On December 1, 1866, one acre of ground was purchased for $100.00 by a group of eighteen German Catholic families, and became the holy ground on which St. Peter Catholic Church was erected in 1868. The cost of the original church was $1200.
For 30 years, St. Peter’s church remained a mission of St. Joseph church in Randolph. The two-room building provided one room for services, and the other for catechism classes, which were taught in German.
The first resident pastor, Father John J. Boyle (left), came to St. Peter’s in 1898 after a Rectory was built and the church was enlarged. The stained glass windows and stations of the cross were added between 1900 and 1910.
In June, 1941, Father Robert Delmerge was assigned to St. Peter. It was he who had the parish renamed “St. Peter of the Fields” to distinguish it from other Catholic churches in the Cleveland Diocese (the Youngstown Diocese of which St. Peter’s in now part was not established until May 1943).
Also under the direction of Father Delmerge, the St. Peter of the Fields Cemetery became a showplace of flowers and greenery that still contribute to the beautiful and serene environment.
In 2005, when the parish decided to build a new church, the old church building was slated for demolition, but was saved by a dedicated group of parishioners. In 2006, Fr. David Misbrener was appointed to serve the parish. He oversaw the completion of the new church that was begun by Fr. Kevin Fete. When the church was completed, the old building became a chapel and was re-christened “The Oratory.”
The new St. Peter of the Fields church is several times larger than the original building, and houses the sanctuary, parish office, social hall, and other facilities. The church offers a unique combination of traditional and contemporary religious art and an open worship space that are both inspirational and inviting.
Please visit the Photo Album page for a photo tour of St. Peter of the Fields.
Today, over 140 years after its beginning, the new and old St. Peter of the Fields Churches and Cemetery are still located in the original beautiful rural setting. The parish continues to grow as the population of the Rootstown and Brimfield area continues to expand and St. Peter’s continues to welcome new families into the parish.
*Photos from “Journey to St. Peter of the Fields” by Robert Winkler