SAINT ANSELM OF CANTERBURY
(circa 1033 - 1109)
Saint Anselm, our parish patron, was born in Aosta, Italy, the son of a wealthy nobleman, about the year 1033. He left home in 1056 to study in the Burgundy region of France. Anselm became a monk in Normandy about 1060. He excelled in piety and intellectual accomplishment and became Prior of the abbey in a short time.
In 1078, as abbot of Bec Abbey, he began to frequently visit England to inspect abbey properties.
In 1092, Anselm was elected Archbishop of Canterbury. He did not succumb to political pressure, even though King William II tried to have him removed. He sought to defend the rights of individuals and the Church. When the King appealed to the Pope, Pope Urban I supported Anselm.
He is often called the Father of Scholasticism and his written works have greatly influenced Catholic philosophy and theology. Anselm taught that logic and reason are means or tools to help the Christian penetrate, to some extent, the mysteries of faith.
Anselm died in 1109 at Canterbury, England. His feast day is celebrated each year on April 21st. In 1720 Anselm was named a Doctor of the Church.
SAINT ANSELM PARISH
Established by Archbishop Edward F. Hoban on July 9, 1961, Saint Anselm Parish welcomed Monsignor Thomas J. Kelly as its first pastor. The 550 families of the parish celebrated its first Mass at Westwood School and opened a parish center over the Chesterland Furniture Store. On May 27, 1962, ground was broken for a church and school on Chillicothe Road south of Mayfield Road. Construction proceeded smoothly, allowing the community to celebrate its first Mass in the new church on Christmas Eve 1962. By the following spring, the parish also had completed a rectory and welcomed its first assistant pastor, Father Raymond Horley. In September 1963, Sister Jean Hoelke, SND and four other Notre Dame Sisters opened Saint Anselm School. From its original enrollment of 300 students in grades one through six, the school soon expanded, adding eight classrooms, multi-purpose hall, and school library.
In 1972, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland granted Monsignor Kelly a health-related leave-of-absence and appointed Father John F. Anderson parish administrator. Father Anderson, who later became Saint Anselm Parish’s second pastor, supervised a second wave of parish construction. The parish purchased an adjacent house in 1978, renovating it into a convent for the Notre Dame Sisters. Three years later, the church received a carillon and erected the Trinity Bell Tower Memorial. After months of renovation, Auxiliary Bishop A. Edward Pevec rededicated Saint Anselm Church in November 1984. The next phase of parish construction came in the wake of a December 1990 fire, which destroyed the parish rectory. With the shell of the building demolished and the site cleared, the parish erected a new rectory and parish center.
On May 1, 1995, Father Anderson became pastor emeritus of Saint Anselm Parish. His successor and Saint Anselm Parish’s current pastor, Father Thomas M. Sweany, now directs a parish staff composed of both laity and religious. In addition to Father Sweany, the present staff of Saint Anselm includes one pastoral associate, a Director of Religious Education, a School Principal, a Director of Youth Formation, a Director of RCIA, a deacon and two weekend assistant priests.
In 1998, in response to Bishop Pilla's Church in the City Initiative, Saint Anselm and Saint Jerome Parishes formed a partnership. Since then, there have been pulpit exchanges and many shared projects and activities at both parishes. Groundbreaking for a new church building took place on June 3, 2001.
The parish currently consists of 2,400 families with 269 students attending Saint Anselm School (preschool through grade 8) and another 525 students attending the Parish School of Religion. While it is a relatively young community, Saint Anselm Parish takes pride in its past accomplishments and looks forward to serving the spiritual and communal needs of Chesterland’s Catholic community.
SAINT ANSELM PASTORS
Monsignor Thomas J. Kelly 1961-1972
Pastor Rev. John F. Anderson 1972-1995
Pastor Rev. Thomas M. Sweany 1995-Present
Rev. Raymond J. Horley 1963-1968
Rev. John W. Vovko 1968-1973
Rev. Donald E. Snyder 1973-1979
Rev. John J. Kinkopf 1974-1978
Rev. Joseph T. Hilinski 1978-1982
Rev. Daniel O. Divis 1979-1984
Rev. Robert J. Kraig 1982
Rev. Jeffrey M. Weaver 1982-1985
Rev. John A. Adelaar 1984-1985
Rev. Charles Stollenwerk 1985-1990
Rev. William J. Johnson 1986-1995
Rev. Stephen L. Shields 1990-1995
Rev. Eric B. Leissa 1995-2000
Rev. Barry Gearing 2000-2005
Rev. Stephen M. Spisak 2012-Present
Sister Jean Hoelke, SND 1963-1967
Sister Judith Ostrowski, SND 1967-1969
Sister Norbert, SND 1969-1970
Sister Clarissa, SND 1970-1971
Sister Grace Corbett, SND 1971-1972
Sister Josephmarie, SND 1972-1984
Sister Sean Groh, SND 1984-1990
Sister Donna Galetovich, SND 1990-1998
Sister Gretchen, OSU 1998-2003
Mrs. Patricia Zaranec, 2003-2006
Ms. Joan Agresta, 2006-Present