SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Cleveland's first Roman Catholic parish for the HISPANIC COMMUNITY, was established on 15 Oct. 1975, but originated in the Hispanic Apostolate of the Cleveland Diocese. A Catholic ministry to the Hispanic-speaking was begun in 1952, with Msgr. THOMAS SEBIAN as its first director. The Conversion of St. Paul Shrine, adjacent to the Hispanic settlement in the HOUGH-Norwood area, served as its headquarters. The Spanish community grew rapidly, with both immigration and births, and concentrated in OHIO CITY, TREMONT, and the Clark-Fulton area, all on the west side of Cleveland.

From 1958-70 the Trinitarian Fathers coordinated the ministry, holding services at a number of east- and west-side churches. By the early 1970s, St. Stephen's Church on W. 54th St. had become the headquarters of the Hispanic ministry, but Spanish liturgies and outreach programs had been established at a number of other churches. Bp. James A. Hickey established the parish of San Juan Bautista to serve Hispanics, particularly those on the city's west side. Fr. Antonio Pagan was named its first pastor. In 1976 the West Side Hungarian Reformed Church building at 1946 W. 32nd was purchased for San Juan Bautista.

Having outgrown its current facilities, the church planned to build a new structure at Detroit Ave. and W. 78th St. In 1995 the San Juan Bautista congregation celebrated its 20th anniversary; Fr. David Fallon was pastor.

Papers of the San Jaun Bautista Parish, Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.


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