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St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th anniversary celebration

News of the Diocese

March 13, 2024

St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration
St. Patrick Parish, West Park concludes 175th  anniversary celebration

St. Patrick’s Day marks the 176th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated by St. Patrick Parish in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood.

On March 17, 1848, a group of Irish and German farmers gathered in a farmhouse in what then was known as Rockport Township. Later, West Park Township was created and in 1923, West Park became the last large suburb to merge with Cleveland. By that time, St. Patrick Parish was firmly established at the corner of Rocky River Drive and Puritas Avenue.

Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost, who spent part of his childhood in the West Park neighborhood, said he is familiar with the parish and its long legacy.

“I am excited to be here celebrating the conclusion of your 175th anniversary year,” he told the congregation gathered in the church for the vigil Mass on March 9.

(See photo gallery above.)

“We have lots to celebrate tonight, including the anniversary of this parish community, the second scrutinies and the Third Sunday of Lent,” the bishop said.

He told the faithful that he was baptized at St. Vincent de Paul Parish a short distance away – also in West Park. Father John Pfeifer is pastor of both St. Patrick and St. Vincent de Paul parishes. Also, for a time, the Woost family belonged to Our Lady of Angels Parish, about a mile away, also in West Park. Both parishes are among those that evolved from St. Patrick’s as West Park grew. They celebrated their centennials in 2022.

The bishop recapped the early history of the parish, recalling how a group of Irish and German farmers petitioned Bishop Amadeus Rappe, the first bishop of Cleveland, to start a parish in the area.

Over the years, Bishop Woost said several priestly vocations and many women religious came from St. Patrick’s, which he said is one of the oldest parishes in the diocese.

“I am particularly impressed with what happened here during the Depression,” he said, referring to a building campaign that was underway and continued through those difficult years. “You also continued to care for your neighbors in need during that time, providing food and heating oil to help them survive. You lived the Gospel with acts of charity throughout your 175-year history,” he said.

“We rejoice because we’ve seen the grace of God, the blessings of God that he has brought to this community of faith. We see the light of his presence, his love and saving grace. I hope you’ve been looking back during the past year and seeing God’s blessings. This church was built on the shoulders of those who carried the faith into the future,” he said.

The bishop encouraged the faithful to reflect about how members of the parish community carried their faith forward to help others see the blessings God has bestowed, continues to bestow and will bestow in the future.

“God asks each of you to be a blessing to this parish. It’s not just about the past,” he said, noting the three members of the elect, who will be baptized and/or received into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil are among those carrying the faith and God’s blessings forward.

“They are the future and it is good to celebrate that tonight,” he added. “This community is alive and continues to bring more members into our midst. We continue to see God’s grace revealed now and going into the future.”

Bishop Woost also asked the faithful to consider how God is inviting them to be someone who not only sees his blessings, but is a blessing. “Each of us has something to contribute.”

Reflecting on the readings, he said Samuel was sent to Jesse to find and anoint a new king. He looked at each of Jesse’s sons, but the Lord told him they were not the ones. Finally, his youngest son, who was tending the sheep, was called. God said he was the one.

“He wasn’t even invited to the feast. He was the most unlikely one and yet he was the one God said should be anointed to become the king,” the bishop said.

“God has anointed each of us in the sacraments to be bearers of his presence and to build up his community of faith. God sees our potential, our gifts to support, encourage and accompany one another. Can you even imagine what he sees in you? What you will bring to this community? Today we ask to see what Jesus, the light of the world, sees in us so he will continue to shine through us. At the close of this 175th anniversary year, on behalf of Bishop (Edward) Malesic, we want to congratulate you,” he said. “But it doesn’t end here. You must continue to build upon God’s blessings to help this parish continue to be a vital sign of Christ in this community. See what God sees.”

After Mass, the bishop joined parishioners in the parish hall for a reception.

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