church and school with a Solemn High Mass on April 3, 1955. The tabernacle shown in the picture is still used for reposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the Paschal Triduum, and the cross portion of the crucifix now hangs in the narthex.
By the time Bishop Rehring came to bless the church-school building on April 3, 1955, enrollment had already risen to 155 students in the school, with 250 pupils expected to enter its halls in September. Construction of the first building at Christ the King had cost $211,000. The marble altar that was installed in the worship space had been salvaged by Father Goes from Blessed Sacrament Church; it was twice disassembled and re-assembled for Christ the King’s use, the “locus”of the parish’s worship until 1983.

Just as parish buildings were being erected,the parish itself was growing, as were neighboring parishes. By the spring of 1955, Christ the King Parish had risen from its original 230 families to 400. It was also a noticeably young parish: In 1954, Father Goes baptized 60 infants.

As families continued to move into West Toledo and build homes on previously unoccupied lots, Christ the King Parish was tasked, at least temporarily, with ministering to those who were settling west of Talmadge Road. On July 6, 1955, Bishop Rehring changed the parish’s western boundary to be the Whiteford and Corey Roads between Laskey and Central (with the exception of homes that faced the extension of Laskey 
from Talmadge to Whiteford would continue to belong to St. Joseph’s Parish in Sylvania). This “western addition” to the parish was envisioned by many as a temporary adjustment, since as soon as November of that year the diocese was contemplating starting a new parish at Sylvania Avenue and a proposed extension of Flanders Road—a parish whose territory would reach as far east as Harvest Lane! A month later the diocese had revised its hope of starting a new parish between Trilby and Sylvania, centering it at Flanders and Laskey. Meanwhile, the parish’s eastern boundary was clarified in 1957 when it became clear that Garrison Road was not going to be extended to Laskey Road, so the stipulation was made that the 2900 blocks of Wyndale, Claredale, Boxwood, and Nash Roads would be considered part of Christ the King’s territory.

All the West Toledo parishes continued and were working with the bishop on ways to better serve the Catholic population. In 1965, Father William Friemoth, pastor of St. Clement Parish (which counted 6,228 souls), proposed creating two new parishes from his congregation, one to the east (between St. Clement and Regina Coeli) and one to the west. The idea of a new parish east of St. Clement was quickly abandoned, but the idea of one to the west of St.Clement and Christ the King continued to surface. In 1966, Bishop Rehring tried (unsuccessfully) to open the door to buying up some of the Stranahan estate (the area of Wildwood Metropark), and a year later Father John Meehan (pastor of St. Joseph, Sylvania), Father Friemoth, and Father Goes gathered to propose to the bishop centering a new parish, not at Flanders and Laskey, but at Flanders and Alexis. This idea was still floating around a decade later.
Getting Assistance
By the early spring of 1957, the parish was growing at the rate of about 120 new families a year,had now registered some 700 families, and was expecting to have about 800 families by the beginning of the next year. In light of these statistics and the fact that the parish was moving from four to five Sunday Masses, in March Father Goes repeated a request he had already for a second priest to be assigned to Christ the King. Bishop Rehring acceded to Father Goes’s request and assigned Father Dale Wernert as assistant pastor, beginning June 14, 1957, and staying five years, until June 1962. After Father Herbert Kraus began his duties as the next assistant pastor (1962-1965), there were times when a third priest was either assigned to the parish or in residence with duties elsewhere. Those other early assistants were Fathers Leo Welch (1963-1965), Robert Wilhelm (1965-1967), Ronald Kurth (1966-1968), and John Reuscher (1967-1968).
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
The First Communion Class of May 1955
When Father Charles Dendinger was appointed assistant pastor in 1968, he was also expected to teach two or three hours daily at Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon, beginning in September. Father Dendinger was at Christ the King five years, until 1973. Meanwhile, Fathers William Rock (1968-1969), Gerald Robinson (1969-1972), and John Pasqualin (1972-1973) also took up residence at Christ the King. Next came Fathers William Parker (1973-1976), Joseph Frankenfield (1973-1977), James Holmer (1976-1978), Joseph Przybysz (1978-1985), Gregory Bishop(1979-1984), and Ralph Tecca from Youngstown (1984-1985). From the time Father David Henning was assigned associate pastor (1985-1992), the parish was served with only one associate; Father Henning was followed by Father Jonathan Wight (1992-1996), Father Gregory Peatee (1996-2001), and our current associate pastor, Father David Ritchie (beginning in July 2001).

