The history of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish starts in the mid 1950s, when young Catholic families began an era of tremendous expansion to the Milford area of Clermont County, Ohio.
St. Andrew Parish, established in the City of Milford in 853, grew during those post-war years, but could not expand its facilities because it is landlocked. The completion of the 1-275 beltway in the mid 1960s encouraged additional growth in the Milford area. It would soon be time for a new parish to form.
Fr. Otto Herman, who became pastor of St. Andrew Parish in 1947, began to search for land further east. In 1956 he found an available parcel of land on Buckwheat Road and purchased 13 acres. Under his direction, a six classroom school was completed in 1959. The school was given a new name, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton School, in honor of the soon-to-be canonized patron saint of parochial schools, the first American born saint, and the founder of the Sisters of Charity.
Shortly after the school opened in 1960, a cafeteria/multi-purpose room was added to facilitate the celebration of Mass for those St. Andrew parishioners located near the school. St. Andrew Parish continued to grow as Catholic families moved to the area. In 1964, Sunday Mass was celebrated for 2,100 parishioners, with 1,500 at the Main Street location, and 600 at the Buckwheat Road location.
By the mid 1970s, more and more of the population, including St. Andrew parishioners, had moved east of the 1-275 interstate. On October 1, 1976, Archbishop Joseph Bernardin established a new parish, with Fr. John Wenzel as pastor. The parish was named after the school, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
Worship services at the new St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish were held in the school until a new church could be built. On Thanksgiving Day in 1987, Fr. Thomas Dennemann, pastor of Seton, and other parish leaders, broke ground for a new church. Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk dedicated the new church on October 9, 1988. The Church seats approximately 525 people.
In 1994, the pastors at both St. Andrew and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parishes proposed the formation of a consolidated school, having one principal in charge of the two campuses. The new school combined grades K through 8 into one entity. The consolidated school received its Charter from the State of Ohio on April 11, 1995.
In 1994, Fr. Dennemann began a building campaign, which helped raise money for the construction of the new wing of the school, which included ten new classrooms, a gym, and the expansion of the cafeteria. This addition was completed and dedicated on September 22, 1996. This greatly increased the capacity of the school, and allowed for the expansion of the Seton preschool program.
From these humble beginnings, our parish continues to grow, now with over 1500 registered families, and over 45 ministries, activities, or services. With faith, hope, and love, we seek to continue the mission of the Church: the proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ for the conversion and salvation of the world through the truth of the Catholic Faith. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us in this effort here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
Father John Wenzel, S.J. - Pastor 1976 - 1980
In 1976, Fr. Wenzel moved into a small room attached to the multipurpose room of the school. He said Mass in
the multipurpose room called the cafeteria and immediately established a parish council, an education commission,
a worship commission, a Rosary Altar Society chapter, a youth group, and a Men of Seton group. The people were
excited about the new parish, and in 1979 a five-year planning committee was established to plan new building
projects including plans for building a church and a school library. Fr. John Jennings, a friend of Fr. Wenzel,
often came to Seton to celebrate additional Sunday Masses.
Fr. John was a very educated and spiritual pastor and was a personal help to many who needed financial assistance.
His homilies were full of spiritual wisdom that people seemed to appreciate. They respected his efforts to get
the parish started and his willingness to live simply first in a small room attached to the school and then in a
small mobile home placed next to what is now the new wing of the school.
Fr. Wenzel lived there for only a short time before he became seriously ill and in 1980 was forced to resign.
He died in 1983 after suffering a fatal stroke. A library, now the music room, located near the end of the old
school wing was completed in 1982 and is dedicated to him.
Father Paul Edrich - Pastor 1980 - 1985
Fr. Paul Edrich became pastor in 1980, and included in his skills of being a pastor were his skills in construction.
Fr. Paul was a master mechanic, carpenter and handyman. This was particularly important when the school boiler needed
maintenance and things were in need of repair. Fr. Paul, or "Red" as his friends called him, was skilled at being
a personal pastor and often gave financial support to people out of his own pocket. He loved animals, and his beloved
dog, Cowboy, a stray mutt he befriended, accompanied him as he made his nightly rounds in locking up the school.
Before his reassignment in 1985, Fr. Paul was able to complete the school library, put on a new school roof, and
"drain the swamp" that occupied the majority of the property to the right of and behind the school.
Under his leadership, the parish grew and the building planning commission continued to determine the feasibility
and planning of a new church. "Our Place to Worship" (OPTW) was the rallying cry and theme for a fund drive to
build the new church. During this period Fr. Edrich called several parish members together to establish a mission
statement for the document to be used in the fund drive. This mission statement was discussed and was issued after
approval by the parish council. The parish mission statement at that time reads as follows:
Our parish will work to bring Christ to all our members from the youngest to the oldest. We will minister to
the spiritual and corporal needs of our people, through our pastor, with the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit,
and using the resources of our parish. Also we will witness and reach out to all in our community with its many challenges
and needs, to evangelize, to heal, to nurture, to welcome and, in all of these to teach the Gospel of Christ,
the truth of God, and the salvation of faith.
