St. Agatha Parish was founded in 1940.  The first Mass was celebrated on December 1, in a church designed to accommodate 350 people.  There were 70 families who became office charter members of the parish.

The new parish was established by Bishop James J. Hartley following a housing boom which had rapidly transformed Upper Arlington from a quiet farm area to a growing community.  Monsignor George J. Kennedy moved into the new rectory located on a cow path now known as Northam Road.

Our parish property, then 19 acres of forest and swampland, was located just outside the city limits.

St. Agatha School opened in 1941, staffed by the Sisters of Charity, who took up residence in the newly completed convent.  The school consisted of four classrooms and a parish hall, with 46 students in six grades.  The first class graduated in 1944.

In 1960, with attendance at Sunday Mass averaging more than 2400 people, plans were started for a new and larger church.  On May 27, 1962, the groundbreaking was held, with a dedication on March 15, 1964.

Parish Council was founded in 1968 to serve as an advisory group for the pastor in all areas of parish life and operation.  As the church needs grew, so did those of the school.  Additions were made to the school in 1950, 1952, and 1955.  In the 1990’s, a group of foresighted parishioners realized that additional space was needed for the school and for parish activities.  Following an extensive analysis, a $1.2 million Parish Expansion Project facilitated the addition of a parish center, a new school library, four additional classrooms and a redesigned cafeteria for the school building.

The new addition was completed in 1994.  The Monsignor George Kennedy Parish Center has a capacity of 425 people and has been well utilized by the St. Agatha Parish Community.  This facility provides an excellent environment for parish fellowship activities.  Today, the school building houses 15 classrooms, a cafeteria, library-media center, gymnasium, computer lab, two science rooms, an art room, and a child care center.

St Agatha Church 1940s
Ceremony blessing and placing of the cornerstone.
Steeple being placed on bell tower, circa 1969

St. Agatha’s Bells

The bell tower, or campanile, is 110 feet high and the peak of the roof is 46 feet from the floor of the church.  From the rear of the sanctuary to the rear of the church is 147 feet.  At its widest, the church is 84 feet and at its narrowest, 50 feet across.

“Baptizing” church bells is a centuries-old tradition.  In this church, the large, medium and small bells were named Joseph, Mary, and Agatha respectively.

Traditionally church bells are rung on occasions of public joy and gladness and calamity and sorrow.  They are identified with the “voice of God” calling the faithful to public worship.


Taken From  The History of Saint Agatha Parish

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