The President's Corner
As many of you who read this column know, a few years ago I began a series of articles that spotlights the many places of worship in Parma. This month I continue that endeavor by reporting on my visit with Father Anthony Suso, Pastor of St. Columbkille Roman Catholic Church, at 6740 Broadview Road.
I have met many very good religious leaders over the years for this column series. However, I have to say that the parishioners of St. Columbkille are very blessed to have Fr. Suso as their pastor. He is truly a visionary and is laser-focused on the future success of his parish. A vociferous reader, he is working with his parishioners to implement the best practices he has learned from pastors around the country. “I am a lifelong learner,” he explained. “I am willing to admit that I do not know everything, so I surround myself with caring, hardworking, skilled people,” he added, as he explained how a 21st century Catholic pastor should think and lead. “The Catholic Church’s mission is to form lifelong disciples of the Lord Jesus who joyfully proclaim the Gospel to everyone, not just the people in the pews” he asserted. “Every baptized person must grow into becoming an evangelist of Jesus to their families, workplaces, schools and communities. “That,” he explained, “is what will keep the Catholic Church vibrant and alive for centuries to come.”
Fr. Suso grew up in Mentor and cites his family as his biggest influence. “My mom and dad played a huge role in my decision to serve the Church,” he explained. Growing up the son of very devout Catholics, his father, who served as the city manager for Mentor, would often have to work long hours, but would always come into his room when he got home and say a prayer at his bedside. “Sometimes I was awake, sometimes I was not, but that had a big impact on me,” he explained. Father Suso attended Notre Dame Elementary School and, later, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School, where his brother is now the director of admissions. His family belonged to St. Bede the Venerable Parish. “God spoke to me after Mass on Holy Thursday when I was a sophomore and that is when I decided to dedicate my life to Jesus,” he explained. He went on to college at John Carroll University and Borromeo Seminary, then graduate school at St. Mary’s Seminary. He was ordained on May 16, 2009.
Father Suso went on to serve as Associate Pastor at St. Francis de Sales in Akron and St. Joseph in Strongsville. Shortly after his arrival at St. Joseph, the pastor was experiencing serious health issues which gave Fr. Suso the ability to run the parish for a while. This experience, and clearly a job well done, explains how he became a pastor in his own right so quickly, as he was selected by Bishop Nelson Perez to serve St. Columbkille in June, 2017.
Like many churches in Parma, St. Columbkille Parish was originally located in Cleveland (at Superior and East 26th). However, to make room for the new innerbelt freeway, the church was vacated and demolished. Archbishop Edward F. Hoban authorized the new St. Columbkille Parish in Parma in 1956. Mass was held in the chapel at Parmadale Orphanage until 1957, when the parish opened a school and 1958 when Mass was celebrated in the new church. Again, like many parishes in Parma, St. Columbkille’s numbers grew, requiring a larger church, which was built in 1972.
If you would like to visit St. Columbkille, Fr. Suso welcomes you. In fact, the Parish offers a booklet that one can use to complete a self-guided tour of the beautiful church, which is filled with symbolic architecture, statues, etc. You can also visit their website to take a virtual tour at www.stcolumbkilleparish.org.
St. Columbkille is a very vibrant parish with groups for everyone, including the following: 50 Plus, Holy Name Society, Ladies Guild, Men’s Fellowship, Sports Leagues, Golf League, Warm Up America, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, Bereavement, Divorced Catholics Ministry, Youth Group, Music Ministry, Good Samaritan, etc. It also has a vibrant K-8 day school. Masses at St. Columbkille are typically held on weekdays at 7:00 am and 8:15 am, Saturday’s at 8:15 am, 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm, and Sundays at 7:30am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am and noon.
In closing, I wish to thank Fr. Suso for taking the time to open his parish to the community via this article. If you would like to learn more about St. Columbkille, visit their website or call 440-524-1987. Best wishes for a blessed Labor Day. A sincere thanks to all of those who support and fight for workers’ rights in America.
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan