As small groups of traditionally-minded Cleveland-area Catholics began assembling in the years following the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae, the logical progression of their endeavors would eventually become evident: not only would the next generation need the Mass of All Time, they would need the perennial teaching of Holy Mother Church. Children would need to be armed with the catechism as it had always been taught. Somehow, they would need to be provided with the religious instruction of which they had been robbed.
Thus, the early years of St. Peregrine Chapel saw not only the preservation of the Tridentine Mass but also the beginning of catechism programs for the growing numbers of children. With the increased presence of the Society of St. Pius X, these lessons between the Sunday Masses became more formalized, in no small part thanks to the direction of Mrs. Mary Alice Hoag.
Recognizing the continued need for Catholic community – so robust throughout Cleveland prior to the Second Vatican Council – the catechism programs at St. Peregrine Chapel eventually led to discussions about founding a traditionally-minded school. What was needed was that envisioned by the Society’s Statutes: “…schools really free from external constraint, so as to be able to give a thoroughly Christian education to the young…From these schools will come vocations and Christian homes.”
By 1999, the growth of St. Peregrine Chapel made it clear that a larger church would be necessary to accommodate the faithful. The increase in numbers was largely attributable to the quantity of families with young children, and those families naturally desired a school where their children could receive a Catholic education grounded in Tradition. Therefore, Fr. Helmuts Libietis set out to find a property that would serve these purposes.
A nine-acre parcel of land was identified in the quaint suburb of Richfield – rural, yet a stone’s throw from both Cleveland and Akron, and ideally situated at the intersection of multiple interstates. In a town known mostly for its famed Coliseum of yesteryear, these nine acres would permit the construction of the school, an eventual church, and even allow for future expansion. The site was purchased in Fall 2001 and immediately prepared for construction.
On April 1, 2002, with much festivity and an abundance of gratitude, the members of St. Peregrine Chapel convened at the new property in Richfield for the groundbreaking ceremony of the future Academy. The 4,500 square foot academy was completed in time for the start of the academic year in September 2002. Thanks to the generosity of parishioners who contributed thousands of man-hours of volunteer labor, the Academy building was able to be constructed far below market rate.
Since that first day over 20 years ago, the priests of St. Peregrine Academy have sought to recruit a staff of highly qualified teachers committed to Catholic education and formation. So many generous men and women have given their time and energy in service to the Church’s next generation. Their noble example has inspired scores of children and made a reality of what seemed unimaginable in the aftermath of Vatican II.
Dozens of children have graduated from the halls of St. Peregrine Academy over these two decades. Among their ranks number alumni in religion and various fields of discipline, who matriculate successfully thanks to the solid foundation built at their Alma Mater. By the grace of God and the generosity of those committed to Tradition, St. Peregrine Academy will continue to provide a nurturing atmosphere for Catholic education far into the future.