When Father Goes requested his first full-time assistant, he gratefully acknowledged to Bishop Rehring that he was already getting some weekend help from the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. That additional help has been coming to the parish for nearly the entire 50 years of parish life, and for the last 25 years it has been one priest, Father Ronald Olszewski, OSFS, who has provided that outstanding aid. Father Ron (or “Father O”) continues to celebrate about two Masses each weekend at Christ the King in addition to his duties as president of St. Francis de Sales High School. 

Even though Christ the King was situated in a new, growing, and prosperous part of the Toledo area, from early on parishioners took concrete steps to meet the needs of the less fortunate, both within the parish boundaries and beyond. One example of this was the establishment of the parish’s own chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, whose “Letter of Aggregation” to the international society was sent from Paris on February 26, 1959. Parishioners continue to support the work of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society with a special collection taken up the first Sunday of every month. In addition, since about 1968, the Christ the King chapter has made up the core of about 16 men from eight parishes who travel every Saturday morning to Oregon, Ohio, to the Sacred Heart Home operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor; there they bathe men patients who need their assistance. The first coordinator for this project was Jim Cryan; Rudy Thoreson has been the coordinator since about 1990.
New Construction
After setting up and tearing down chairs for Sunday Mass in four partitioned classrooms of the original school building since December 1954, parishioners set out to build a new “auditorium-church” in 1961. The old marble altar was reassembled on the north wall of the new worship space, and the church was dedicated in October 1961.The church was not the only building project undertaken in those years. In 1958 the original cement-block garage was expanded to create a Parish Hall upstairs, and a new rectory and office building was completed in 1963.Prior to 1963, Father Goes lived in a house in the neighborhood, on Harvest Lane north of Monroe Street.In May 1978, the Activities Building (designed to be used for social, educational, and athletic events) was completed, at a cost of $450,000.
Change In Pastoral Leadership
After 25 years of service as Christ the King’s founding pastor,Father Basil Goes stepped down in June 1978. Father Holmer, associate pastor at the time, arranged a reception to be held in Father Goes’s honor in the newly completed Activities Building that was dedicated in recognition of his service.

In the fall of 1978, the dean of area parishes, Father Robert Armstrong, formally installed Father Herbert J. Willman as the second pastor of Christ the King.Father Willman, whose appointment was made by Bishop John A. Donovan, was welcomed to the parish by Parish Council President Ray Middaugh. On November 2 of that year, a reception was held to honor Dorothy “Dottie” Ashburn who was retiring after serving as parish secretary for 16 years.

