Early in 1955, a group of Catholic women in Aurora were organizing a mission guild when the idea arose of holding Masses in the town. As a result, the Mission Church in Aurora held its first Mass at the Aurora Inn on March 13, 1955.
On July 8, 1955, the mission purchased 13 acres in Aurora with a house and barn from Gordon and Mary Patterson. Bishop Emmet M. Walsh named the mission Our Lady of Perpetual Help and changed it to parish status on June 24, 1960. Father Homer G. Oliver was the first pastor.
When the house and barn facilities became inadequate due to the growth of the congregation, the parish purchased St. Rita Church in Solon for $5,000. They physically moved the church building from Solon to 342 South Chillicothe Road, Aurora.
According to the November 1967 editions of the Record Courier Tribune of Ravenna (provided by John Kuzley Jr. of the Aurora Historical Society), the 67-by-30-foot structure with a height of 35 feet was moved along Route 43 beginning on November 25, for what was to have been a two-day journey. However, while parked on rollers near Geauga Lake overnight, the 40-ton structure froze to the ground, delaying the end to its journey by an additional day.
In the end, the move covered 8.5 miles at a cost of $15,000, including $6,000 for maneuvering utility lines along the route. The altar and pews in the structure remained in place throughout.
This structure served the parish for several years, while the parish built their permanent worship space. The official dedication of the current church building was held in 1973.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s contemporary design was completed in 1974. The design features clear glass windows allowing God’s natural “stained glass” to shine into the building.
In 1992, the congregation designed and built a parish center, a familiar space for parish and community-wide events alike.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the building that houses Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Aurora. At press time, the parish was still deciding on possible anniversary celebrations. Call Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish at 330- 562-8519 or visit their website, www.olphaurora.org, for more information.