A family poses for a photo during the game.
A family poses for a photo during the game.
Home turf advantage might not have served the Blue Claws well after the minor league baseball team lost to the Asheville Tourists in a 9-3 game at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Lakewood on Aug. 20. But there was still a lot of positive energy flowing and smiles coming from the fans from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish who both enjoyed the game, and also one another’s company.

The evening marked a special occasion for the parishioners and clergy from the Lakewood parish as they came together for one of their first events since the new parish was established last July 1, not to mention a chance for them to safely attend a post-pandemic event together and in-person. Two bonuses at the game were that members of the parish music ministry, under the direction of Cori Scotti, sang the National Anthem, and Divine Word Father Guilherme Andrino, pastor, was invited to throw out the first ball before the start of the game.  

“I was moved to tears to see so many wonderful people at this event,” said Scotti. “It gives me hope for a bright future. As long as we work together and continue to use our voices as one, we will become one. We will be united.”

Acknowledging the great support the parish has received from Father Andrino since he was named pastor in July, Scotti said, “He sees a bright future and I feel he will continue to implement many great ideas.

"We work well together, share ideas, agree to disagree, and strive for the best for our community," she said. "He has been a strong advocate for all the ministries.” .

In having parishioners attend an event such as the baseball game, Father Andrino said it's his hope that they would “get to know each other more and work toward our parish becoming more unified.”

Father Andrino spoke of the diverse community that composes Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish that includes a strong presence of Hispanic Catholics and Polish Catholics. He explained that up until the merger that St. Mary of the Lake and St. Anthony Claret were two separate, vibrant parishes, but that the demographics over the years had shifted and the need to merge them resulted following a study conducted by the Diocese.

“This move is important” in that it allows the parish to better serve the Catholic population of Lakewood, he said.

Father Andrino admitted that mergers are never easy for parishioners “no matter which direction we take, a good amount of people get hurt and are disappointed.”

But with the newly formed Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, “We are working hard to let people know that we are here for them, that we are one family made up of many faces but have one heart," he said.

Noting that the parish has about 32 ministries, organizations and movements and serves eight area nursing homes; one hospital, and has a parish cemetery, Father Andrino said he’s pleased that following the merger, most of the parishioners chose to remain at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and that they “are trying to help us build a greater community.”