About a year after Father Willman assumed the pastorate at Christ the King, serious consideration was again being given to creating a new parish in West Toledo. But when a closer look was taken in the fall of 1979 of where Catholics were living and where they were going to church, some significant observations were made. For one thing, people were
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
Father Herbert J. Willman,who died in 2002, was the second pastor of Christ the King Parish, from 1978 until 1986.
registering in parishes beyond the territorial limits of the parishes where their homes were located. In the case of Christ the King, for example, there were 107 families registered who lived beyond the parish boundaries, and 42 of those families lived in the area north of Laskey, between Talmadge and Secor. Moreover, the area west of Talmadge that had been added to the parish in 1955 had become integral to the parish’s existence. Father Willman calculated that in the previous year 45% of the parish revenues had come from the registered households between Talmadge and Corey-Whiteford, as well as 55% of the pledges for the newly completed Basil Goes Activities Building. Of the 1,788 families registered in the parish, fully 530 (30%) of them lived in the “west of Talmadge” section. Considering that by 1979 the explosion of new home construction in this area was subsiding and recognizing the financial realities of maintaining the existing parishes, diocesan and parish leadership soon allowed their ideas for carving out a new West Toledo parish to fade away quietly and permanently.
Educating The Children Of The Parish
The parish school has been central to the parish’s understanding of its mission.Not only was the school “founded” simultaneously with the parish in 1953, but throughout the parish’s history Christ the King School has received extraordinary attention and support from the parish as a whole. For many years, there were 24 classrooms in use—three classrooms for each grade level. Peak enrollment seems to have come in the 1968-1969 school year, with 830 students in grades one through eight. Those numbers steadily declined until there were 570 students (grades 1-8) in the 1979-1980 school year and 470 in the 1999-2000 school year, not counting kindergarten and preschool. In the last four years, enrollment has been rising again, with 499 pupils (grades 1-8) in the 2001-2002 school year. Current enrollment (2003-2004) is 484 students in the top eight grades,with an additional 63 in kindergarten and 57 in preschool.
Christ The King History - Toledo, Ohio
Christ The King History - Toledo, Ohio
That the school enrollment declined after 1969 does not so much reflect a disillusionment with the Catholic school as a decline in the school population, because the same decline in the number of students enrolled in the parish’s Religious Education program (CCD) can also be observed. From 1975 to 1980, for example, Religious Education enrollment dropped from 112 to 74. But like the school enrollment, the Religious Education has also risen slightly, with 190 students enrolled this year (2003-2004) in first through eighth grade. 

As a new school year was about to begin in August 1982, Sister Mary Thomasita, SND, the principal of Christ the King School at the time, estimated that 80% of eligible parish school children were enrolled in the parish school. In that same year, two new school busses (costing $60,000) were delivered.

The 1980s was also a time of expanding the school curriculum. In September 1980 a half-day kindergarten was opened, with 17 students in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. A pre-school program was initiated in September 1988, serving 20 four-year-olds and 15 three-year-olds.
Renovating The Worship Space
A major renovation of the worship space of the church was undertaken in 1983, an undertaking that inevitably triggered various responses of eagerness and dismay among parishioners. Pews and walls were removed, creating a more flexible space, a large freestanding wood altar was added along with a baptismal font with “living” water. What had been the entrance area to the church was transformed into a Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and a comfortable narthex was created that would serve as entrance to the church, “cry room,” and additional space for meetings and prayer groups. Of great significance was the installation of a 36-rank Pilzecker pipe organ. The total cost of the project, including the new organ, was $1,300,000.

Bishop James Hoffman came to consecrate the altar and church on the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday, November 20, 1983. Following the impressive liturgy, a reception was held in the Basil Goes Activities Building.
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
The interior of Christ the King Church immediately after its renovation in 1983. A major addition to the church was the new pipe organ built by Daniel F. Pilzecker of Toledo.Father C. Neil Lucas was our third pastor, from 1986 through 1999.

Personnel And Profiles
Beginning September 15, 1985, Sister Carolyn Ackerman, SFCC, served as a pastoral associate for six years, until August 1991. Others have served in that capacity since then, including Mrs. Suzanne Marciniak, who has held the position since 1991.

