The parish was officially established on August 1, 1958. St. Hilary was carved from its mother parish, St. Sebastian, to serve the needs of a growing population expanding west of Akron in the 1950’s. Our parish was born inside Copley Township, but within two years, found its property inside newly created Fairlawn Village. As Fairlawn grew, so did St. Hilary.
Father Edward M. Horning was named the founding Pastor and it was with 325 families that the new parish was formed. Father Horning proved to be an able administrator who followed the mandates of Vatican II to the letter. He led the parish through those changes for more than two decades until his retirement on his 70th birthday in 1981.
During the initial development of the 10-acre site on West Market Street, the sacraments were celebrated at St. Sebastian’s recreation center. Monsignor Hilary Zwisler, pastor of St. Sebastian, and Father Horning broke the ground for a combined church and school on June 10, 1959. The first Mass was celebrated in the school’s gymnasium on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960.
The new “church” was soon to become the grade school’s gymnasium and cafeteria the other six days of the week. St. Hilary School opened its doors to 270 students in grades one through eight on September 5, 1960. Five Akron Dominican sisters from Our Lady of the Elms staffed the school.
With the growth of St. Hilary parish and its surrounding communities, it soon became apparent that a larger worship space was needed. Ground was broken in June of 1965 for the new church.