A History of Notre Dame Parish

Notre Dame was established in 1960 with the first Mass held at the National Guard Armory on June 12, 1960. The school and auditorium opened (grade 1 through grade 3) on Sept. 11, 1961, with the first Mass in the auditorium a month later. The school was completed for grades K through 8 in Sept., 1963. Ground was broken for the New Church and Rectory on July 1, 1973 and the first Mass was celebrated on September 22, 1974. Msgr. Robert Schriefer is the founding Pastor, followed by Msgr. Edward Zeitler, Msgr. John Hagerty, Fr. Jeffrey Noble, and Fr. Richard Allen. The school completed an addition in 1998. 

The Previous Pastors of Notre Dame Parish

Msgr. Robert F. Schriefer

Pastor from 1960 – 1985

Msgr. Schriefer was our founding pastor, retiring to Naples, FL in 1985 after 23½ years at Notre Dame. He came to the then Hickory Township to start a parish in 1960. The first Mass of the parish was celebrated in the National Guard Armory in June 12, 1960 and then Mass was celebrated in the VFW. The auditorium was used for the first Mass on Sept. 11, 1961. The New Church was opened Sept. 22, 1974. Notre Dame grew from the first Mass of 123 parishioners to 850 families. Msgr. Schriefer was honored by Pope John Paul II as a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor). Born in Erie, PA June 24, 1918, Msgr. Schriefer went to Sacred Heart School and studied for the priesthood at Pontifical College Josephine (Coulmbus, Ohio). He was ordained on April 30, 1944 by Archbishop Giovanni Cicognani (Apostolic Delegate to the U.S. and then Sec. of State under Pope John XXIII & Paul VI.) He was assistant pastor at St. John the Baptist (1944-55) and taught at Cathedral Preparatory High School (Msgr. Jack Hagerty was one of his students). He was then assigned as pastor of St. Mary’s in Crown, Pa in 1955. Msgr. participated the theological update program at the North American College in Rome in 1977 and served as Diocesan Consulter to the Financial Committee in Erie. He was on the board of: Valley Human relations, Hickory Welfare, Mental Health and Counseling, Mercer Co. Child Welfare, was a charter member of the Shenango Valley Ministerial Group, and initiated the formal Diocesan renewal program. In Naples he assisted at St. William’s Parish (4 yrs. at St. Raphael’s) and was a Chaplain and member of Catholic Charities, Legatus, and Royal Palm Academy of Collier County. Msgr. Schriefer died in December, 2008; may he rest in peace.

Msgr. Edward J. Zeitler

Pastor from 1985 – 1997

Msgr. Edward Zeitler (“Msgr. Z”), a native of Erie, PA, was a graduate of St. John the Baptist Grade School, Cathedral Preparatory School and St. Mark Seminary in Erie. He was the son of the late George and Agnes (Keller) Zeitler. Msgr. Zeitler attended Gannon University in Erie and completed his priestly studies at Christ the King Seminary, St. Bonaventure, NY. He did post-graduate work in the field of campus ministry. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1958. His first assignment was at St. Bernard Parish, Bradford, in 1958. He then served as parochial vicar at St. Peter Cathedral, Erie, from 1959 to 1967 and at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Farrell, from 1967 to 1969. Between 1969 and 1979 he was parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish, Clarion, and served as the chaplain to the Neuman Center at Clarion State University. From 1979 – 1985 Msgr. Zeitler was pastor of Our Lady Queen of the Americas Parish, Conneaut Lake Pa. There he was President of the County Ministerial Association and Chaplain to the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus.

Msgr. Zeitler was named the second pastor of the Church of Notre Dame in Hermitage in 1985, a post he held for 12 years. While at Notre Dame he served on the board of Kennedy Catholic High School, Prince of Peace Center, Serra Club, and the Diocesan Marriage Encounter Team. During his pastorate at Notre Dame he was elevated to “Chaplain of His Holiness” by Pope John Paul II at a ceremony held by Bishop Donald Trautman at St. Peter Cathedral in Erie.

After leaving Notre Dame in 1997, Msgr. Z served as pastor of The Church of the Beloved Disciple, Grove City. He returned to serve as Senior Associate at Notre Dame in 2007, and after his official retirement in 2016, continued in residence at Notre Dame. Msgr. Zeitler died August 18, 2017; may he rest in peace.

