HOLY TRINITY PARISH was established by Bishop RICHARD GILMOUR on May 27, 1880 to serve the growing community of GERMAN CATHOLICS residing east of what is now East 55th Street along Woodland Avenue. Father Peter Becker, the parish's first pastor, held the first Mass of the new parish in the chapel of ST. JOSEPH'S ORPHANAGE on Woodland Avenue near East 60th Street. The community celebrated the dedication of the Holy Trinity Church, located at Woodland Avenue and East 71st Street, in August 1881. A rectory was erected a few years later. Father Becker initially recruited the Ladies of the Sacred Heart to direct the parish school, but they relinquished their administrative duties to the URSULINE SISTERS a decade later. As the population of the parish grew dramatically during the first decade of the twentieth century, the community broke ground for a new church building at 7211 Woodland Avenue on April 11, 1906. Bishop IGNATIUS F. HORSTMANN dedicated the new Holy Trinity Church, a Renaissance-style stone structure with twin square towers, on May 26, 1907. The lengthy tenure of Father Becker at Holy Trinity came to an end in 1917 as the parish welcomed Father F. Joseph Hopp, who served as pastor until 1920. Father Joseph M. Trapp, who succeeded Father Hopp, led Holy Trinity Parish for two decades (1920-1940) and oversaw the erection of a new school building in 1924 that included a two-year commercial high school. Father Edward A. Kickel, who served at Holy Trinity from 1940 until 1945, expanded the Holy Trinity High School into a four-year institution in 1941.

Holy Trinity Parish experienced an influx of new members following the end of WORLD WAR II as a large number of German-speaking war refugees settled in the Woodland Avenue area. Father Isidore J. Paulus, affectionately known as Ike, led the parish from 1945 until 1957 and assisted the new parishioners in adjusting to their new environs. As was the case in many other Cleveland neighborhoods in the postwar era, the original German-speaking members left the parish in increasing numbers during the 1950s and AFRICAN AMERICAN families settled in the neighborhood. Faced with declining membership and prohibitive maintenance costs, Father Edward Dickard, who had succeeded Father Paulus in 1957, closed the parish's elementary and high schools. Following the departure of Father Dickard in 1966, the Diocese placed the parish in administration and appointed Father James Killeen as its administrator. After several years in administration, Holy Trinity Parish welcomed Father Edward J. Camille as pastor. During his tenure, Father Camille launched a number of social outreach programs, including Project Peace, an empowerment and education program for area residents. With both Holy Trinity Parish and the neighboring St. Edward Parish losing members and hemorrhaging money, the Diocese formally merged the two parishes on July 1, 1975 to create Holy Trinity-St. Edward Parish, which had a predominantly African-American congregation.


Kaczynski, Charles R., ed. People of Faith: Parishes and Religious Communities of the Diocese of Cleveland. (Cleveland: Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, 1998).

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