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So Cincinnati: Northside Church Still Bringing People Together After 150 Years
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- At noon Friday, Joe Ruter smiled as he heard the bells of St. Boniface ringing at noon.
Ruter was married at the Northside church. His great-grandparents, grandparents and parents worshipped here. He lives in Bright, Indiana and still drives to church here each Sunday.
I guess Northside never leaves you, Ruter told Local 12.
St. Boniface is celebrating its 150th birthday this year with a yearlong celebration.
I think it just adds a presence, says pastor Father Joe Robinson. The church bells ringing on Sunday morning just reminds people of Gods presence among them.
The old church sits in the middle of a quirky, free-spirited community known for its music scene and edgy night life. A 150-year old church hardly seems to fit here but if you look closely it does.
When St. Boniface was built, the neighborhood was known as Cumminsville. Northside was the north side of the tracks that split the community down the middle. Irish families lived south of the tracks. German families lived on the north side of the tracks.
Cumminsville originally had one parish, St. Aloyisus, founded in 1853.
10 years later, the Archdiocese split St. Aloyisius into two parishes: St. Boniface and St. Patrick. Why?
The official truth is that the church grew so much that they had to make two different parishes out of it, Father Robinson says with a smile. I wonder if the real truth is the Irish and the Germans just didnt get along real well and they divided it into an Irish church and a German church.
The two parishes remained apart for 130 years. During that time, Father Robinsons father grew up in St. Patricks parish and his mother in St. Bonifaces. In 1991, only a year after taking over as pastor at St. Boniface, the two rejoined under the same roof.
Its analogous to Northside, Northside volunteer Tim Jeckering told Local 12. In the same way that happened back then we have a neighborhood in Northside today and an openness and welcomeness to people of many different beliefs and origins. Diversity is the strong point of the neighborhood.
A place where the hip, edgy and sacred can all live together.
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