Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cleveland Mass Mob XXVII — Saint John Nepomucene

Cleveland Mass Mob XXVII
St. John Nepomucene
Pentecost Sunday
9 o'clock 20 May 2018
Fleet Avenue & East 50th

John Nepomucene is not easy for everyone to say, the Czech version is Jan Nepomuk. He is the patron of the seal of confession. John *c.1345, 1393† was thrown into the Vltava River (which runs through the capital city, Prague) by the order of the king, Wenceslaus IV[not the one in the carol]. Wenceslaus wanted to know the confession of his queen. This is why the iconography has John holding a finger to his lips. His feast day is the 16th of May. 

It is common when people have settled in America to have parishes named after national patrons. Irish parishes in towns and cities across the land have SS. Bridget, Patrick, Colman, Columbkille, Brendan, Malachy. Polish parishes have SS. Stanislaus, Casimir, Hedwig, Adalbert, Josaphat, Our Lady of Czestochowa. Hungarians named parishes after saints Elizabeth, and Stephen. Everyone names parishes after Mary, and often Saints Joseph, Peter and Paul.

Bohemia is the largest Czech province, and in Cleveland (and elsewhere) Bohemian was synonymous with Czech. The other two provinces are Moravia, and Silesia. The Czechs named parishes after SS. Wenceslaus, John Nepomuk, and Adalbert (some saints are patrons to more than one nation).

Cleveland has three remaining parishes founded by Czechs: St. John Nepomucene, and Our Lady of Lourdes (both in what was Newburgh, and now is called Slavic Village); and St. Adalbert (ClevelandMassMob III). Until recently, the west side had St. Procop, and Maple Heights had St. Wenceslaus. Earlier, there had been a St. Wenceslaus on Broadway. The highways took that parish, and St. Martin. Holy Family was also on the east side and closed in the 1990s.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cleveland Mass Mob XXVI — Saint Augustine

Cleveland Mass Mob XXVI  
 Saint Augustine
10 a.m. Sunday 15 April 2018
2486 West 14th Street
Cleveland Mass Mob has been asked to return for another season. We will first revisit Saint Augustine's. Saint Augustine's is well known for its Christian ministries to the poor.  The ten o'clock Mass will have American Sign Language. It must be remembered that each celebration of Mass is not an indistinguishable, interchangeable clone of every other Mass. Each parish has its own personality and chrism. If you have not participated at a Mass for the Deaf, you cannot appreciate its beauty, and sincerity.

The local press has for many years visited St. Augustine's dining room to show the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Saint Augustine feeds the hungry every day, and does many other acts of charity (remember 'charity' is another word for love of others). People need to eat more than twice a year, and St. Augustine always needs help. If you can aid, it will be welcomed.


Sunday, December 18, 2016


All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. — Ecclesiastes iii.1.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cleveland Mass Mob XXV — Saint Emeric

Cleveland Mass Mob XXV 
Saint Emeric
11 a.m. Sunday 13 November 2016
1860 West 22nd
stamp mural blessed by Josef Cardinal Mindszenty

The name 'Emeric' in Italian is 'Amerigo', in Spanish and Portuguese 'Américo', over time the new world became 'America'. Saint Emeric (Imre) is the west side Hungarian (Magyar) parish. The interior of the church is, perhaps, Cleveland's prettiest small Catholic church still extant (sadly St. Lawrence, its competitor in compact beauty is no longer).

Historically, it inherited some items from Cleveland's only French parish, Annunciation. Its current location involved a transfer of land with the Van Swerigen brothers, who were building a train terminal and train lines.

