ST. GEORGE'S LITHUANIAN CHURCH, officially established in 1901, was the first church for Roman Catholic LITHUANIANS in the Diocese of Cleveland. Lithuanian Catholics immigrated to the area beginning in the 1880s and affiliated with Polish churches before 1901. Fr. Joseph Maszotas, a Lithuanian seminarian ordained by Bp. RICHARD GILMOUR in 1889, served briefly at ST. STANISLAUS. He organized a Society of St. George for other Lithuanians, but there were not enough families to support a congregation. Visiting Lithuanian priests provided services for several years. In 1895 Fr. Joseph Delinikaitis organized a mission congregation, which met at ST. PETER'S CHURCH, but he left a year later for an assignment outside the diocese.
In 1901 the community had increased to the point where a parish could be maintained. Fr. Joseph Jankus (1901-05), the first pastor, built a small wooden church at E. 21st St. and Oregon (Rockwell) Ave. Fr. Joseph Halaburda became pastor in 1907; he acquired additional property at E. 65th and Superior Ave., where the present church stands. He also began a school staffed by the SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME. Fr. Halaburda was succeeded in 1919 by Rev. Vincent G. Vilkutaitis, pastor for 40 years. The Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, who replaced the Notre Dame Sisters as teachers in the school in 1932, staffed the school until it closed in 1970. The parish of St. George was divided in 1929, and the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was established to serve Lithuanians living in COLLINWOOD and EUCLID. In 1982, the church established the St. George's Hunger Center which, by the 1990s, served over 1,000 regular customers. In 1995 Rev. Bacevice served as pastor for the 200 families of the congregation.
See CATHOLICS, ROMAN; RELIGION.