Generations of Erie Catholics Worship at Saint Peter Cathedral: Community Gems
The stained glass intricate ceiling, and a striking alter are a draw for Catholics across Erie County to attend or even just visit Saint Peter Cathedral
Reverend Michael Ferrick said, "There's a group of people who have the privilege of worshiping here everyday but literally the Cathedral is the mother church of the diocese it's the Bishops church."
For the past nine years Father Michael Ferrick has been the Rector, overseeing the daily operations at the Cathedral, a landmark that took 20 years to build, starting in 1873.
He says, if you think about it, it's the peoples [parishioners] sacrifice from 130 years ago that we're standing on today.
"Bishop Tobias Smollen who built the Cathedral was made fun of because everyone lived along the waterfront and this was considered the country and why would he build a church in the middle of nowhere," said Father Michael. "But he had the foresight that this would be the center of town eventually."
It's been the center of weddings and other sacraments in the Catholic faith. And even the place where many students worshiped from the now closed St. Peter Cathedral School.
Generations of Sheila Grove's family have been parishioners. She was baptized, and got married at the Cathedral where her three children also received their sacraments and attended elementary school.
She's taken on various roles over time at the church, most recently using social media to share masses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I streaming with my iPhone in march of 2020," said longtime parishioner Shelia Grove. "Father Michael and I would come here at 7:30 every morning and we would stream mass until we got some state of the art equipment."
That includes three cameras, and still everyday at least one mass is live streamed.
"We try to facilitate this place where people don't just gather for worship, although that's our most important reason to be here but to gather as a community too, as a family," said Grove. "We focus on education as well as socialization."
Big and small social events are held all throughout the year at the Cathedral, which is undergoing another restoration.
This restoration project currently has taken over 4 years. It's a several mission dollar project, and it is something a lot of people are already looking forward to, seeing its completion, with bookings for weddings already taking place starting in May.
"What we've done is literally gone through the entire Cathedral," said Father Michael. "Replaced and fixed the plaster, repainted, redone the floors, pews, led lighting, air conditioning, heating."
Updates, with hopes that more people will continue to enjoy this community gem.