Parish History


Parish History

OLMC was a parish founded on love by a community of loyal and dedicated people. We still embrace these ideals today.

 Early in 1920, five young men from this community purchased a lot with monies solicited by the townspeople. They recognized the spiritual needs of their tiny community, and requested Episcopal approval to have a church built. At that time Bishop Schrembs appointed Fr. William Nash of Immaculate Conception Church in Willoughby to begin a mission parish. That was the humble beginnings of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The first weekly Masses were celebrated in a storefront at 29526 Euclid Avenue.

In June 1923, a second lot was purchased and the cornerstone was laid for a church.

On December 25, 1923 the first Mass was celebrated in this new church, and we remained a mission parish for eleven years. On August 22, 1934 our first resident Pastor (Fr. Ralph McMonagle) was appointed. Fr. McMonagle lived at Immaculate Conception Parish and various apartments in Wickliffe until a rectory was completed in 1937. In 1936 we began with a parish community of 112 families and by 1945 we had reached a total of 345 families.

With the transfer of Fr. McMonagle, Fr. Thomas F. Barry was appointed Pastor in July of 1948 and served six months until his death on February 3, 1949. Fr. Bernard Wigand assumed pastoral duties until the appointment of Fr. Andrew A. Andrey on October 4, 1950. As the community grew, so did our parish. Msgr. Andrey was directed by the Bishop to build a new church and school. In 1950 he purchased property upon which the present church and school now stand. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in the fall of 1954. The cornerstone was blessed the following spring. Cardinal John Kroll celebrated the first Mass on December 18, 1955 in the new church. From a tiny church that seated 200 people, our parish had completed a new church with a seating capacity of 800.

The school opened in September 1955 staffed by the Vincentian Sisters. They began with six grades in nine classrooms. Construction of the east wing began in June 1956, eventually bringing a total of thirty-two classrooms and enrollment of 1,300 pupils. With the arrival of the Dominican Sisters, the need for a convent became apparent. The convent was built of church property and completed in 1962. 

Msgr. Andrew passed away on September 1, 1972 and Fr. Gordon J. Horst was named Pastor in November 1972 and served through 1978.

In September 1977, Fr. Ernest C. Hepner was assigned to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish and became pastor in January 1978 where he remained as Pastor until January 1987. In 1979, under the direction of Fr. Hepner, the convent was renovated and became the Rectory/Administration Building. The Church was renovated in 1984. With Fr. Hepner’s transfer, Fr. James E. Sheil became our Pastor in January 1987. It was during this time that the original church/rectory property was sold. It was demolished on November 1, 1989. That property now consists of small commercial stores and professional offices. 

Fr. David L. McCafferty became Pastor on September 15, 1989. In August 1995, under Fr. McCafferty’s direction, ground was broken for a new community center as part of the church/school complex. Bishop Anthony Pilla dedicated and blessed our new community center on May 19, 1996. 

Over the years, our parish has grown to one of the largest in the Cleveland diocese. Currently, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has about 3,000 registered families. Fr. McCafferty retired on June 30, 2008.

Fr. Thomas Behrend was named our Administrator in June and on October 30, 2009, he was named our Pastor.