Bishop Nelson Perez celebrated Mass on June 30, at St. Sebastian Parish as the parish is celebrating 90 years serving its West Akron community. Bishop Perez was joined by several concelebrants including Father John Valencheck, pastor, and pastor emeritus Father William Karg.
In his homily, Bishop Perez polled the congregation to get a sense of the parishioners who have been members of the parish the longest. One person indicated their membership spanned 80 years. Bishop Perez went on to say that the church is the most important place in any parish, a place where we encounter Jesus in the Word and the Eucharist, and from which we take Christ into the world. ”The parish is the physical expression of the presence of Christ,” said Bishop Perez. From there, “Christian faith is meant to be talked about and shared.
After Mass, group photos of the Mass participants were taken on the front steps of the Church. The Bishop also took time to greet parishioners.
St. Sebastian Church is a beautiful and awe-inspiring place that serves as a cornerstone of faith for parishioners and as an anchor of the West Akron community. St. Sebastian Parish was established in 1928. Early parishioners inhabited several buildings before the church as it stands today was completed in 1960. For more than 55 years, this church structure has been the site of many experiences of spiritual engagement and renewal. Currently, the church building is undergoing a refurbishment funded by the parish’s Cornerstone of Our Faith effort, an estimated $1 million capital campaign to restore St. Sebastian Church to its full grandeur and beauty. The restoration projects funded by the campaign will be completed in November, 2018.