ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CHURCH
For many years before the turn of the century the Catholic people of south Lima wanted a parish in their section of the city, but their efforts were spasmodic and futile. As the city grew, the number of Catholics in the south side increased. In 1899 the Bishop gave permission for a parish in south Lima. The news overwhelmed the seventy-two devout families with joy and instilled into them an enthusiasm and willingness to work for the good of the parish. Property with a hundred and fifty-five foot frontage on South Main Street was purchased at a cost of $6,200.
The first pastor was appointed on June 10, 1901. The first Mass was celebrated in Wheeler's Hall on the southeast corner of Market and Elizabeth Streets on June 30. A capacity crowd filled the Hall to attend this first Mass, which was offered on a little alter built on wheels.
The cornerstone of a school building of brick and stone was laid on September 8, 1901 in the 700 block of South Man Street. On December 8, just three months after the cornerstone was laid, the first High Mass in the history of the parish was sung on the third floor of the new building and the bell was blessed. The Church was dedicated on December 15, 1901.
The parish grew and the third floor became too small to accommodate the parishioners, so on Easter Sunday, March 20, 1910, the pastor announced that the collection would be the nucleus for land for a new Church. Land was purchased north of the school. The School was remodeled and the basement was fitted for church purposes until the new church basement could be built. By November 24, 1912 the new church basement was blessed and the people worshipped there for twelve years.
The new Church was completed and dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1924. It was renovated in 1971 and 1990.
The new school facing Union Street was built in 1958 and was dedicated on April 26, 1959. The original school was razed and the property on Main Street was used as a parking lot. The school was operated until the close of the school year in June 1973.
Through all the years of it's history, St. John has stood as a symbol of the love and generosity of the people who gave their energy and hard-earned money to build it and those who have maintained it.
St. John today is a blend of the old and the new. We carry the tradition of over three-quarters of a century with us as we blend new ideas into old traditions.
The same spirit, enthusiasm and dedication which characterized the seventy-two founding families can be found in the entire St. John family today, and this is our hope for the future.
St. John’s Parish can be described as an “outreach” parish. The St. Vincent de Paul Society in Lima was begun by St. John’s in the early 1970’s. Currently St. Vincent’s has a food pantry and clothing store and monies generated are used to assist the needy in Lima with housing, medicine, and other expenses. The other Lima Parishes are all involved at this point with continuing the ministry that was began by St. John’s parish.
The rectory of St. John’s is now a group home for women. It is ran by Lutheran Social Services. The home houses ten women who are working to improve their lives and be able to one day live on their own again.
The St. John’s Altar and Rosary Society visits shut-ins from our parish. Many of our parishioners are Eucharistic Ministers and we are currently the only Lima parish to distribute the Holy Eucharist to Lima Memorial Hospital. We also serve many shut-ins and two local Nursing Homes with Communion and prayer services.
St. John’s celebrated their Centennial in 2001. St. John’s was built at the turn of the century and dedicated on December 15, 1901.
One of our “outreach” projects was to help a parish in New Orleans following Katrina and Rita. The parish was St. Paul’s and the pastor at St. Paul’s is a son of St. John’s parish, Fr. Robert Seay. Jointly our parishes raised over $10,000 in aid and sent it to Fr. Seay to use to help his people.
We are currently involved with St. Rose on our third project of sending supplies to our military troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our joint Mission Statement is “We, the communities of St. Rose and St. John, centered in the Eucharist, will model our lives on the Gospel of Jesus Christ by sacraments, word, and stewardship.” Our involvement in the Lima community and our outreach to those who are sick, homeless, and in need of God’s word are all Corporal Works of Mercy which we strive to fulfill on a daily basis.
We are involved with Church Women United and take part in their events, including World Day of Prayer. We host a refreshment table annually at the Lima Christmas Tree Festival which is held at our local museum. Our Confirmation students took part in the Walk for Life held in Washington D.C. this past January. Many of our parishioners are involved with Habitat of Humanity and the building of homes for low income families. We also take part in the Lima CatholicCollaborative Vacation Bible School and work with Grace United Methodist Church on a separate “neighborhood” vacation bible school. St. John’s has hosted various groups for sales, walks, and distribution of literature to assist in the quality of life of our community. In January of every year the Lima Symphony Orchestra performs a “Mozart by Candlelight” concert and the proceeds are used to promote the Arts in Lima. The local branch of Ohio Statue University holds their annual Spring Concert at St. John’s in May.
Lima Towers is a government subsidized apartment complex that sits across the street from St. John’s. Our PREP students host an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the tenants and our Parish assisted the residents last year during a power outage due to an ice storm. Many of the tenants are parishioners of St. John’s.