Parish History

Our Honored Former Pastors

Fr. Raymond J. Grismer1960 - 1962
Fr. Urban A. Reichlin1962 - 1968
Fr. Claude J. Gaebelein1968 - 1981
Fr. John J. McCaffrey1981 - 1998

Past Associates

Fr. Thomas Hyland
Fr. Martin Amos
Fr. Charles Stollenwerk
Fr. Matthew Ischay
Fr. Joseph Mecir
Fr. Robert Wenz
Fr. Ronald Szudarek

In 1955, Father Joseph Eiringer, Pastor of St. Teresa Parish in Sheffield Village, Ohio, seeing the growth in the Sheffield Lake area of his parish, received permission from Archbishop Hoban to celebrate Mass in the Westshore Community building in Sheffield Lake to test the viability of a possible Mission to service the Sheffield Lake area. Father Eiringer was transferred to St. Peter's Parish, North Ridgeville, Ohio, on September 1, 1955 and was succeeded at St. Teresa Parish by Father Raymond J. Grismer. Father Grismer pursued the concept of a parish mission in Sheffield Lake.

Father Grismer purchased 25 acres on Harris Road which was to become the site of a future parish. Foreseeing a rapid growth in the school population, Father Grismer erected a building containing three finished classrooms and three unenclosed rooms on the purchased land that would serve as a mission church. Between the old building and the new school building at St. Teresa Parish, there was sufficient classroom space to accommodate the burgeoning number of school-age children.


In 1960, Father Grismer completed an auditorium to serve as the church for the mission, thus freeing the temporary chapel in the school to be made into three additional classrooms.

The mission of St. Teresa Parish was formally erected on December 1, 1960 and given the title, 'Mission of St. Thomas.' On June 14, 1962, the Mission of St. Thomas was formally established as St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, and Father Urban A. Reichlin was appointed as its first pastor.

Father Reichlin saw to the completion of St. Thomas the Apostle School by adding a south wing to accommodate additional classrooms and a library. He also added an east wing to meet any need for future classrooms. This need did not materialize and the wing has become Eiringer Hall, accommodating parish activities and serving as a cafeteria for the school. Father Reichlin also purchased the rectory at 521 Harris Road and the parish convent at 4255 East Lake Road.

Father Reichlin was transferred in 1968 and was succeeded by Father Claude J. Gaebelein. Father Gaebelein built the permanent church for the parish in 1972, thus freeing the temporary church to be used as a parish hall (now known as Grismer Hall) which can be used as the schoolAltergymnasium and for parish sports programs as well as for parish activities. Part of the finances of the new church came from the sale of twelve of the original 25 acres.

Father Gaebelein was succeeded as Pastor on June 16, 1981 by Father John J. McCaffrey. Father McCaffrey saw the advantages of the buildings available at St. Thomas, especially the gymnasium. Under Fr. McCaffrey's direction St. Thomas Parish and school continued to grow. In August 1997, Fr. McCaffrey became ill and was unable to continue as pastor.

On August 18, 1997, Father Stephen L. Shields reported for duty as Administrator of the parish. On July 1, 1998, Fr. Shields was appointed the pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. Fr. Shields expanded Eucharistic Adoration opportunities, introduced Bible Study groups, and a Youth Group was formed. Parish Council was elected and the parish Finance Committee was expanded. An Education Ministry was also put in place.

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