In September of 1969, Father Robert Kline was assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Willoughby with instructions to found a new parish in the northern sections of Willoughby and Mentor.
Father Kline selected the name Saint John Vianney because it is the only parish in the state with that name and his father, his brother and all his previous pastors were named John.
Our first “home” was the then new Lake Elementary School where we attended Mass and our children were taught religion by dedicated parishioners. The first parish Mass was held December 8, 1969 in the multi–purpose room of Lake Elementary School
Early in 1970, two model homes were purchased on Lakeshore Boulevard, just west of Reynolds Road. One was to be the rectory, the other the Chapel and Administration Center.
A neighborhood Mass program was begun because for the first four months of our existence we had no chapel for daily Masses. Several liturgical firsts for our parish included: Opening of the Administration Center Chapel on March 6, 1970; Lay Distributors appointed on November 1, 1970; First Parish Eucharistic Devotion, March 7, 1971.
The permanent parish home was chosen to share a large parcel of Diocesan property on Bellflower Road with Lake Catholic High School. The high school opened its doors in the fall of1970 and a close relationship between the parish and school has existed ever since.
A Planning Commission formed in January, 1971 was responsible for the planning and construction of the parish buildings. In July, 1972 this commission met with John Lipaj of Lipaj, Woyer and Tomsik Architects, to determine the needs of our Parish. Groundbreaking for the Parish Center was held August 19, 1973. The first Masses were celebrated in the Parish Center on August 3, 1974.
Religion classes, then called CCD or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, were begun in the parish in October of 1970. First Holy Communion for our first CCD class was on May 1, 1971, on the stage of Lake Elementary School. Our first Confirmation class was confirmed by Bishop Clarence G. Issenmann on October 21, 1971.
The “Second Collection” youth group was formed in May of 1971. Open to high school students, the club combines social events with service to the Church and community.
Our Senior Citizens Club was organized June 18, 1972, for persons of 59 years plus. This Club provides varied activities for its members and an excellent opportunity to make lasting friendships.
All Saints of Saint John Vianney School opened its doors on August 27th, 1977, to 178 students in grades 1–4. By 1981, the school encompassed grades K–8.
In 1987, the Parish Social Center was built, providing much needed space for meetings and social activities.
On May 22, 1988, the Parish celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood of our Pastor, Father Robert Kline.
In September 1988, a pre-school program was established at All Saints School called “Little Saints.”
In 1991 we built a rectory on the parish grounds. The original rectory, one of the model homes purchase in 1970 when Fr. Kline started the parish, was sold. The soil from the rectory excavation site inspired the establishment of a Shrine to our Blessed Mother.
On January 15, 1998, Fr. Kline retired as founding pastor and Fr. Tom Johns became the second pastor of St. John Vianney
In June of 2002, a new church was completed. The new church seats over 1,000 people and is considered a masterpiece. The former church was renovated and now has meeting rooms, offices and a daily Mass Chapel.
St John Vianney celebrated its 50th Jubilee Year!
St. John Vianney is a strong and vibrant community that looks forward to many more exciting years of growth under the guidance of the Holy Spirit!