St. Susanna was chosen for the patroness of the parish as a way of honoring Susanna Hinkle. Mrs. Hinkle, a convert to Catholicism, was a benefactor of many religious institutions in the Cincinnati area, including Xavier University and the Summit Country Day School. Her generous financial support enabled the Catholics of Mason to see a dream come true in the establishment of their own parish.
When our parish school opened in 1948, students were taught by two Sisters of Notre Dame. It was not until Mrs. Helen Sherman became the first lay principal in 1980 that a thirty-two year parish association with the Sisters of Notre Dame ended.
Throughout our parish history, the community of St. Susanna has been blessed with a total of 14 pastors. So, who has served our parish the longest as pastor? Well, that’s our beloved Pastor Emeritus, Fr. Harry Meyer, who retired in 2005 after serving our parish for 16 years.
- St. Susanna was first granted permission to celebrate an evening Mass on Holy days in 1953.
- In 1960, St. Susanna was granted permission to deviate from Archdiocesan policy and allow a recording of bells to be played from the bell tower instead of real bells. This was possible because the church was a temporary one, not expected to be used for very long.
- In the early 1960s, schools throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati were experiencing overcrowding. In 1963, St. Susanna Parish School followed the Archdiocese recommendation to eliminate their first grade class. First grade was offered once again in 1972.
In fact, the Parish Festival did not return until 1977.
Vatican II brought sweeping reforms to the Roman Catholic Church many of which were felt here at St. Susanna. Vatican II’s emphasis on the role of the laity is seen first-hand at St. Susanna when Mrs. Eileen Lipps was hired in the summer of 1976 to become the first Director of Religious Education (D.R.E.). In October, 1976, Deacon Robert Marcotte began to serve the parish as our first deacon. This was the beginning of many changes that would affect the parish in the next decade. Parish Council and the Education Commission would be revamped to bring them into line with Vatican II recommendations. Many parish commissions began to take form. The youth group was reorganized.
- April 1938 is when St. Susanna held its first Mass and dedication.
- St. Susanna’s first worship space was the little white chapel located on Reading Road right next to the current parish office. This first worship space had a seating capacity of 120 and cost the parish $15,000.
- Our second church had a seating capacity of 525 people.
- The seating capacity of our third church was 750 people.
- That means that our fourth (and current) church which seats 1500 could have comfortably seated all of the worshippers from the first three parish churches COMBINED.
Only time will tell. But as we honor our parish history and the parishioners who have helped to build our parish in to the vibrant community it is today, we continue to experience dynamic parish growth – both in spirit and numbers. Fr. Barry Stechschulte is now the pastor of St. Susanna and is shepherding the mission and vision of St. Susanna Parish.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of our St. Susanna family. It is here that we experience your love and mercy. As we journey together, help us to appreciate each other and respect our unique giftedness. Pour out your grace and healing power on each of us. In a special way, we pray for our parish priests, staff, and all who volunteer to bring Your love to us. Bless each member of this parish. Heal our brokenness and keep us safe from every evil - especially from those things that cause division or separation. Through the intercession of Mary, St. Susanna and all the angels and saints, may we grow in holiness and fulfill Your loving plan for our parish. May all that we do be for Your honor and glory.