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Participants stroll streets of Massillon during annual Community Candlelight Walk

By Donna Smith/ correspondent Published: December 3, 2012
Saint Mary Catholic church was standing room only as the Washington High School chior sang and Father Gretchko was honored.

MASSILLON: The rain ended just in time as the streets of Massillon lit up for the holiday season. The 29th annual Community Candlelight Walk, a free event sponsored by the Massillon Area Chamber of Commerce, was held on Sunday evening.

The walk consisted of a trip down Fourth Street to visit eight churches offering musical entertainment and holiday decorations. The participating churches included: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Central Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist, St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, St. John United Church of Christ, St. George Greek Orthodox, and St. Mary Catholic Church.

Participants also enjoyed a nativity scene complete with live animals, sponsored by the Tree of Life Church.

"The lights and decorations are beautiful. I love to hear the music. It really gets me in the holiday spirit," said Massillon resident Inge Tavcar.

Tavcar has been attending this event for several years and looks forward to the walk, lights, and festive music. A native of Germany, Tavcar says this event reminds her of Christmas time in her country.

Another stop on the tour was the Massillon Woman's Club, which is on the National Registry of Historical Homes.

"This home was built in 1892 and was donated to the women of Massillon in 1924," said Dianne Day, Woman's Club Board of Trustees president. "We decorate every year," she said.

Each year, the Chamber and Candlelight Committee honor an individual who has made a difference in the community. This year, Rev. Ed Gretchko of St. Mary Catholic Church was recognized.

Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry addressed the large crowd in the church saying,

"It is my honor as the Mayor of Massillon to honor Father Ed Gretchko and to remind people to focus on the true meaning of the season, peace."

An active member in the Massillon community, Gretchko said he makes it a priority to open the doors of his church to provide help and comfort to residents.

The evening ended with a special performance by the Washington High School Choir at St. Mary Catholic Church.

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