Filed Under Religion

Saint Paschal Baylon Parish

In the early 1950s, Most Reverend Edward Hoban, Bishop of Cleveland, foresaw the need for a new parish east of Cleveland. He contacted the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament - a religious community of priests and brothers - to staff the parish. The Congregation was interested and a Seminarian called Donald Jette, suggested the name St. Paschal Baylon. Later, Fr.Donald Jette S.S.S. would become the pastor and leader of the parish community.

In 1953, the Congregation sent Father John O'Brien and Brother Edward Mullen, from St. Jean de Baptiste parish in New York City to establish the parish and take up residence in an old farmhouse on the church's present property. The newcomers initially arranged to have weekend Liturgies at the old Richmond Theatre on Mayfield Road, serving about 100 families in the area. As the parish community began to gather and grow, temporary worship space was built in 1954. The school opened in 1955.

The next few years proved equally expansive. In 1956, the present parish rectory was completed, and by 1957, more classrooms were added to the school. In 1963, the Blessed Sacrament Congregation began construction of their new seminary on the parish grounds, with a new convent appearing on the western edge of the property the following year.

In 1969, Fr. O'Brien worked with architect Richard Fleischman on a plan for a new church. Conceived as a hilltop beacon overlooking Lake Erie, the design included a sixty-foot high north wall made of glass. It forms a major segment of the octagonally extended building and provides a vast open space that encourages people to share and value community worship. The design represented a departure from traditional church designs at the time.

The parish community inaugurated a "new worship space" with First Communion on April 8, 1971. Since then, continued growth of the community has boosted the parish membership to over 2,700 families. The school is also thriving, serving about 500 elementary students.


Fr. John T. Lane comments on the design of St. Paschal Baylon Church. The new church building was designed by architect Richard Fleischman in 1969, incorporating glass walls, a unique approach at the time. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
Star Wars in Highland Heights Fr. Lane describes the lore surrounding the new church design as he grew up in the parish and school. He goes on to reflect on the community ministries of the parish. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection


St. Paschal Baylon Church, Highland Heights The south view of the church shows the octagonal shape of the roof and the single story windows that surround the worship space. Vestibule spaces were added later to facilitate entry and passage into the church. Creator: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Front glass wall of St, Paschal Church The reflective glass of the wall facing north provides the parishioners with much light and a marvelous view of the outdoors. Creator: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
St. Paschal Baylon Parish Hall Following a short period of worship at the nearby Richmond Theatre, construction of a temporary church and school began on parish property began on Wilson Mills Road. Now the parish hall, this building housed the church between 1955 and 1971. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
St Paschal Baylon Parish plan, 1969 Architect Richard Fleischman and Fr. O'Brien (St. Paschal's pastor) envisioned a Beacon of Christ centralized on the parish property in Highland Heights. The drawing shows the proposed church in relation to the existing school facility in 1969. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
St Paschal Baylon Church Sixty-foot glass walls comprise the north-facing side behind the sanctuary of the church. Creator: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Interior of the St. Paschal Baylon Church Fan-shaped seating with surrounding reflective windows focus attention upon the congregation. A change in theme and focus resulting from the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s inspired the church design. Source: Richard Fleischman + Partners, Architects, Inc.


5384 Wilson Mills Rd, Highland Heights, OH 44143


Jim Lanese and Ken Valore, “Saint Paschal Baylon Parish,” Cleveland Historical, accessed December 3, 2023,