High Street landmark: Statue of Mary removed from Clintonville church for much-needed cleaning

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek
The 6-foot, 8-inch, 1,500-pound statue of Mary at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church is expected back by May 16 after being removed for cleaning.

Pedestrians and drivers along High Street will be glad to know that Mary is not missing or stolen – she’s just getting a bath. 

The 6-foot, 8-inch, 1,500-pound statue of Mary at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church was temporarily removed March 3 for much-needed cleaning. 

“(Staff and parishioners) had been noticing as we were driving that she was looking dirty,” parish business manager Angie Lee said. “And we figured if we were noticing, other people might be, too.” 

The Rev. Sean Dooley estimates the statue – a High Street landmark – has stood at High and Dominion Boulevard since the church relocated to its current site in the late 1960s. 

Adam Klimo and Dennis Clark, employees at Henninger’s Church Services, remove the statue of Mary for cleaning. The statue is expected to be back at Our Lady of Peach Catholic Church by May 16.

“This is probably the first time she’s been away,” Dooley said. 

He said the church held services in several locations, including the old Beechwold Theatre and a former funeral home on the west side of High Street near Deland Avenue, before settling at its current location. 

Henninger’s Church Services in Brook Park, a suburb of Cleveland, is doing the cleaning and restoration. Lee said the church is familiar with the company, having worked with and purchased other items from Henninger’s in the past. 

“We have a very competent maintenance staff,” Dooley said. “But the statue is made of sandstone, so we didn’t want to risk damaging her with chemicals or a power washer. We’ve worked with Henninger’s before and we trust them to take good care of her.” 

“We have an ongoing relationship with (Henninger’s), and we know they do restoration so it was an easy decision, based on their expertise,” Lee said. 

Our Lady of Peace is marking its 75th anniversary as a parish this year and refurbishing the statue of Mary seemed one additional way to mark the occasion, Dooley said. Church officials hope to have the work completed and the statue reinstalled by May 16 for events dedicated to Mary on the church calendar.

Dooley said the congregation hopes the community and not just members of the parish will participate. 

“Having that statue on High Street serves as a reminder for the neighborhood and the city that God is present in the craziness and busy-ness of our lives,” Dooley said. “As a church, we proclaim the Gospel message and everyone is welcome to experience that.” 

He said the church appreciates that the statue is a notable presence in the neighborhood. 

“We’re also grateful to be part of the beautiful community of Clintonville, and we want to make sure our campus is contributing to that beauty,” he said. 

Ultimately, though, the statue’s message is not only in its beauty. 

“We’re not a museum,” Dooley said. “The church is a living reality in the world.” 

For updates on the restoration and events marking the 75th anniversary of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, visit olp-parish.com.

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