The President's Corner
Recently, I had the honor of meeting one of Parma’s religious patriarchs, Fr. Dale Staysniak, who has served as Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish for almost 24 years. This month in my continuing series on Parma’s places of worship, you are provided with a glimpse into this religious rock of the community located at 6750 State Road.
Fr. Dale grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family in North Ridgeville, where he attended St. Peter’s grade school. He had a calling to serve the Church from a young age and, therefore, attended Borromeo Seminary High School. He remained there for college and was ordained a priest in 1975. He was called by the bishop to serve his first associateship at St. John Bosco Parish. He also served as an Associate Pastor at St. William (Euclid), St. Angela Merici (Fairview Park) and St. Adalbert (Berea) parishes. “God offers us all many gifts – marrying, serving the Church, having children, etc., but gives us free will to make our own choices,” Fr. Dale explained. “I am so blessed to have been called to serve the Church,” he added.
Fr. Dale mentioned that many folks have misperceptions about St. Anthony of Padua. In fact, this author is guilty as charged. For instance, many believe that the Parish and Padua High School are one in the same. However, although they share the same property, they are separate entities. “The Parish and the high school were once run by the Franciscan Friar community, but they were always distinct bodies,” Fr. Dale clarified. Further, the Parish was divested to the Cleveland Catholic diocese in 1993, due to the Franciscan Order’s challenge to staff it any longer. As a result, Fr. Dale, a priest of Cleveland Diocese, was named pastor at that time by Bishop Anthony Pilla. “Our parishioners are very proud of their Franciscan heritage,” Fr. Dale explained. “Further, they all know that Parma is a great place to live and raise a family,” he added.
One thing that I had never thought about prior to meeting with Fr. Dale is the huge tract of Catholic land that runs from the edge of Padua hill at Padua High School all the way east through St. Anthony of Padua, Holy Family Home, Mt. Alverna Village, Parmadale and Camp Corde, all the way to St. Columbkille Parish on Broadview Road. This area was once referred to as ‘Holy Hill,’ Fr. Dale explained. Although he is not quite sure of the history of this huge tract of Catholic property, he mentioned that “someone obviously had a vision back in the day.”
In the spirit of St. Anthony, St. Anthony Parish came from humble beginnings. Anyone who frequents Progressive Field is familiar with St. Maron Church on Carnegie. If one reads the cornerstone of the building, however, they will note that it reads “St. Antonio.” St. Antonio moved when St. Maron acquired the property, however, when the Innerbelt was constructed, St. Antonio was moved to Parma in 1959 and was founded as St. Anthony’s. Parma was growing by leaps and bounds, so the move was a no brainer. The first building constructed on the State Road property was the elementary school and gym. In fact, the gym served as the chapel until the church was built in 1985.
St. Anthony’s summer carnival kicks off the Parma carnival season each year. In fact, this year the carnival will run from Wednesday, June 7 through Sunday, June 11. The Parish welcomes everyone to join in the fun, great food, games, casino, rides, and fellowship.
The mission statement of St. Anthony of Padua School states the following: “St. Anthony of Parma Roman Catholic Elementary School is a faith community, where students are challenged to grow and develop spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically in accord with Gospel values. Our mission is the shared responsibility of the student, home, school and community.” “One of the advantages our school has is its proximity to Padua High school, where our students are able to take courses and earn high school credits,” Fr. Dale mentioned.
In closing, I wish to thank Fr. Dale for taking the time to offer the community insight into his fine Parish. Should you like to learn more about St. Anthony of Padua, visit their website at www.stanthonypaduaparma.org or call 440-842-2666.
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan