HOLY ROSARY, the second Roman Catholic parish for ITALIANS in Cleveland, began on 5 Jan. 1892. Because of the distance between ST. ANTHONY'S CHURCH downtown (the closest Italian parish) and the growing immigrant neighborhood near LAKE VIEW CEMETERY, Fr. Joseph Strumio began offering Mass in 1891 at D'Errico Hall in East Cleveland. At a public meeting, the community agreed to support a proposed church and in a month had collected $2,000. A cornerstone was laid on 14 Aug. 1892, and 3 months later the structure was completed. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was established to serve Italians living east of Madison (E. 79th) St. Fr. Antonio Gibelli opened a school in 1895 to help adult parishioners gain citizenship and acquire job skills. The URSULINE SISTERS OF GREATER CLEVELAND began teaching religion to parish children in 1896, because the Holy Rosary could not afford a parochial school.

In 1901 the growing parish built a new church adjacent to the old one, on Mayfield Rd. at Coltman Rd., dedicated on 9 Nov. 1909. The church later started athletic programs and opened a medical dispensary. During the pastorate of Fr. Joseph Trivisonno (1929-39), the church was extensively renovated; he also brought nuns from the community of the Maestre Pie Filippini to work in the parish. In 1954 Holy Rosary opened a parochial school, which enrolled as many as 400 in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1977 the priests of the Congregation of St. Joseph were given charge of the parish. Fr. Philip Racco was installed as pastor in 1989. With only 70 students, the school closed in June 1993. The school building in 1995 served as an annex for adult education and other services offered by Holy Rosary for its 800 members and the LITTLE ITALY community. In 1995, the Holy Rosary parish school was re-opened as the Montessori School at Holy Rosary with students from pre-school through 8th grade. Using the Montessori method of teaching within a Catholic environment, Holy Rosary students engage in community service to nearby organizations, including Abington Arms housing, Ronald McDonald House, Hope Lodge for cancer patients and the Cleveland Foodbank.

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Papers of Holy Rosary, Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.


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