Msgr. John B. Hagerty

Pastor from 1997 – 2005

Msgr. John B. Hagerty was born in Erie, Pa. He attended Cathedral Grade School, Cathedral Preparatory School, and Gannon University in Erie, Pa. He continued his education at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, MD., earning a BA degree in English and Philosophy, and then studied theology and did post-graduate work at Catholic University in Washington, DC, earning an MA in Sociology and Economics. He continued post-graduate education in workshops at The University of Pittsburgh, Georgetown University, and the University of Notre Dame. He began doctoral work in Education at Case-Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He was ordained to the Priesthood on May 19, 1955. He spent his first twenty-seven years of priesthood on assignment at high schools as a teacher and administrator: Cathedral Prep (where he served as Headmaster); Elk County Christian HS, St. Marys, PA; and St. Mark’s Seminary (Erie) as Dean of Studies, Vice Rector, and Rector. His first pastorate was at St. Joseph’s, Sharon; he subsequently was named pastor at Blessed Sacrament, Erie, St. Thomas the Apostle, Corry, and then Notre Dame Parish in Hermitage. He was a charter member of Priest’s Senate, a member of Presbyterial Council and Bishop’s Board of Consultors; member of Board of Trustees of Gannon U., Christ the King Seminary (East Aurora, NY), and St. Francis Seminary (Loretto, PA). He served on the Lake Shore Visitor board of directors, and as Director of transitional diaconate on-going studies. He was named Prelate of Honor (Right Rev. Msgr.) by Pope Paul VI in 1970. He was an avid golfer and perhaps the most fervent fan of the University of Notre Dame in the Diocese. In retirement he was in residence at Blessed Sacrament parish in Erie. Msgr. Hagerty died April 6, 2013; may he rest in peace.

Fr. Jeffery J. Noble

Pastor from 2005-2017

The Rev. Jeffery J. Noble was appointed pastor of the Church of Notre Dame on April 9, 2005. He was born in DuBois, the son of Roland J. and Margaret Nogacek Noble. Rev. Noble attended St. Catherine School, DuBois; St. Mark Seminary, Erie; and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He graduated in 1977 from St. Bonaventure University (N.Y.) with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and on May 11, 1985 with a master’s of divinity degree and a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology. (Prior to responding to God’s call at age 25, Fr. Jeff worked on his hometown newspaper, the DuBois Courier Express). Rev. Noble served as a deacon at Our Lady Queen of the Americas Church in Conneaut Lake, where he was parochial vicar from April 25, 1985 through March 3, 1987. He also was parochial vicar from Aug. 2, 1993 through Nov. 25, 1994 at Holy Rosary Church, Erie. He was administrator at St. Hippolyte Church in Guys Mills from Dec. 4, 1986 through Jan. 19, 1987, then served as pastor there from Nov. 25, 1994 through Oct. 1, 1996. He was weekend assistant Aug.2, 1993 at St. John the Baptist Church in Erie. Rev. Noble was vice chairman and then chairman from June 1, 1989 through Oct. 3, 1994 of the Presbyterial Council’s Diocesan Board. He also was elected to a five year term from June 30, 2004 through June 30, 2009, on the council coinciding with the appointment to serve Oct 15, 2004 through June 30, 2009 on the Bishop’s College of Consultors. From Aug. 3, 1998, through Dec. 31, 1999, he was the dean of the Oil City Deanery in Franklin. After leaving Notre Dame, Fr. Noble was assigned as pastor of Queen of the World Parish in St. Mary’s on Feb. 13, 2017, where he resides today.

Past Associates of Notre Dame Parish

  • Fr. David Foradori - Resident
  • Fr. Philp Oriole
  • Fr. Paul Siebert
  • Fr. Daniel E. Magraw - 1982 – ’87
  • Fr. John R. Hindman - 1987
  • Fr. Philip A. Pinczewski - 1987 – ’99
  • Fr. James Bird - 1999 – ’00
  • Fr. William Rice - 2000 – ’01
  • Fr. Jason Glover - 2001 – ’05
  • Fr . Richard Toohey - 2005 – ’07
  • Fr. Mark Hoffman - 2019

Past Deacons of Notre Dame Parish

  • Dennis Veltri - Seminarian Intern
  • Nick Rouch - Seminarian Intern
  • Matthew Kujawinski - Transitional Deacon
  • Jack Tupper - Permanent Deacon
  • Owen Wagner - Permanent Deacon
  • David Whiteford - Transitional Deacon
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