CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERIES

ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERIES

ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERIES are integral to the religion's practice. Under canon law, Catholics should be buried in cemeteries established by a parish or the diocese. Lacking that, the consecrated section of a non-Catholic one may suffice, or each grave may be blessed at entombment. In 1847 when LOUIS AMADEUS RAPPE came to the new Diocese of Cleveland, he found many Irish and German Catholic immigrants who had few supporting institutions, such as cemeteries. ST. MARY'S ON THE FLATS (est. 1826) may have had a burying ground nearby, but until Bp. Rappe purchased 16 acres on Kinsman (now Woodland) Ave. for St. Joseph (1849), Cleveland's first Catholic cemetery, most faithful were buried at ERIE ST. CEMETERY, later to be reinterred in Catholic cemeteries. Bp. Rappe also established St. John Cemetery near the public WOODLAND CEMETERY. In Cuyahoga County, 10 cemeteries are parochial, and 4 are diocesan in origin. Seven parish cemeteries were formed during Bp. Rappe's tenure (1847-70). Bp. RICHARD GILMOUR (1872-91), discouraging individual parish plots, promoted consolidated cemeteries. Bp. IGNATIUS HORSTMANN (1892-1908) and Archbp. EDWARD HOBAN (1945-66) pursued this policy by opening, respectively, Calvary (1893) on Cleveland's southeast side, and Holy Cross (1950) in a western suburb, BROOK PARK.

Parish cemeteries minister to diverse groups. St. Mary's of the Assumption (1851), Brook Park, provided a burying ground for neighboring German Catholic farmers. Tucked beside the church, St. Patrick's plot reportedly began in 1853. In OLMSTED FALLS, St. Mary of the Falls parish (1854) has death records that may date the cemetery to 1856. E. Cleveland St. Paul, EUCLID, began its cemetery in 1860; 35 children, victims of the COLLINWOOD SCHOOL FIRE, are buried there. Berea's St. Mary, an Irish parish, formed the Depot St. cemetery (1861). St. Mary (1854), on Cleveland's Carroll Ave., established its cemetery (1861) on W. 41st and Clark. Holy Family (1872), PARMA, opened a cemetery in 1873. St. Adalbert (1873), BEREA, ministering to Polish quarry workers, established a cemetery in 1875. IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY (1894) is in Cleveland's Polish neighborhood, but its cemetery is in CUYAHOGA HTS.