Around the time that Father Herb Willman was due to end his tenure as pas-tor of Christ the King (1986), several people submitted assessments of the parish to help the bishop and the Priests’ Personnel Board create a “profile” of the parish and select Father Willman’s successor as pastor. Challenges that were thought to face the parish was the need to develop a stronger ministry among youths and to hire a youth minister, to develop a ministry to senior citizens, to encourage spiritual renewal, to find more rooms of “intermediate size” in which organizations could meet. School enrollment was healthy (521), 40 students were attending other Catholic schools (like Ladyfield and the St. Francis Education Center in Sylvania) but only 87 students attending public schools were enrolled in the Religious Education program (CCD).
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
Father C. Neil Lucas was our third pastor, from 1986 through 1999.
Those who had become disenchanted with the parish during the process of renovating the church were returning to the parish, and the debt incurred to pay for the renovation had already been reduced to less than $90,000.

When Father Willman was transferred to St. Paul’s Parish in Norwalk on July 1, 1986, his successor as pastor at Christ the King was Father C. Neil Lucas, who had previously been pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toledo.
Devotion And Liturgy
In May 1988,Father Neil Lucas requested permission from Bishop James R. Hoffman to institute the practice of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The bishop granted provisional approval, and after 450 parishioners had committed themselves to keeping watch in the chapel, the adoration was initiated on the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 1988.

In the era when Father Lucas was pastor, other steps were taken to enhance the parish’s liturgy. Among these were the installation of a new crucifix and a statue of Madonna and Child for the church, and the hiring of a talented new director of liturgy and music, Mr. Robert Valle, who stayed on the staff for 15 years.

Until 1987, the parish lacked bells with which to call parishioners to worship and to mark the hours of the day. The absence of bells was rectified when Father Lucas was able to obtain bells that had originally been cast by the Buckeye Bell Foundry about 1908 for a German Reformed church in rural Ohio. The bells were cleaned, electrified, and hung by Schulmerich Carillon.They were dedicated, blessed, and rung for the first time on Easter Sunday,April 19, 1987. In keeping with church tradition, the bells were given names and dedicated as follows: the large bell to Christ the King; the medium bell to Mary, Queen of Heaven; and the small bell to St. Michael the Archangel. 
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
On December 22, 1994, Father Basil Goes, founding pastor of the parish died. His funeral was celebrated at Christ the King on the morning of December 24. He is buried in the priests’ section at Calvary Cemetery. Father Herbert Willman, the parish’s second pastor, died on August 11, 2002. His funeral took place on August 17 at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Attica, Ohio.
Expanding Ministries And Changing Places
With only two diocesan priests serving a parish that was striving more and more to meet the long-identified needs of parishioners, more and more of the rectory on Harvest Lane was being transformed into offices for lay ministers. By the late 1990s, Father Lucas and the Finance Committee began searching for a suitable residence nearby that would allow the priests to move their living quarters out of what was now becoming almost exclusively a Parish Office Building. In January 1996 they nearly closed a deal on a house on Orchard Trail, but eventually purchased a four-bedroom home on the corner of Woodley Road and Ellenridge Lane, 0.6 miles from the parish offices. Following some remodeling of the premises, the priests and visiting clergy and seminarians have been living there ever since.

