One morning, in late September, two parishes were closed in Lorain. That morning the bishop was greeted by organised protesters; many (Endangered Catholics), of the same, had been keeping a late Wednesday afternoon vigil in front of the cathedral. Mid-week, later, an announcement was made that another [SS. Cyril & Methodius] would close four and a half months earlier than previously announced.
Saint Stanislaus, Lorain 27 September 2009
To-morrow will end St. George (Lithuanian) Cleveland. It will fold into another Lithuanian parish, outside its stated cluster, and the new parish will take the name of a parish that is being suppressed November 8th, Saint Casimir. Saint Ladislaus, Lorain 27 September 2009
04 26 09 -- Holy Cross (Polish) Elyria
05 24 09 -- Epiphany (African-American) Cleveland
06 14 09 -- SS. Cyril & Methodius (Slovak) Barberton
06 21 09 -- Christ the King, East Cleveland
06 28 09 -- Sacred Heart of Jesus (Hungarian) Elyria
08 30 09 -- St. Procop (Czech) Cleveland
09 19 09 -- St. Hyacinth (Polish) Cleveland
09 26 09 -- St. Hedwig (Polish) Akron
09 27 09 -- St. Stanislaus (Polish) Lorain
09 27 09 -- St. Ladislaus (Hungarian) Lorain
10 04 09 -- St. Francis (German) Cleveland
10 04 09 -- SS. Cyril & Methodius (Slovene) Lorain [date expedited]
During this time Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and Saint Colman (Irish) have had reprieves, and St. Stephen is added conditionally. A few parishes have received letters from Rome, and I believe, the bishop has just returned from Rome. Certainly Rome had questions.
At one time the figure 52*** was made, and some were to be determined. A few parishes were shuttered leading up to the announcement. The final count is not known, while individual parishes may have closing dates, the public is not aware of them as a whole, nor can anyone be certain if the dates are truly fixed. Why did Cyril & Methodius, Lorain receive such short shrift immediately after the closings of Stanislaus, and Ladislaus? It was a bit of a scandal that the sale of the campus of St. Stanislaus was advertised before the closing, and that the asking price was less than the remodel cost of the church eight years prior. Some of the portable sacred art had already been sold.
The Cleveland media has occasionally flared in interest, but has not kept a tally or list. The Akron, Lorain and Elyria papers have been more consistently thorough, though they have less to canvass.
The diocese of Cleveland consists of eight counties. Three have been affected. On the most part, the ethnic and more urban rustbelt has been targeted. Some parishioners are still upset about the initial discussion process. Pointless meetings were attended to discuss clustering and sharing resources, and a point was made that geography would not be a limiting parameter. It turned out geography was, and clustering meant reduction and extinction. The homogenised parishes of the suburban sprawl were safe. One size fits all was good, particularity, tradition and character--not so much. And the negotiating to reduce was often political and unpleasant, akin to the rubbish of "reality tv" tactics. Some people have made their peace with the grief, others have decidedly not.
Which parishes were sacrificed and why? Finances mattered, but strangely. Small, solvent, parishes were not free from closure, 'closed' parishes would revert their accounts to the diocese. Fund raising campaigns were encouraged after reprieves, especially for the diocesan treasury. Some details were more consequential. Parishes without full time pastors were endangered. Parishes with aged pastors were endangered. Smaller parishes were endangered, but not absolutely. The press and the public accepted american business rationale, while ignoring christian sentiment and catholic canon law. Demographics mattered, sentiment was absent.
I spoke with a friend, this morning (10-17), he tells me Christ the King, East Cleveland is closed. I looked at this page to confirm. St. Francis is probably the twelfth.†
Also the following parishes were extinguished during the current ordinary's episcopate :
10 28 06 Assumption of Mary (Polish) Grafton, chapel use to 2010
11 12 06 St. Jude, Warrensville Hts.
09 02 07 Holy Trinity (Hungarian) Barberton
10 28 07 St. Wenceslas (Czech) Maple Hts.
