ST. AGNES-OUR LADY OF FATIMA PARISH was created in March 1980 when two preexisting parishes, both in the HOUGH neighborhood, were merged. ST. AGNES dated to 1893, but the church building had been razed in 1975 following a fire. OUR LADY OF FATIMA was a younger congregation, created in 1949 and administered by the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity (ST) since 1958. Both parishes had seen active outreach to AFRICAN AMERICAN families as the Hough neighborhood transitioned to become majority black during the 1950s, and had struggled with declining membership in the aftermath of the HOUGH RIOTS.
After the merger and under the leadership of pastor Rev. Randall Woods, ST, a new church building was dedicated in 1983 at 6800 Lexington Avenue. The Rev. Michael Barth, ST, increased parish membership and activities and put the congregation got on a more secure financial footing during the 1990s. In 2000, a new FATIMA FAMILY CENTER opened next door in partnership with CATHOLIC CHARITIES. In 2004, following a request by the Missionary Servants to return administration of the parish to the Diocese, Bishop Anthony M. Pilla invited the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Augustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to assume care of the parish. Rev. Robert Marva, OFM Cap. became the new and current pastor. In 2018, the parish said of its mission: “We embrace Afrocentric worship, Christ-centered hospitality, and missionary service.”
Updated by Marian Morton
See Also: CATHOLICS, ROMAN
Blatnica, Dorothy Ann. “At the Altar of Their God”: African American Roman Catholics in Cleveland, 1922-1961 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1995).
Kaczynski, Charles R., ed. People of Faith: Parishes and Religious Communities of the Diocese of Cleveland. (Cleveland: Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, 1998).