Regina Coeli Parish History
Regina Coeli Parish was established in 1958, to serve the needs of the growing Catholic population in Alliance. By the early 1950’s, it was apparent that Saint Joseph Parish, the mother church of Alliance, could no longer minister adequately to the post-war increase of families in the city. Father, later monsignor, John W. Cunningham, pastor of Saint Joseph, was charged with establishing the new parish.
On July 11, 1952, the Coadjutor Bishop of Youngstown, Emmet M. Walsh agreed to the purchase of a 51.92 acre tract of land from Charlotte Galano Properties. The tract was named Marine Park Allotment, with 35.18 acres being reserved for church and school purposes, and the balance of 16.74 acres being divided into 46 residential lots.
The new parish was dedicated to the blessed Virgin and given the name Regina Coeli, meaning Queen of Heaven. As a first priority and in order to relieve the crowding at Saint Joseph, Monsignor Cunningham began construction of the school in 1956.
The new parish was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Emmet M. Walsh in 1958, and it numbered about 500 families. The boundaries divided the city of Alliance at Union Avenue, with Regina Coeli serving the West side; and Saint Joseph, the East. The Northern boundary was the Portage-Stark County line; and the Southern, Carroll-Stark County line.
The Altar-Rosary Society, Infant of Prague Guild, Saint Ann Study Club and the Astro Booster Club were among the earliest parish organizations. One of the first parish councils in the Diocese was organized here in 1969 by Father John Turk. Between 1956 and 1965, the present church hall was completed, along with two school additions, one in 1930 and the other in 1965. The rectory was a part of the original parish plan located on the East side of Fernwood Boulevard. The present church was remodeled and dedicated by Bishop James W. Malone on April 13, 1975. A committee of parishioners, spearheaded by Father Robert Sabatino. Launched a drive to eliminate parish debt and establish a permanent church of gothic design, originally proposed by Monsignor Cunningham in 1958. Church members at two public meetings and at a vote taken at two weekend Masses, decided to remodel the preexisting structure. Once completed, a wing of the school was converted to serve as the parish hall.
The shrine to honor the Blessed Virgin was constructed in 1980-1981. At the time, the black steel tower that had originally adorned the top of the church was placed next to the brick edifice surrounding the statue of the Madonna. A multi-colored stained-glass window illuminated after dark, forms the background for the shrine.
The parish school began with only five grades in the fall of 1957, almost a year before a Mass was celebrated at the new church. The Sisters of Saint Dominic of Akron, already staffing Saint Joseph, agreed to serve at Alliance’s second parochial school. Sister Dennis (Mary Faith) was the first principal, and the original faculty consisted of five sisters and Mrs. Yvonne Welch. In 1972 Regina Coeli School and Saint Joseph School merged.
Pastors and Associates
Msgr. John Cunningham 1958-1967
Rev. Robert Barrett (Pro-Tem Administrator) 1967
Rev. John Turk 1967-1970
Rev. David Lettau 1970-1973
Rev. Robert Sabatino 1973-1981
Rev. Paul R. Tobin 1981-1992
Rev. Francis Hughes (Pro-Tem Administrator) 1992
Rev. Frank D. Mintjal 1992-1998
Rev. Patrick Manning 1998-2004
Rev. Mike Seifert 2004-2011
Rev. Howard Ziemba 2011-2012
Rev. Patrick Manning (Pro-Tem Administrator) 2012-2013
Rev. Joseph Ruggieri 2013-