For many years, residents in our area traveled to St. Rita Church in Solon to attend Mass and celebrate the sacraments. In the fall of 1977, a number of parishioners met with Fr. John McNally (then pastor of St. Rita Church) to express their concern regarding the considerable distance between the people and their church. On December 3, 1977, Bishop James A. Hickey formally established the Holy Angels Mission as an outreach of St. Rita Church. The following day, Fr. McNally celebrated the first Mass for the mission congregation of 61 families at the Bainbridge Town Hall.
In 1982, Fr. Robert Wendelken was appointed pastor of St. Rita and its mission, Holy Angels. In August, he initiated a steering committee to form a parish council for Holy Angels. The first Parish Council elections took place in May 1984. In September 1985, religious education classes were established for the growing congregation. Classes for grades one through four were held at Gardiner Elementary School and one additional grade was added each year thereafter.
The Mission congregation continued to meet in the Bainbridge Town Hall and, occasionally, at the Lord of Life Lutheran Church or at the Pilgrim Village picnic pavilion. In February 1986, a campaign was launched for a place that the Holy Angels community could call “home.” With the approval of Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, ground was broken July 27, 1986, at 18046 Chillicothe Road on a parcel owned by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. This multi-purpose facility was designed to accommodate 300 people for worship and a variety of parish functions.
The first Mass in the new building was celebrated by Fr. Wendelken on December 21, 1986. The Most Reverend A. Edward Pevec, Vicar for the Eastern Region and Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland, solemnly blessed the Church of the Holy Angels on March 15, 1987. Bishop Anthony M. Pilla presided at the Liturgy. At the time of solemn blessing, 285 families were registered members of Holy Angels. Presently, we have over 2475 families.
In July 1987, Fr. Paul Sciarotta was appointed part-time administrator while remaining resident chaplain to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Chardon. In February 1988, Fr. Joseph Labbe was appointed part-time administrator of Holy Angels while remaining the Director of Admissions and Dean of Men for Borromeo College. Bishop Anthony M. Pilla then appointed Fr. Labbe as full-time administrator effective June 1, 1991.
On September 29, 1995, Holy Angels became the 238th parish in the Diocese of Cleveland, and Father Joseph Labbe was appointed the first pastor. The community continued to grow rapidly and quickly pushed the members to consider a new facility. Lot restrictions prohibited the building of a larger church at 18046 Chillicothe Rd., so the search was begun for another site. Through a very generous anonymous donor, two parcels, totaling 60 acres, were acquired for the new facility.
Planning began in September 1996, groundbreaking in June 1998, and the first Mass was celebrated in our present church on August 14, 1999. Abbot Roger Gries, OSB celebrated the Solemn Dedication on September 29, 1999, the Feast of the Holy Angels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. On April 8, 2002, Father Robert Stec, weekend associate, was named temporary administrator of Holy Angels. Father Daniel Schlegel was appointed by Bishop Anthony M. Pilla as the new parish administrator on November 25, 2002 and installed as Pastor on November 25, 2010.
Since 2002, our parish has been involved with the Vibrant Parish Lifeinitiative in the Diocese of Cleveland. This initiative strives to help our local church be a stronger witness and presence in our area through parish “clusters.” In 2007, with the approval of Bishop Richard Lennon, Holy Angels and St. Joan of Arc in Chagrin Falls became “cluster” parishes. In the Spring of 2009, visions and goals were approved by Bishop Lennon and we have begun working together in new ways to strengthen the Catholic presence and vibrancy in our area of the Diocese.