Meet a man who has been important for local Catholic education for decades

The priest who has helped “strengthen and solidify” Catholic education for families and their children in the Middletown community recently was honored.

Father John Civille, 77, who this summer will begin his 25th year in Middletown and 52nd in the priesthood, was recognized during the national celebration of Catholic Schools Week. The Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Binzer served as Mass celebrant at Fenwick, and he was joined by concelebrant Civille, for whom the Mass was dedicated.

“Father Civille has been instrumental in supporting and helping Catholic education for decades,” said Blane Collison, principal at Bishop Fenwick High School.

Civille’s contributions to Catholic education span decades, institutions and locations. The Dayton native has spent his life in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Middletown area as a priest and educator.

“It’s a wonderful place to be,” Civille said when asked why he has spent nearly half of his career in Middletown. “It fits me. It’s very welcoming and it’s been an easy time for me. There are all kinds of people here and I like the variety. The people are very appreciative of what I do for them.”

He joked that the area also has several quality golf courses, and after back surgery, he hopes to one day shoot his age.

Upon his arrival to Middletown, he pioneered the consolidation of the three Middletown Catholic churches: St. John, Holy Trinity and St. Mary into the current day Holy Family Parish. He was a pinnacle figure in the final provisions to allow for the Bishop Fenwick High School campus on Ohio 122 to become a reality and allow the growth of St. John XXIII School.

Civille has always championed the children and parishioners of Middletown fulfilling the growing needs of Catholic education and his church.

“Children are our future and we have to invest in them,” said Civille, adding 40 percent of the revenue generated in the church is earmarked for Catholic schools.

Students in the Catholic educational system are taught the importance of faith and around an environment that stresses service to others, he said. He loves interacting with the students.

“Give and take,” he said with a laugh. “I try to treat them as adults, though they’re not, but also talk to them about responsibility and engage them.”

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