Friday, May 28, 2010

Cleveland shore to shore

St. Joseph seen from Lehigh University
An interesting turn of affairs occurred in the week. Monday morning I received a call from Bethlehem; Bethlehem of Pennsylvania near the Atlantic shore. A slovene parish had been closed. St. Joseph's had the ill fortune of laying betwixt an university and a casino. The casino had been built on the old steel mill. The caller advised me to get in touch with Franc Cardinal Rodé, and Boštjan Žekš, the Minister of Slovenes Living Abroad. Since the Pennsylvanians did not surrender about Allentown, the Clevelanders should hold strong. The bishop of Allentown [Edward Cullen, whose resignation was accepted a year ago to-day] was following the lennonist plan from Boston, when Cullen reduced parishes in 2008.
Minutes later, a telephone call came from the City of Angels on the Pacific coast of Alta California. A reporter of Pulitzer prospects would be on the south shore of Lake Erie past midweek. He had to be in Sandusky, but would drive into the Cleveland diocese.

Thursday there he was a-passing my house. I waved him back. He parked, and we met on the sidewalk cement. "So, why should you come more than half way across the country to find and talk to such an unimportant person such as myself?" He had seen my name in an article, and his boss thought there might be an article to be writ.

We had a fine far ranging conversation on religion, culture, history and the local situation. While in my house he called, and reached, the answering machines of "Baghdad" Bob Tayek, and Lennon. T'ere in me own kitchen, i heard the voice of the bishop, himself.
Fr. John Oman pastor of St. Lawrence 1915-62.
I showed him a few fotos that have appeared on this site, and some others. The one that interested him was a souvenir foto of the high altar of Saint Lawrence and, it's longest serving pastor, John J. Oman. From Minnesota's seminaries slovenes were sent to minister to other slovene-americans. Fr. Oman was to go east to Cleveland. He had first come to Saint Vitus in 1912. He became the third pastor of Saint Lawrence in 1915. His appointment lasted till his health failed in 1962.

Eucharistic Congresses were held in Ljubljana [1935] and Cleveland [1936]. Bishop Rožman and Father Oman became acquainted. The second world war intervened, with the expansion of communist tyranny to all of the states in the non-hellenic east of europe, and Rožman came to finish his days at Saint Lawrence. The parish had a bishop in residence for eleven years.
St. Casimir's great choir rose window
He also was impressed with some fotos of St. Casimir's. He went on to speak with friends from Casimir's, and Wendelin's in the late afternoon, and the early evening. He came to the feeling that from these three interviews, alone, there had been material for a story a week. I had suggested that we had been tugging, pushing and cajoling the local press from the beginning. He may have stories aplenty to write. As it stands now, we are an ace away form going national, "from the atlantical to the pacifican sea".

I had told a friend, in November, after the first prayer vigils of Saint Casimir-in-exile, that the story deserved to go national with the attention of a major paper, such as the Los Angeles Times, for they did do neighborhood parish stories, and then onto a national television broadcast. The story had to gather critical mass, and with greater frequency (shorter intervals) it would be like a snowball avalanching, or a cascading torrent. Rome would pay attention, and Lennon's stonewalling would fail only under constant barrage. The vox populi would be heard if the call of avanti popolo would take heart.

1 comment:

  1. Slovenians everywhere are supporting you!!!