Congregation shares memories of ex-parish

SS. Cyril and Methodius Church closed on May 31

NILES — Members of the recently closed SS. Cyril and Methodius Church gathered to share memories and stories of attending the Warren parish.

A commemoration dinner and gathering took place earlier this week at Ciminero’s Banquet Centre in Niles with 150 people attending. The church, which opened in 1928, officially closed May 31.

Jill Merolla, an event committee member, said the dinner gave people a chance to share their stories and memories, as well as look at the history of the church and the school. Photos, church directories, newspaper articles and other items were displayed at the event.

Merolla said many people remember the programs and special Masses, as well as the kolachi and pierogie sales.

Many of those in attendance are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, which used two worship sites — SS. Cyril and Methodius and St. James Parish. It was recently decided by Bishop David Bonnar that St. James would be the only worship site for the parish.

“It was a nice way to all get together and share time with one another. Nobody wanted to see the parish close, but the parish council felt we needed to get together for closure in a positive way,” Merolla said.

The decision to close was due to the declining number of priests, who, by canon law, are only allowed to celebrate three weekend Masses. The Rev. Christopher Cicero also celebrates Mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish.

“We will show gratitude for everything that the parishioners have done over the years at the church,” Cicero said.

Emma Timko Burin of Warren said she remembers learning that she and her husband was the first couple to be married in the new church building in 1950.

“We were there on Saturday mornings for catechism classes. We were there all day long,” she said.

Sandra Saluga of Warren said her family was charter members of the church, with her grandparents there since the parish’s earlier days.

“For many of us, we will always have memories of attending the church,” she said.

Chris Brugler of Champion said she and her family attended the church for many years.

“We always loved it there. It was very faith focused,” said Brugler, who also led the Women Walking in Faith program for 15 years.

Susan Layshock of Warren attended St. James and was there when the two parishes merged in 2012.

“The church has always been family focused,” she said.

Cheri Busko of Cortland said she remembers all the fun gatherings and dinners in the former school building.

Ron Zelenak, a 68-year member who now lives in Hudson, said it is sad the church had to close, but it was nice to be able to see people he has not seen in years.

Judy Zelenak, who worked 31 years as the church secretary, said “I loved being there and meeting new people. It was really a great experience.”


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