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Toledo Polish Churches > Regina Coeli Parish

Regina Coeli Parish: Our Lady Queen of Heaven

The announcement of the establishment of a new parish in west Toledo was made by Bishop Rehring at Sunday Masses on November 21, 1954 at St. Catherine Church. The parish was formed from the northeastern section of St. Catherine Parish. There were approximately five hundred families in the newly-established parish. A seventeen-acre site was purchased on Bennett Road. Bishop Rehring dedicated the new parish to Our Blessed Lady and gave it the title, Regina Coeli. The Rev. Napoleon Kotz was placed in charge of its formation. The building of the new parish would include a church and a school for a contract in the amount of $235,000.

Upon completion of Regina Coeli School, classes started on September 26, 1955 with seven grades. The first academic year extended to late June to make up for its late start. The school originally had eight rooms, two were added a year later.

The first Masses in the parish’s original church were celebrated on Sunday, October 9, 1955. The church could accommodate five hundred worshippers. In the 1955 historical report, there were 2,272 souls in the parish with 336 in school.

In May 1956, the rectory was completed. It was this same year that the construction of a convent began. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Sylvania had been living in a classroom in the grade school. The convent was completed in 1956 with the Bishop blessing it on April 6, 1957. Built near the school, it is a low ranch-style structure in harmony with the rectory and the church-school building. It contained quarters for ten Sisters. It was this year that the parish’s first capital campaign called “Building the Future Now” began with sixty-eight men conducting house-to-house visits to raise funds.

Parishioners’ generosity made additional building possible. As Catholic schools had to supply their own buses at the time, in 1957 the parish erected a bus garage. In 1958 a portable annex was built to supply sufficient room for 565 pupils. There were now eleven classrooms in use. In 1959, six classrooms were added as well as an activities center.

By 1960, the parish had grown to 3,160 souls with 691 pupils in thirteen classrooms. In 1969, there were 4,289 members with an enrollment of 737 students in nineteen classrooms.

Father Kotz, the parish’s first pastor, had labored for twenty years in behalf of a parish that he began with 562 souls and saw it grow until 1973 when the parish numbered 5,094. Sadly, his health gave way and after a year’s illness he was called to his eternal reward on January 20, 1974. Rev. Cleo Schmenk became the new pastor of Regina Coeli.

The parishioners’ dream of a larger, new church became reality when ground was broken on May 1, 1975. The contract was set for $898,480. It was truly a magnificent structure and it fulfilled every need of a parish of this size. The first Mass was celebrated in the new church on July 5, 1976, a Monday morning, in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The first Mass in the main body of the new church was celebrated on Saturday evening, July 20, 1976. Dedication of the new church took place in October of the same year. The former church building is now Kotz Memorial Hall, which is used for school functions and organizational meetings.

On September 25, 1979, Father Edward Hug succeeded Father Schmenk. He continued to serve the parish until July 6, 1983. By this time, the parish numbered 6,400 souls.

Father Joseph Vamos became pastor of the parish on July 6, 1983. He had served as an assistant to the parish from 1967 until 1972. He was acquainted with its people and continued to serve this parish with ability and care.

Regina Coeli parish continues to foster spiritual growth through its education and outreach activities. Religious education classes develop the faith for both adults and children. The Eucharistic ministry provides spiritual care to those who are sick and hospitalized. The Altar Society hosts social activities and plans the rosary recitation gatherings.

The school offers one of the most advanced technology centers in the diocese and the parish welcomes the community at large for activities such as Al Anon meetings and R.C.I.A.

The number of souls in the parish increased steadily thru the years: 1954 – 562; 1960 – 3,160; 1970 – 4,390; 1980 – 6,400.

 

Pastors of Regina Coeli Parish:

Reverend Napoleon Kotz (1954-1974)

Reverend Cleo Schmenk (1974-1979)

Reverend Edward Hug (1979-1983)

Reverend Joseph Vamos (1983-1994)

Reverend James E. Auth (1994-present)

 

Regina Coeli: Queenship of Mary feast day August 22

 

Prayer:

Queen of heaven, rejoice. Alleluia. The Son whom you were privileged to bear, Alleluia, has risen as he said, Alleluia. Pray to God for us, Alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, Virgin Mary, Alleluia. For the Lord has truly risen, Alleluia.
O God, it was by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that you brought joy to the world. Grant that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may attain the joy of eternal life. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Address:

530 Regina Parkway

Toledo, Ohio 43612

 

Bibliography:

Clerus Toletanus: A Directory of Clergy, Religious Communities and Parishes of the Diocese of Toledo in America, 1910 to 2011, vol. 1 no. 1

Regina Coeli,” Hanley, John and Scalia, Rosalia, A History of the Diocese of Toledo. Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2009