The conversion of the “old” rectory and office to exclusive office use was necessitated by the expansion of the lay staff. Besides the pastoral associate, secretaries, bookkeepers, and maintenance personnel, the staff has also included a parish nurse, a parish registrar (to maintain sacramental records among other things), ministers to the sick and homebound, a director of liturgy and music, a director (or coordinator) of Religious Education, a minister to young adults, a pastoral counselor, a Youth Minister, an athletic director, and an administrative aide to the pastor (along the lines of a parish business manager). From time to time there have also been numerous parishioners who have volunteered their assistance in both the school and the parish offices. In addition, the parish has been served by five permanent deacons, the late Deacons Edward Hellrung, Edward Frazier, and Lawrence Trotter, and now Deacon Jerome Sortman and Deacon Robb Beisser; Deacon Robb is the only one to have been hired by the parish to carry out his ministry as a direct member of the staff.
The expansion of lay ministries and the parish’s longtime commitment to its Catholic school propelled Father Neil Lucas and key parish leaders to embark on an historic “endowment” campaign in 1998. The goal of the Our Promise for Tomorrow campaign was to raise about$1.5 million that could be invested and the revenues from the investments eventually used to defray the continuing costs of the school and other parish ministries. The campaign for pledges was successful, and the end of the period for redeeming pledges coincides with the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King in 2003. The good news is that parishioners have been remarkably faithful in keeping their pledges and often enlarging them; the bad news has been that a fall in stock prices has, at least temporarily, devalued some of the investments made. Nonetheless, with a strong portfolio of stocks and bonds, the original goal of adding to school and parish revenues should be well realized in a recovering economy.
Christ The King History - Toledo, Ohio
The endowment campaign’s pledge period was completed by the time Father Lucas was transferred and Father Michael Brown became pastor on July 1, 1999. The dean of Toledo Northwest, Father Robert Reinhart, officially installed Father Brown on August 1.
The Latest Campaign
A diocesan-wide campaign, One Faith...Many Blessings, was launched by Bishop Hoffman in 2001 to achieve a number of diocesan goals, including expanding adult education programs and scholarships for Catholic schools, endowing the maintenance of the cathedral, and building a technology infra-structure useful to the chancery, parishes, and schools. A unique aspect of the campaign was that parishes were directed to set up their own set of goals for the 50% the funds that were to be returned to the parishes to meet those goals. At Christ the King, where the diocese set an over-all goal of just under $1.2 million, the “case study” proposed funding five projects—the refurbishment of the pipe organ, creating a small endowment-like fund to assist our sister parish near Lima, Peru, with its medical clinic, setting aside funds for replacement of the school’s two school busses, earmarking $200,000 that could be used for future capital improvements (either in terms of construction or the acquisition of property), and a further enhancement of the existing church-and-school endowment fund. Despite a faltering economy and disturbing scandals affecting the Catholic Church nationally and locally, the campaign was a success and has already brought tangible benefits to the parish: Connections with the sister parish (Our Lady of Lourdes near Lima) have been established, work is nearly done on the organ, and an unexpectedly urgent need to build more classroom and meeting space has been addressed.

The urgency rose when, in the spring of 2003, it was realized that the future strength of our grade-school enrollment would depend upon our ability to provide an enhanced kindergarten environment, as well as improving the space available for such classes as art and algebra. The installation of modern flexible walls in both the Basil Goes Activities Building and the upstairs Parish Hall effectively created two new auxiliary classrooms. But the greatest project, pushed to completion in October 2003, was to transform the existing meeting room (Room 109) into a second kindergarten classroom and, even more dramatically, to transform the underutilized garage attached to the Parish Office Building (old rectory) into a meeting room. At an “open house” on the weekend of October 18-19, parishioners got to marvel at the fruits of their efforts—a handsome and practical room that will serve adult-education and RCIA classes, and various social events and parish organizations. That such a multifaceted project could be under-taken and completed in such a short period was largely due to the intense and dedicated work of Father Brown’s administrative aide, Mr. Brian Smith. The attention to harmonious detail was also the contribution of founding parishioner Jim Morris, whose first construction project for the parish dates back 50 years to 1953.
The School Within The Mission Of The Parish
The urgency to undertake this project obviously arose from the parish’s ongoing commitment to its parochial school,which has been part of the parish’s self-description since the beginning. The commitment has been sometimes challenged, as in the 1960s when some complained to the bishop that parishioners were inclined to fund the parish school to the exclusion of all other forms of parish ministry. Nonetheless, despite expectations that those parents who can will defray a significant portion of the costs through tuition payments, the parish continues to subsidize the school heavily and provide financial aid where needed. This is accomplished without neglecting other aspects of the parish mission, such as providing a Religious Education program for students at-tending public grade schools and junior highs; outreach programs to the hospitalized, homebound, needy, bereaved, and spiritually troubled; various forms of Catholic adult education; and sports programs and youth ministry.
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
The eighth-grade educational trips to Washington, DC, have been a feature of Christ the King School since 1994. In September 2000 Michael Kolena, Nolan Weber, Michael Farber, Brett Balogh, Father Michael Brown (pastor), and Michael Hobbs posed before the statue of President Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial.
The school’s measurable success can be attributed in large part to a series of outstanding principals, beginning with Sister Immaculee in 1954. Other Notre Dame Sisters who served as principal were Sisters Mary Albertus (Mary Alberta), Mary Bernarda, Mary Bryan, Mary Francel, Mary Leona (Mary Audrey), Mary Roger, Mary Thomasita, and Mary Vianney. The last Notre Dame Sister to serve as principal was Sister Mary Reta (Mary Rita). In 1994, Mrs.Teresa Richardson accepted the position as Christ the King’s first lay principal; she is now in her ninth year in guiding students and faculty.
Liturgy And Pastoral Care
In many people’s minds, the celebration of the Church’s sacred liturgy has been a cornerstone of parish life. For 15 years,much of the leadership in liturgical matters was in the hands of the parish’s Director of Liturgy and Music, Bob Valle. When he left to serve a parish in suburban Chicago, a long search was be-gun for a new director. For a few months Dr. Barbara Dulmage filled that position, but this past summer, the parish obtained the services of Ms.Kathryn Mumy as director. For several years now, Sister Mary Krista Benda, SND, has served as an assistant director, and devoted herself to the parish in an extraordinary fashion in the extended search for a new full-time, permanent director.

