Friday, December 15, 2017


This year hailed the beginning of Scouting at St. Sebastian, a relationship that has been intact to the present day.  40 boys joined the Boy Scouts (Troop 96) and a healthy 70 girls made up the Girl Scouts.  An additional 45 boys were signed up for the Cub Scouts and 35 girls joined the Brownies.

Due to the war, the parish was also down to two priests again.  One of the priests left the parish with the bishop’s permission to become a chaplain in the war raging overseas.  Apparently, the previous April of 1942, Bishop McFadden made a promise to Fr. Zwisler that one of the newly ordained priests would be assigned to St. Sebastian to take his place.  Father was taking no chances.  He wrote to the Bishop to make sure that he remembered his promise.

In a letter dated January 6th, 1943, Father took no pains to hide the fact that he was upset a new priest had not already been assigned to him.  During the war years, ordinations were taking place twice a year instead of the customary once at the end of the school year.  This was done to move men more quickly through the system.  Being that an ordination was right around the corner, a newly ordained should be assigned to St. Sebastian.  “This is as it should be,” wrote Father, “In fact, in anticipation of giving of one of my assistants for the Service, I should have been assigned one of the newly ordained last year.

“The amount of work I have engaged in this parish would warrant three assistants.  Working twenty four hours of the day I could not do the work adequately with only one assistant.  Two assistants are indispensable.”

Father pulled no punches in his letter.  “There are glaring inequalities in the Diocese, which we know are not a fault of yours.  The Cathedral and St. Thomas’ have a superabundance of priests and choose and dismiss whom they please.  The priests of the Diocese all know the reason why.

“Here, in our own neighborhood, St. Peter’s (Akron) with only about a hundred and fifty families, has as much help as St. Sebastian, an organized and complete city parish.”  The letter goes on to explain the difficulty of obtaining Sunday Mass help and then mentions, “Besides, this parish is always the first in the Diocese in it’s support of the Diocese and Diocesan institutions.  This should merit consideration.

“. . . Having waited nearly a year thus far, I want to wait the remaining weeks, with the assurance that St. Sebastian will obtain one of the efficient and zealous young priests about to be ordained.

“With most fervent wishes and a prayer for your health and happiness during the New Year, I remain, Respectfully Yours, Hilary Zwisler.  Pastor.  Feast of the Epiphany.


Cyndy said...

Very interesting! But what do you suppose that Msgr Zwisler meant by this: "The Cathedral and St. Thomas’ have a superabundance of priests and choose and dismiss whom they please. The priests of the Diocese all know the reason why."

Fr. V said...

Unfortunately I have no idea. The best mind on historical matters in the diocese, Fr. Thomas Tift, has passed (too early in my estimation) and I do not know who else to ask. If anyone out there knows . .