Friends of the Shrine History

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Due to dwindling attendance and the reappointment of the full-time director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch, in early 2005 Bishop John Kudrick, bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma -- which is the owner of the shrine -- suggested that a lay organization, the "Friends of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch," be formed to maintain the operation of the shrine.

A notice was put out for anyone interested to attend an organizational meeting, which was held at the shrine on April 16, 2005. Twenty-two people attended that first meeting. The following officers were elected: Steve Trudick, president; Bob Dirda Jr. , vice-presidents; Bob Burke, treasurer; and Lory Nemeth, secretary. Bishop John appointed Father Gary Francisko to provide pastoral ministry to the group.

The top priority of the "Friends" was to secure funds and personnel to keep the shrine open during its May-October season and to maintain the physical plant. Another priority was to plan the annual pilgrimage, which in 2005 marked the 50th anniversary of pilgrimage at the shrine. The organization also adopted a constitution, bylaws and developmental plan.

Since its inception in 2005, the Friends of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch have been busy increasing awareness of the shrine, scheduling activities as well as the annual pilgrimages, holding fundraisers for its support, maintaining the buildings and grounds, enlisting volunteers to help and making necessary improvements.

But much more needs to be done. Donations to keep the shrine a worthy place of veneration to the Mother of God, Our Lady of Mariapoch, are always welcome. The shrine is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.

Contributions can be mailed to:
Friends of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch
P.O. Box 560198
Macedonia OH 44056-0198