The number and names of other staff mem-bers have changed considerably over the years,especially over the last
Christ The King Parish History - Toledo, Ohio
Father Michael Brown, who became pastor in 1999, presided at the Rites of Christian Initiation during the Easter Vigil, April 14, 2001.
decade. Currently, among the full-time personnel, Suzanne Marciniak is pastoral associate, Sandi Trabbic is coordinator of Religious Education, Deacon Robb Beisser and parish nurse Terry McKown assist with pastoral ministry, Tom Marciniak provides pastoral counseling, Brian Smith is the pastor’s administrative aide, Carol Richards is parish secretary, Karen Mercuriois parish registrar, Susan Ruffing is bookkeeper, and Jeremy Patterson heads up a maintenance department that includes four full-time and two part-time employees. Since 2000, Linda Gutierrez has served as our youth minister in a collaborative relationship with the program at St. Clement Parish. Marcia Tangeman is the school secretary, assisted by Missy Miller.

When the parish began to celebrate its “Jubilee Year” on its feast day in 2002, a special piece of tapestry artwork depicting Christ the King was unveiled. The “mosaic tapestry” was the work of Svetlana Cholvadova Ottney and was commissioned in honor of Mrs. Evelyn Fleitz, one of the parish’s founding members.
Final Statistics
At the time we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King 2003, virtually 50 years to the day that a new parish community of 230 families gathered for the first time to celebrate the mystery of faith together, our parish counted 2,384 families (or 7,748 individuals) among its registered parishioners. In the 2002 diocesan statistics, Christ the King ranks as the fifth-largest parish in the diocese (following Sylvania St. Joseph, Findlay St. Michael, Lima St. Charles, and Perrysburg St. Rose) and as the largest serving the city of Toledo. In the calendar year of 2002, twelve weddings were celebrated at Christ the King, 108 baptisms, and 73 funerals. Since the beginning of 2003, 88 Christ the King parishioners received the sacrament of Confirmation (including 8 confirmed by Father Brown at the Easter Vigil and 77 young people confirmed by Bishop Robert Donnelly, diocesan administrator, on May 20); and 87 children received Communion for the first time (including 55 from Christ the King School and 27 from the parish’s Religious Education program). On December 9, 2003, Christ the King hosted a deanery-wide celebration of Evening Prayer to welcome Bishop Leonard Blair to the Toledo Northwest Deanery as the seventh bishop of Toledo.
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