As a cultural center the parish houses Hungarians of all faiths in dance, scouts, and other organisations. This was the last parish to be closed (under protests and appeals), and the last one to re-open. St. Emeric's became an international cause célèbre in their ultimately successful struggle.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cleveland Mass Mob XXIV — Our Lady of Mount Carmel West

Cleveland Mass Mob XXIV
Our Lady of Mount Carmel West
5 p.m. Saturday 24 September 2016
West 70th & Detroit

Our Lady of Mount Carmel—West began as a mission of Saint Rocco’s parish, both Italian nationality. Our Lady had a chapel in 1926. In 1949, the present church was built. In 1966, Our Lady of Mount Carmel became a parish. Churches have different ranks, and they can change, and change back. Italian Mass is said in the parish. Some parishioners are Latin Americans. Both parishes are staffed by he Mercedarian order of priests. Both still have active grade schools, which has become a rarity.

September 24th is Our Lady of Mercy, Madonna della Misericordia, Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, the patroness of the Mercedarians who staff the parish. Three women will take the religious habit (early in the day).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cleveland Mass Mob XXIII — Saint Aloysius

Cleveland Mass Mob XXIII
Saint Aloysius
9.30 a.m. Sunday 21 August 2016
10932 St. Clair Avenue
St. Aloysius in Glenville began as a mission of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1898. Cleveland was expanding and annexed Glenville (and Collinwood) in 1910. The present church is the fifth building to convene the parish. This Italian renaissance basilica style church was erected in 1922. Inside there is so much to see in sacred art. It is one of the many churches worth seeing in Cleveland. If one likes Christian decorative arts, they will be favorably impressed.

Saint Agatha was a separate parish from 1945 to 1975. Saint Joseph Collinwood existed from 1877 to 1994. Nearby St. Philip Neri (begun 1914) was closed in 2008. Aloysius is the only Catholic parish in Glenville and West Collinwood. Demographics can change over the years. Glenville in the interwar period was a heavily Jewish neighborhood and had over twenty synagogues, some of those buildings have become churches. The neighborhood now is almost entirely African-American. St. Aloysius had been Irish. Later it was a favorite of  Bishop Clarence Issenmann, when his residence was in Bratenahl.

A parish is meant to endure through time, through generations. Membership has fluidity over time. Over the generations, a continuing new community arrives; sometimes with familial continuity, and sometimes with new introductions. A Sunday Mass at St. Aloysius is  a warm encounter. They understand that the 'sign of peace' is celebratory. It is a promenade of welcome done twice here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cleveland Mass Mob XXII — Saints Peter & Paul

Cleveland Mass Mob XXII
SS. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic
10 a.m. Sunday 19 June 2016 (Father's Day)
2280 West 7th Street

Now, there are 24 self-governing sister churches in the Catholic Church. All equal, all valid, all in communion with each other and the Pope. Most Catholics are in the Latin church of the West. There are 23 churches in the East, most with a similar Liturgy and tradition of the corresponding Orthodox, or Oriental church. So an Ukrainian Catholic service, will look like an Ukrainian Orthodox service.

Now, in the greater Cleveland area we have a Melkite Byzantine* church (St. Elias), a Romanian Byzantine Catholic eparchy (diocese) in Canton with a parish on W. 65th (St. Helena), and a Maronite† church (St. Maron). There are two eparchies in Parma, with several parishes in the area. There is the Ruthenian Byzantine (Cleveland Mass Mob VIII was at Holy Ghost), and the Ukrainian Greek* Catholic.

The first Ukrainian congregation (1902) and church (1910) in Cleveland is SS. Peter and Paul. This is the mother church to St. Mary (1952) now in Solon, St. Josaphat (1959) Cathedral in Parma, St. Andrew in Parma (1972), and Pokrova (the Protection of the Mother of God) in Parma (1973).

Saints Peter and Paul church looks small from the outside, but stunningly beautiful on the inside. To most it will be a surprise, an ecclesiastic jewel. Over the years, murals, and a stained glass window commemorating a millennium of Christianity has been added. Before 1956 the church had an onion dome, it is now a steeple.
*Byzantine and Greek are here synonymous
† Maronite has no corresponding church