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St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th anniversary

News of the Diocese

August 17, 2023

St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary
St. Ladislas celebrates Father Mark Latcovich’s pastor installation, 50th  anniversary

There was plenty to celebrate at St. Ladislas Parish in Westlake on Aug. 13 as Bishop Edward Malesic installed Father Mark Latcovich as the parish’s third pastor. It also marked the 50th anniversary of the parish, which was relocated from Cleveland to Westlake in 1973. Parishioners and guests celebrated both events with a picnic lunch under large tents in the parking lot or in Cullen Hall. The festivities also included music, games and of course, birthday cake.

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough, a 45-year St. Ladislas parishioner, proclaimed Aug. 13 St. Ladislas Day and Father Don Snyder Day. Father Snyder retired in June after serving 26 years as the parish’s second pastor.

(See the photo gallery above.)

“I am proclaiming Aug. 14 as Father Mark Latcovich Day in Westlake in honor of his installation as the third pastor,” Clough said before Mass.

“This is a great day because it’s the Lord’s day. It’s a good day to stop and relax,” Bishop Malesic said. He thanked Archbishop Timothy Broglio, a Cleveland native who is archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost and more than a dozen priests who concelebrated the Mass. Some of the priests worked with or were students of Father Latcovich during his years as a professor and president/rector of the diocesan seminaries. Others were pastors of nearby parishes.

The bishop also pointed out parishioner and seminarian Noah Furin who was a server for the liturgy.

After introducing Father Latcovich as the new pastor, Bishop Malesic asked members of the parish staff, parish council and finance council to stand. Father Latcovich greeted them and promised to seek and follow their counsel and advice in his pastoral work. He signed the paperwork making his new position official prior to Mass.

Bishop Malesic told the congregation that he asks the new pastor to preach at the installation Mass. “I do lots of preaching in my job and I need to be nurtured. I also like to hear what I’m giving you,” he quipped.

In his homily, Father Latcovich mentioned a few highlights of the parish history, noting the challenges facing Father Thomas Cullen, the first pastor of the relocated parish. St. Ladislas was established in 1885 and after a fire destroyed the church on Aug. 8, 1970, the decision was made to relocate St. Ladislas to Westlake.

“Pastors of the nearby churches – St. Bernadette (Westlake), St. Raphael (Bay Village), Holy Trinity (Avon) and St. Richard (North Olmsted) had a meeting to get the baby born,” Father Latcovich said. He thanked priests from many of those churches who were concelebrants for their support. He also asked any original parishioners to stand and be recognized and he thanked Father Snyder for years of dedication to the parish.

“I am grateful to the people here who embraced their baptismal promises. They were asked to venture out of their comfort zone, sometimes into stormy seas, to feed the poor, care for the elderly in nursing homes, educate the young and teach about the sacraments. Without this, where would we be today?” he asked.

Father Latcovich said they follow Jesus like Peter did. “We are good when we follow him, but if we look away, like Peter did on the stormy sea, he plunged into the deep and started to drown. He called for Jesus to save him and then fell into his arms. And Jesus said, ‘Oh, you of little faith. Why did you doubt?’ Over the years, I’ve had my doubts, too, but Jesus has always sustained me. Thanks to others from these communities of faith who have also sustained me and are here today to support me,” he said.

“Friends, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He will sustain you. He is our safety net.”

Father Latcovich said he would rely on that support as the parish moves forward with a series of listening sessions to chart its future. “As we move forward, let us have courage, hope and our eyes fixed on Jesus.” After the homily, he asked the congregation to recite the parish anniversary prayer.

Friends of Jesus, a group of adults with disabilities, led the closing song.

And Bishop Malesic offered some additional remarks before the final blessing, noting the purpose of a parish is to worship, evangelize and serve. “I gave you a great seminary rector to be your new pastor. He is no slouch, so don’t break him,” the bishop quipped. He said since Father Latcovich learned of his new assignment, he’s had a big smile on his face. “There’s also been a big smile on Father Snyder’s face since his retirement,” he added.

The bishop reminded the congregation that there always is a need for good, holy priests and he encouraged them to listen and see if perhaps they were being called. There also is a need for more people for the priests to serve.

“We have to go out and share the good news that Jesus came to us, suffered, died and rose from the dead to save us,” he added.

Here is a recap of the parish history that was presented prior to Mass.

St. Ladislas was established in 1885 as the first parish in the Diocese of Cleveland to serve the Slovak population. A church was built at East 92nd Street and Holton Avenue in Cleveland and the parish grew rapidly. It was split in 1894 when St. Martin of Tours was established to serve the Slovaks living downtown. Shifts in population during the 1950s and 1960s caused a decline in the parish census and closure of its school in 1967.

The church was destroyed by fire in the early morning of Aug. 8, 1970. Three years later, the decision was made to relocate St. Ladislas to Westlake. Land was purchased on Bassett Road and in order to secure insurance money from the fire, construction had to be underway by Sept. 1, 1973. The relocated, territorial parish initially consisted of about 500 families from the following existing parishes in adjacent communities: Holy Trinity, Avon; St. Bernadette, Westlake; St. Richard, North Olmsted; and St. Raphael, Bay Village. Priests from several of those parishes were among the concelebrants for the Aug. 13 Mass.

Father Thomas Cullen served as first pastor of the relocated parish from 1973 to 1996.

A parish center was constructed in 1992, a parish office wing in 2007 and in 2004, the church interior was renovated.

Parishioners are proud of the stained-glass Marian window from the old church that escaped damage in the fire. It was donated by a parishioner of the Cleveland parish to the relocated parish and was installed in the building.

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