Learn more about the St. Vitus Parish staff.



Rev. John C. Retar
Pastor, St. Vitus, July 1, 2021 – Present
Ordained on May 17, 2003, Diocese of Cleveland (by Bishop Anthony Pilla)

About Fr. Retar

Rev. John C. Retar was appointed as the seventh pastor of St. Vitus Parish, effective July 1, 2021.

His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Berea, Ohio from 2003-2007 and associate pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, Mentor, Ohio, 2007-2010. In August 2010, he was installed as pastor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Lorain, Oh., a merged parish of three former Lorain Catholic parishes: Ss. Cyril & Methodius (Slovenian), St. Vitus (Croatian) and St. John Baptist (Spanish). For the past two years or so he was also the parish administrator of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Elyria Township, Ohio.

Fr. Retar is the son of the late John A. Sr. and Laura (nee Fox). His father was a WWII US Army Veteran who served in the 13th Armored Division. He is the brother of Jeffery (Kimberlee) and the late Brian (Kristen) and nephew of Mary Yuhas (late John). Fr. Retar was employed in private industry as a purchasing agent prior to deciding to enter the seminary. Fr. Retar is also a member of St. Anne Lodge #4 AMLA.


Sister Mary Avsec, S.N.D.

Previously a teacher at various schools in the diocese of Cleveland, Sister Avsec is a Pastoral Minister at St. Vitus, serving parish needs such as seniors, liturgical, and outreach. She is also part of The Sisters of Notre Dame (Chardon, OH), a religious women’s order with ministry in education.


Joanne Celestina

Joanne has been a parish secretary since 2019. She is an active member of the St. Vitus 9 AM Choir as well as one of the founding members of the St. Vitus Christmas Concert Choir.

Marge Kuhar

Marge has been a secretary of the parish since 1993, responding to parishioner inquiries, helping organize and contribute to parish events, and consistently producing the weekly bulletin in that time. Prior to her work at St. Vitus, Marge was the secretary at a local doctor’s office.

Betty Svekric

Betty is the parish’s Saturday secretary and is actively involved in our food bank program as lead coordinator. Previously, Betty was a member and officer of the Mother’s Club, a member of the Summer and Fall Parish Committees, and has served on the pastoral council. Betty has also worked in the insurance and banking industries.


Stane Kuhar

Mr. Kuhar is the Parish Finance Director. He has been employed at St. Vitus Parish since February 2003. He was previously employed at a financial institution in northeast Ohio for 26 years. He was employed in bank operations, corporate banking, retail banking, and small business credit underwriting. He passed a national exam and certified as a Para-Financial Planner from the College of Financial Planning. He graduated Cum Laude from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a Minor in Business.  


Joseph V. Hocevar

Joe graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from John Carroll University, and served as a Cost Accountant at various manufacturing companies in northeast Ohio. He is actively involved in parish organizations and fraternal benefit societies, primarily the American Slovenian Catholic Union (KSKJ) as a National Board of Director.


Rudy Sterk

A graduate from John Carroll University, Rudy became a teacher and also worked with young individuals with behavioral problems. Since its opening in 2000, Rudy has served as the manager of St. Vitus Village, an independent seniors living facility operated by St. Vitus Development Corp. Visit our Parish Grounds page to learn more about the village.


John F. Srsen

Mr. Srsen has lead the music of St. Vitus as choir master for the 9 AM Choir since 1977. He also teaches music for the Saturday Slovenian School.
He is also the music director for Pevski Zbor Korotan and Fantje na Vasi in Cleveland, Ohio.


John V. Srsen

Mr. Srsen is the organist and choral director for LIRA, the parish choir at the weekly 10:30AM Sunday Mass. Individuals interested in joining LIRA should contact the parish rectory at (216) 361-1444.