ST. PATRICK'S PARISH, called the mother church of Cleveland's west side, was founded in 1853, 6 years after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland was established. One of the oldest parishes in the diocese, it originally served a largely IRISH population. A brick church on two lots on Whitman Ave. was dedicated on Christmas 1853 and consecrated in 1857. The present (1995) building on 3602 Bridge Ave., west of Fulton Rd., was begun in Aug. 1871 and completed over the next several years. Sanctuary, sacristy, tower, and stained-glass windows were added in 1913, and the Gothic stone church was finally consecrated on St. Patrick's Day 1931.
During its first year, the church housed a boys' school. A girls' school, taught by the URSULINE SISTERS OF CLEVELAND, was opened at Franklin Circle. In 1863 a new hall on Whitman Ave. housed the girls' school; an even larger school opened in Aug. 1891. In 1903 St. Patrick's was reportedly the largest elementary parochial school in Ohio, with 1,800 children. The school ceased operation in 1976, when it was merged into the URBAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL at ST. MALACHI'S parish. The building was razed in 1978. The many parishes formed from St. Patrick's include St. Augustine (1860), St. Mary's of the Assumption (1865), St. Malachi's (1865), Annunciation (1871), St. Stephen (1873), St. Procop (1874), St. Colman's (1880), St. Michael (1883), St. John Cantius (1899), St. Rose of Lima (1908), and Blessed Sacrament (1903). The parish has survived neighborhood changes; in the 1990s the church and parish hall were in the process of ongoing historic renovation. In 1995 Rev. Mark DeNardo served St. Patrick's 750 members.
See also RELIGION; CATHOLICS, ROMAN.