Our History

History of OLPH


Father James Ambrose Lane formed Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish June 10, 1918. The property, purchased by Bishop Schrembs, was located on River Road.

The first five pastors of OLPH – 1918 through 1981:

In 1920 there were 490 parishioners and 70 enrolled in the parish school, located in the basement of the pastor’s residence. The Ursuline Sisters were the teachers when in 1921, a new “portable” classroom had to be added. The parish continued to grow under the leadership of Father James Elder.

In 1930 Father Bernard P. Crane was assigned as pastor. For 38 years Father Crane led OLPH from a small building with “portable” buildings to become one of Toledo’s largest parishes.

From 1945 to 1950 the parish doubled in size from 1,600 to 3,212 parishioners. In 1946, he purchased a strip of land on the Anthony Wayne Trail (the newly filled in Miami-Erie Canal) and construction began in August 1949 with one building opening (the new school) in September, 1950. By the time the new school opened, ten Masses were said every Sunday. By 1952 the hall/cafeteria was completed and in 1956 Bishop George Rehring consented to the construction of St. Joseph’s Hall, along with the building of a new parish in South Toledo, to alleviate our overcrowded conditions.

The photo below shows the church’s interior during Mass in March of 1952. Click on the image to see a large version of the photo in a PDF document.

In 1969 Father Edward Mattimoe continued Father Crane’s legacy with the purchase of an additional rectory and Sister’s residence. Father Lawrence Devine came to OLPH in 1973 and the church underwent renovations to conform to the requirements of the Second Vatican Council. He also purchased the present rectory on Glynn Drive.

The 1935 photo above shows the Miami and Erie Canal winding through OLPH parish. The canal was filled between 1937 and 1940. A wooden bridge is visible at Glendale Avenue, and there were smaller bridges at Marengo and Sherwood.  The photo below is from 1978 and shows the same area, but in this image Glendale Avenue now crosses a fully operational Anthony Wayne Trail. (Photos were provided courtesy of the Toledo Blade).

Father Frank Crawford was named pastor in 1981, Father Robert Thomas in 1982, and Father Francis Speier was named pastor in 1985. The Sister’s residence was sold in 1985 and the Sherwood rectory was sold in 1989. On May 22, 1988, a permanent Adoration Chapel was dedicated. Since we were debt free, Bishop James Hoffman gave permission for a Building Fund Drive to provide another need for our parishioners. On December 3, 1989, the new Parish Activities Center, which includes a multi-purpose room, music room, two classrooms and parish offices, was dedicated.

In July of 1997 Rev Robert Wilhelm was appointed the ninth pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In July of 2005 Father Robert Reinhart was appointed the tenth pastor, and in 2011 Father Jim Brown became the 11th pastor.  We welcomed our 12th pastor, Father David Ritchie, in July of 2013.

Currently there are approximately 4,500 parishioners who share in worship, service and fellowship in the OLPH faith community, under the leadership of Father David Ritchie.

The Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

While in Mass, many OLPH parishioners have probably gazed at the wonderful Mary painting in the church.  The artist of the painting is unknown but the image is rich with Christian symbolism. Click here to open a PDF with the meaning of the symbols.