The document went on to describe the general nature of the parish mission and attempted to unify the parishioners
around the need to build a church in addition to supporting the parish school. At the completion of six years as pastor,
Fr. Paul was transferred to another parish.
Father Edward Stolze - Pastor 1985 - 1986
In 1985, Fr. Ed Stolze was assigned as pastor and participated in the initial efforts of the OPTW fund drive for
the church. He was a master homilist and the parishioners will always remember his good humor and speaking skills.
He helped celebrate the 10th anniversary of the parish but was offered reassignment in 1986 for personal reasons.
Fr. Ed passed away in February of 2003 at age 56.
Father Thomas Dennemann - Pastor 1986 - 1998
In 1986 the parish was blessed with the assignment of a young energetic man whose personal charisma was immediate and
who made a lasting impact on all of the parishioners. As pastor, Fr. Tom Dennemann continued the work of the "Our Place
to Worship" fund drive and brought it to a successful conclusion with the erection of a church in 1987. Archbishop
Pilarczyk dedicated the new church in 1988.
By this time, there were 625 families registered in the parish and many more were expected now that the church was built.
When a house on the corner of Linden Creek Drive and Buckwheat Road became available in 1989, the parish bought and remodeled
it as a residence for the pastor.
During his time here Fr. Tom achieved many goals. A combined St. Andrew and St. Elizabeth Seton youth group that is without
equal in the area was created. The first parish business manager and DRE were hired and several new parish ministries
During these next few years three additional priests were asked to help with Sunday and weekday Masses.
Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer, Fr. Maurice DeLange and Fr. Harold Summer S.J. were often seen offering Sunday and
weekday masses at Seton. Fr. Jim also taught homiletics at the Athenaeum, Fr. Maurice taught High School
and Fr. Harold served at the Milford Retreat Center
When in 1994 there were 1,200 families registered in the parish, another building campaign was initiated,
"Our Time to Grow" (OTTG), which resulted in the construction of a new gymnasium and a new wing of ten classrooms
added to the old school. Unique to this parish was added an independent five-day preschool to complement
grades 1 to 5. There were also additional buildings and improvements made during this period, including
the addition of a large storage shed, an outdoor pavilion for picnics, significant enlargements of the
baseball, football and soccer fields located in the former "swamp" and a well-orchestrated church ground
Fr. Tom's enthusiasm and strong faith was catching and spoke loudly to everyone with whom he came in contact.
The large number of people coming into the church through the RCIA during these years was due primarily to his
contact with them in restaurants, stores, non-religious meetings and a host of other encounters. During his
pastorate, first Friday Eucharist Adoration was established. In 1997 the parish grew to 1,600 registered
families and was growing at a rate of twenty additional families per month.
During this time Fr. Joe Andres, a former pastor of other churches in the area, was persuaded to come out
of retirement to assist Fr. Tom in celebrating some of the Sunday and weekday Masses. Parishioners will
forever be grateful for the charm, and good humor of this man as he continually influenced and inspired both
young and old with his wonderful homilies.
In 1998, the archdiocese, under the rule that a pastor must be reassigned after twelve years, transferred
Fr. Tom to another parish. At this time, the archdiocese also put the plans for additional building of a parish
center and expansion of the church on hold due to lack of sufficient collections required to operate and maintain
the already expanded facilities. This put a heavy burden on the new pastor who was to follow him.
Father David Sunberg - Pastor 1999 - 2005
Fr. David Sunberg, the youngest pastor in the archdiocese, agreed to came to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish after
serving as a chaplain in the Army for three years. Prior to being a chaplain he was a former assistant pastor at
St. William's parish in Western Hills. As pastor, Fr. Dave has consistently strived to pay down the parish debt
and to ardently search for ways to better schedule and utilize the existing facilities for the ever-increasing
Under his leadership a full-time music minister and new business manager were hired. Sunday worship liturgy
was greatly enhanced with formation of adult and children's choirs, and the monthly Eucharistic Adoration was
expanded to a weekly Adoration. The parish website was established. As pastor, Fr. Dave initiated the effort to bring to the parish the Christ Renews His Parish program. He also directed his
energy to the increasing spiritual and temporal needs of the parish.
Father Michael Cordier - Pastor 2005 - Present
Fr. Michael Cordier became pastor in 2005. He was ordained a priest in 2002, and first served as an associate for three years at Guardian Angels parish in Mt. Washington.
During his time at Seton, numerous improvements have been made at Seton, building on what had been done by previous pastors. Several examples include adding the main crucifix in church, a new marquee at the Buckwheat Road entrance, and the financing and installation of a new roof over the old school wing and school cafeteria.
Taking advantage of an offer from the Archdiocese, a major fundraising campaign was begun by a committee of parishioners in the summer of 2007 to retire the parish debt. Over several years, good progress was made on reducing the parish debt even in the midst of a major economic slowdown in our country.
The parish stewardship committee was formed to help parishioners live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Parishioners were informed about parish ministries and invited to join one to help the parish live the Gospel. A yearly stewardship dinner was initiated to thank the leaders and staff of the parish.
During Fr. Cordier's time as pastor, Fr. Joe Andres, our beloved retired priest, took ill and died on February 2, 2009. A wonderful funeral was held with both Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and many priests and parishioners attending.