The History of Saint Mary Church

709 S. Milton Boulevard
Newton Falls Ohio,44444
(History rewritten February 1998)

St. Mary’s Parish of Newton Falls has a long and varied History. The Church was originally formed to serve the needs of the people in this area that were of Polish Decent . There were many Catholics in town with this common ethnic bond so they decided to pool their resources and talents to establish a church that would maintain their catholic values yet with the “Old World Flavor “ that was so deeply imbedded in their hearts. To this end ,an independent Polish parish was formed in Newton Falls under the direction of The Rev. J. Nurkiewicz, an independent minister . The people, were very excited and began the plans to build their long awaited church. Being a small parish with limited funds they were only able to build and finish the basement into their new house of worship.Unaware of the fact their director was an “Independent Minister” they continued to worship outside the communion of the catholic church for a few years.

When the members discovered they were only an ” independent church” , they dismissed Rev. Nurkiewicz . Some parishioners became disenchanted and went to other churches. But many members who were still willing to sacrifice to achieve their dream asked to be reconciled to the mother church . Finally this small parish persevered, and after many weeks and months of hard work ,the formalities all completed , their request was granted by Bishop Schrembs of the Cleveland diocese. Their property was deeded to the Bishop in 1927 and the Rev. Joseph Jarosz was appointed to take care of the parish as a Mission. The church was blessed under the title of Our Lady of Czestochowa , (St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church). Early in 1928 Rev. Adolph Bernas was appointed as pastor of this newly formed Mission . Meanwhile there was a much larger parish being formed in Warren, Ohio , so Rev. Bernas was transferred to the parish known as St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the newly formed St. Mary’s church was assigned as a mission to St. Joseph’s. St. Mary’s church remained a mission attached to St. Joseph’s Church of Warren, Ohio , through the administration of the following pastors: Rev. Adolph Bernas, Rev. John Foster and Rev. Ignatius Piotrowski.

Finally the day the members of this tiny church longed for had arrived . on September 9,1928 St. Mary’s church became a full fledged parish under the administration Rev. Max J. Krajdzieski. When Father Krajdzieski arrived In Newton Falls he found the basement church in deplorable condition . Through the efforts of Father Krajdzieski and several devoted parishioners , a new temporary roof was erected and all necessary repairs were made to the basement. This structure remained their place of worship for nearly ten years. December 3,1938 was another milestone that would start the last phase of the congregations dream. This was the day they began construction of the main structure of their church. Although it was in the middle of winter, the anxious community razed the temporary roof and the project was under way. Through the winter and into spring under less than ideal conditions ,the building began to take shape. Under the capable leadership of Fr. Krajdzieski and several members with construction experience, the church was almost totally complete in late March of 1939. What a very very proud day for this congregation .

At last all the hard work, making do ,and saving money for nearly 10 years had paid off. On April 2,1939 , the members of Our Lady of Czestochowa with a great sense of pride and achievement dedicated their new church. It was a beautiful house of worship , 32’ wide x 80’ long and the inside was 22’ high with large exposed beamed ceiling. Their greatest achievement was in knowing that they did it without incurring any debt. One can only imagine the personal hardships they must have endured to meet this worthwhile goal in such a short time. New pews and stations of the cross were added in July of 1939 and a new furnace was added in October of that same year. Although the building no longer belongs to St. Mary’s church it still remains a source of pride an achievement to the descendants of those few families who had a dream and made the sacrifice. The demographics of the church at that time was about 40 families of polish decent and 15 families of other nationalities. Organizations in the church were ; the Rosary Society, the Polish women’s Alliance of America -Group 705 and in 1940 a young men’s club was organized known as “Club of St. Casimir” . All vital statistics of the parish are housed in the archives of the church.

From the day Fr. Krajdzieski arrived in Newton Falls, St. Mary’s Church seemed to take on a new and vibrant life, and it showed in all that they were able to accomplish in ten short years. During World War II , the United States Government built a large complex at the corner of Route 534 and Maple Drive ,which was used as a nursery for the children of mothers that worked at the Ravenna Arsenal. In 1949 Under the pastorate of Fr. Aloysius Rzendarski , Bishop James A. McFadden of the newly formed Diocese of Youngstown, purchased this property and plans were made to convert one of the buildings into a Parochial School. Fr. Rzendarski traveled more than 6,500 miles throughout the eastern United States to find a community of Nuns to staff the school . Finally he was successful in getting the Sisters of the “Holy Family of Nazareth” whose Motherhouse was in Bellevue, Pennsylvania. St. Mary’s school became a reality and through the years educated many children from Newton Falls and outlying areas. Father Leon Dobosiewicz succeeded Fr. Rzendarski as pastor in 1959 and under his direction and much of his own labor , built the present St. Mary’s Social Center . After Fr. Dobosiewicz, Fr. William Slipski assumed the pastorate of St. Mary’s church in 1964 . During his tenure Fr. Slipski sold the original church and property on North Canal St. and parishioners began to utilize the Social Center for religious purposes.

Fr. Slipski purchased a large parcel of land on the south side of town from the Robert McCullough family and built a new Rectory, Convent and School. During construction of the school Bishop Malone, of the Youngstown Diocese , declared that St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s churches should combined their resources for this new school, so in September of 1966 the two organizations jointly formed Catholic Elementary School . Today the school is known as “ Saints Mary and Joseph School” and provides an education for our students from kindergarten through junior high . It has become a great source of pride for both parishes as well as a respected and highly regarded educational Institution in Newton Falls and surrounding communities. The remaining mortgage St. Mary’s had taken out for the Catholic Elementary School was retired in February of 1976 . St. Mary’s future plans called for a new church to be erected beside the school. Fr. Slipski left Newton Falls in 1968 to accept another pastorate and he was followed by :


Fr. Edward Kowaleski 

Fr. Edward Wieczorek (Pro-Tem )

Fr. Sylvester Kaminski 

Fr. Edward Neroda
Fr. John Mulqueen 

Fr. Terrence Hazel (Pro-Tem) 

Fr. Thomas Bissler 

Fr. Blaine Pierce (Pro-Tem)
Fr. Peter Polando 

Fr. David Merzweiler(Shared with St. Catherine’s)

Fr. Kenneth Strader ( Shared with St. Joseph’s) 

Fr. John Madden (Shared with St. Joseph’s)

Fr. Matthew Mankowski (Shared with St. Joseph’s)

This history of St. Mary’s Church was rewritten, by Bob And Trudi Pittman , from information supplied from archive’s of St. Mary’s Church and the Diocese of Youngstown .(Feb. 1998)


St. Mary and St. Joseph Church
131 Quarry Street
Newton Falls, OH 44444-1560
Phone: 330-872-5742

St. Mary's Hall
709 S. Milton Boulevard
Newton Falls, OH 44444
Phone: 330-872-1828

© 2006 St. Mary & St. Joseph Churches