A HISTORY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC PARISH
In the beautifully renovated Chapel of the Assumption of Mary at Carthagena, Ohio, John Kalicky, in a class of eleven deacons, was raised to the priesthood on June 10th, 1961. Father Kalicky celebrated his first mass on June 11th, assisted as archpriest by pastor Fr. Homco. Two choirs, many priests, the Holy Name men and the Knights of Columbus all joined in celebration of the event.
On April 17th, 1962, Fr. Brenkus celebrated evening mass at St. John’s then went to Phil Smidt’s restaurant with Fr. Homco for supper. As he was finishing his meal, he suddenly slumped over the table. In a matter of moments, he was dead. He had said his last mass on the very same altar on which he had celebrated his first mass after ordination.
A number of notable occurrences happened in 1963. Well loved Pope John XXIII passed away on May 22nd. He was succeeded by Pope Paul VI. On a happier note, Father John Zvijak, Fr. Richard Elo and Fr. Joseph Hanish were ordained to the priesthood on June 8th. Work also began on interior decoration of the church. First order of business was the repairing and cleaning of the stained glass windows.
As recorded in the 75th Jubilee Year book, 1964’s major concern was the decoration of the church. Many professionals along with an immense volunteer effort were involved. Work was very comprehensive, addressing everything from painting to detailed work in the sanctuary to varnishing of the woodwork and pews. Over $36,000 was collected to cover the basic contract, but other jobs had to be done by the parish outright like floorwork beneath the pews, flooring in the choir loft and tuck pointing. Final touches were added to the main altar, with the altar stone consecrated on May 7th. Embedded in the altar slab were sacred relics of the holy apostles Andrew, Jude and Thomas, of the martyrs Wenceslaus and Maria Goretti and of the confessor Casimir.
In March of 1966, bids were opened for the Rectory Project along with a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony. Plans for the new Rectory were finalized in early June, with a contract awarded for the project to Leo Reuth and Sons at a cost of $245,000. On July 7th, 1967, Bishop Grutka blessed the new, completed rectory in a simple ceremony on the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, patrons of the Slavic nations.
Though the new parish home was unready for occupancy, parishioners were invited to visit the new edifice. Only two months later, some of the rooms were occupied. The photo at right shows an overhead view of St. John’s Parish in 1967.
On December 5th 1968, St. John’s honored their pastor, Fr. Homco with a jubilee mass celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Father Kostik preached the homily at a 9:30am mass, followed by a 6:30pm mass later that day.