12 30 07 St. Henry, Cleveland (African-American)
12 30 07 St. Catherine, Cleveland (African-American)
05 27 08 St. Philip Neri, Cleveland
06 02 08 St. Andrew Svorad (Slovak) Cleveland
10 25 08 St. George, Clinton
Updates: These are the next targeted (list is not confirmed for totality, and is subject to change, and has been changed; an attempt for scrupulous accuracy has been made, but total accuracy is not possible without information from the chancery):
- 10 18 09 St. George (Lithuanian) Cleveland [suppressed‡]
- 10 31 09 St. John the Baptist (Slovak) Akron [suppressed§ after attempted vigil] Vatican appeal pending
- 11 01 09 St. Margaret of Hungary (Hungarian) Orange [suppressed after attempted vigil]
- 11 0? 09 Community of St. Malachi [suppressed]
- 11 08 09 St. Casimir (Polish) Cleveland [suppressed after congregation's display of contempt] Vatican appeal pending
- 11 14 09 Holy Trinity, Bedford Hts. [suppressed]
- 11 15 09 St. Mary, Bedford [suppressed after congregation's display of contempt] Vatican appeal pending
- 11 21 09 St. Paul, Euclid [suppressed]
- 11 28 09 Christ the King (Croat) Akron [suppressed]
- 12 13 09 Holy Trinity (Slovak) Lorain [suppressed, again many left, to applause, at beginning of homily]
- 12 20 09 [recently expedited] St. Vitus (Croat) Lorain [suppressed]
- 12 27 09 St. Robert Bellarmine, Euclid [suppressed]
In the new year to come these churches and parishes:
01 09 10 St. Louis, Cleveland Heights
01 17 10 St. Hedwig (Polish) Lakewood01 24 10 Sacred Heart of Jesus (Hungarian) Akron
02 13 10 St. Christine, Euclid
03 07 10 St. Joseph (German) Lorain
03 14 10 St. Rose, Cleveland
04 10 10 Blessed Sacrament, Cleveland
04 11 10 St. Peter (German) Cleveland Vatican appeal pending
04 17 10 Corpus Christi (Polish) Cleveland
04 25 10 St. Cecilia (African-American) Cleveland
05 02 10 Sacred Heart of Jesus (Polish) Cleveland
05 03 10 SS. Philip & James, Cleveland
05 09 10 St. Barbara (Polish) Cleveland Vatican appeal pending
05 09 10 Our Lady of Mercy (Slovak) Cleveland
05 16 10 Assumption of Mary, Brook Park
05 23 10 St. Wendelin (Slovak) Cleveland Vatican appeal pending
05 30 10 Annunciation, Cleveland
05 30 10 St. Patrick, Cleveland Vatican appeal pending
06 06 10 St. Adalbert (Czech, African-American) Cleveland Vatican appeal pending
06 12 10 St. Margaret Mary, South Euclid Vatican appeal pending
06 20 10 St. Lawrence (Slovene) Cleveland
06 20 10 Our Lady of Mount Carmel -- East, (Italian) Cleveland||
06 26 10 St. James, Lakewood Vatican appeal pending
06 27 10 St. Mary, Akron Vatican appeal pending
06 30 10 St. Emeric (Hungarian) Cleveland Vatican appeal pending
*As of 11 22 09, it seems that in the first 5 year plan in Lennongrad will see 55 churches extinguished.
*As of document confirmation on 4 23 10 ― 56 churches to be extinguished.
*Postscriptum 13 July 2010: There has been an attempt to be complete, but from the outside all is not known. Certainly, people involved with certain parishes will know more. A curious situation regards Grafton. Assumption of Mary (Polish) was merged with Immaculate Conception in October 2006, and Masses were continued to be said at both. The new church building began March 2009 and opened in April 2010. This was early in Lennon's reign, this may well have been planned before his arrival. The new church opened in the spring of 2010 ― 57 churches to be extinguished.
†Since dates have been found, the initial lists contain the missing Francis and Christ the King.
‡Suppression is an extinction of a parish. Its records, and property, and money revert to the diocese. Some of these listed are technically 'mergers', where the parishes join into a new identity and share their resources, but in reality the one parish survives with some new paperwork and the other(s) are practically suppressed (extinguished). In this regard, this list will count parishes, that no longer have the Sacraments available, as suppressed.
§ Now technically, it was to have been a 'merger'. I contend a 'merger' is a disguised 'suppression'. Bishop Lennon has brought suit in Summit County court against those whom attempted a 'vigil' (sit down occupation). In those papers the term his attorneys used was "suppression". Update: There was a counter suit. Those suits have been mutually dismissed, and the Attorney General of Ohio's office is looking at the case.
CODA: It is apparent that many of the suppressed are ethnic parishes. An honest and sentient individual must say that they were expendable because of episcopal disfavor and distaste for ethnic parishes, and of course this was not publicly admitted. Nor was it admitted, that, the stated rationale and criteria corresponded only vaguely with the parishes selected. The large elephant in the diocese is that money was wanted to pay for the cost of previous scandals, and some of these parishes are resource rich.
|| Nota Bene: When this would ever be publicly announced is mysterious.
Postscriptum II: As of 13 July 2010, it seems that fourteen parishes are having their appeals extended to (at least) 30 November 2010. It is still possible some of Lennon's damage maybe corrected.
Postscriptum III 3August 2010: It should also be noted that the Community of Saint Malachi had been an independent parish since 1975. In November 2009 it was merged into Saint Malachi. To count that, we have 58 closures. I did not previously allude to it, since it was an uniquity, and though real and existing in its members, it shared the same space with the Parish of St. Malachi. Also the Conversion of St. Paul has changed status from parish to shrine. It is also to be noted that the base figure for parishes has changed from 231 to 224, in the last two years, without acknowledgment, but that was when 45 parishes were to be closed. So as one number is increased, another is decreased. Here there has been a scrupulous attempt to name and list the parishes affected. In the diocesan August memorandum incomplete lists were given.****Postscriptum IV 8 January 2012: A diocesan document dump, to-day, admits to 14 parishes appealing. In reading several different pages, 13 were ascertained. In addition to those noted above, St. Martha's Akron is under appeal, it is currently open as part of one of the two mergers Lennon has named 'Blessed Trinity'. Also confirmed were St. Margaret Mary South Euclid, and St. John the Baptist Akron [both have been listed, briefly at times here, and removed when confirmation was not had]. The 14th is St. Mary's Lorain (which is also open).****Postscriptum V 13 May 2012: On April 17 Lennon released 12 parishes. see
****Postscriptum VI 29 May 2013: Eleven appeals to return to public access were accepted by Rome, and those parishes are publicly operating. The decrees were dated 1 March 2012, and were made public a week thereafter. The appeal for St. Margaret Mary has not been made public. The diocese of Cleveland will not return an answer.