Bishop Michael J. Ready established St. Andrew Parish on June 17, 1955. He appointed Fr. Michael Andrew “Andy” Nugent as the founding pastor. The initial parish boundaries were the Scioto River on the west, the Olentangy River on the east, Bethel Road on the north, and Swansea Drive, Ridgecliff Drive, and Zollinger Road on the south.
The parish began with 250 families. The parishioners gathered to worship at the old Fishinger Road School, which is now a part of Wellington Academy. In April of 1956, ground was broken on the present site near the corner of Reed and McCoy Roads for a church and a four-classroom school. The school was built under the church. This project was completed in time for the opening of school that September. There were 140 students and four teaching sisters from the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, PA.
During the 14-year pastorate of Fr. Nugent, who became Msgr. Nugent in 1992, the school expanded on both sides of the original building, and a wing was added that served as a cafeteria and social hall. A convent and a rectory were built within the first three years, as initially the sisters lived at 4040 Reed Road while Fr. Nugent lived at 1935 Fishinger Road. The parish flourished as the number of parish families increased to 1,200. Msgr. Nugent passed away on June 30, 2009 at the age of 92.
In 1969 Fr. Donald C. Schulz became the second pastor. During his 23-year tenure the parish grew in size and stature. Having served the country as a marine during WWII, Fr. Schulz was considered a formidable opponent in all avenues of life, especially on the golf course. His clever wit and humor was most noticeably displayed in the weekly bulletin. This, along with the reputation of saying Mass in a relatively short fashion, drew people from far and wide. He was affectionately titled “Kindly Pastor,” or just K.P.
During his pastorate, the school continued to expand with the building of a multi-purpose center and a media center in 1979. In 1988 the parish rectory/office was expanded on both sides to provide better accommodations. In 1991 a portion of the convent, which no longer housed the Sisters of St. Joseph, was renovated into an art room and a computer lab. In 1992, at the age of 70, Fr. Schulz’s term as pastor expired. Along with Msgr. Nugent, he also received the title of Monsignor in 1992. Msgr. Schulz continued in active ministry as Associate Pastor at Holy Spirit Parish for one year, and then retired and lived in residence at St. Aloysius, as well as at Mohun Hall. He passed away on May 28, 2011 at the age of 89.
Fr. Frank Lane succeeded Msgr. Schulz in July of 1992. He also received the title of Monsignor later that year, which affirmed both the quality of the parish and the distinctive leaders of the parish. Msgr. Lane was a noted scholar who was grounded in practical wisdom. By the time of his arrival, the parish had grown to 2,200 families and the demand for adequate space to serve the many activities of the parishioners was becoming more acute.
He organized a Facilities Committee to identify and evaluate the space needs of the parish. Through his leadership, the parish embarked on the most significant event of its life; the construction of a new church. The ground-breaking ceremony took place on March 17, 1996. This $6.6 million venture culminated on June 7, 1998 with the dedication of a new church by Bishop James Griffin. Msgr. Lane was present for this momentous event. However, in June of 1997 he relinquished the pastorate of St. Andrew’s to enter monastic life in Northern Ireland. Msgr. Lane returned to the Diocese of Columbus and retired as Pastor of St. Margaret of Cortona Parish in Columbus. Currently, he serves as Director of Spiritual Formation at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati.
Msgr. J. Colby Grimes was appointed the fourth pastor of St. Andrew Parish in July of 1997. He was a native son of the parish and was ordained to the priesthood here in 1978. Although Associate Pastor Fr. Thomas Buffer remained as the immediate supervisor of the building of the new church, Msgr. Grimes did oversee this project, as well as the renovation of the former church into school classroom space. Monsignor also began to liturgically update the parish in preparation for worshipping in the new church. Having helped the parish to move into this new era he completed his stay, and in November of 1998 was transferred to the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany.
Fr. Rodenfels became the fifth pastor was pastor for two years. In that time, he spearheaded the parish effort in the diocesan wide “Challenge in Changing Times” campaign. This campaign generated an additional $1.3 million in funds, half of which was returned to the parish. These funds were used for a number of parish projects, and the remainder was directed toward the reduction of the parish debt, which by the end of 2000 was $1.725 million. In October of 2000, Fr. Rodenfels took a leave of absence and shortly thereafter resigned as pastor. Today, Fr. Rodenfels is again serving as Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, succeeding Msgr. Grimes, who died on Good Friday, 2003.
In November of 2000, Bishop Griffin appointed Fr. Michael Watson, another former associate pastor, as the sixth pastor. Fr. Watson initiated significant community building events and activities within the parish, including a parish festival and a Master Plan Committee which has led to a Strategic Plan for the parish, and the parish wide RENEW program.
In 2005, the parish commemorated its 50th anniversary with a number of activities including a Mass celebrated by Bishop Campbell, retirement of the parish debt, and acquisition of the former Masonic Lodge on Reed Road, now called the Bryce Eck Activity Center. In 2006, this building underwent a major renovation and currently serves parishioners as a beautiful and hospitable space for activities, including senior activities, youth ministry, the St. Andrew Preschool as well as a myriad of special events for all parishioners to enjoy.
The desire to grow and thrive as a parish has continued into its second 50 years. After several years of strategic planning, assessment and prayer, St. Andrew Parish entered another era of growth and development. In 2010, the school cafeteria was completely renovated and in 2011, the hallways and restrooms adjacent to the cafeteria were updated to make these areas ADA compliant. These updates paved the way to what would ultimately become the St. Andrew Parish Capital Campaign, “Called to Be…A Distinctive Family of Faith.” Kicked off in 2013, this comprehensive, two-phased renovation plan addresses several areas of need within the school and parish, including: a complete renovation of the heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical and fire suppression systems; renovation of classrooms, administrative offices, corridors and restrooms; and a new multi-purpose room for school and parish use.
Also in 2013, Bishop Frederick Campbell appointed Msgr. Stephan J. Moloney as St. Andrew Parish’s seventh pastor. Msgr. Moloney grew up in Ada, OH, graduated from Ada High School in 1974 and in 1978, graduated with a B.A. from the Pontifical College Josephinum. Ordained in 1982, Msgr. Moloney has served parishes throughout central Ohio. In addition to serving parishes throughout the diocese, Monsignor has held numerous positions for the Diocese of Columbus, first as Vice Chancellor, Vicar for Spiritual Life, and ultimately, Chancellor and Vicar General, a position he continues to hold today.
Through the working of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the Infant of Prague, good things will happen that will enhance the life of the parish.