ST. MALACHI CHURCH was organized in 1865 by Bp. AMADEUS RAPPE out of the large ST. PATRICK'S PARISH, to place an IRISH parish closer to residential sections on Cleveland's near west side. Fr. James Molony was the first pastor (1865-1903). The congregation met at ST. MARY'S ON THE FLATS until their brick Romanesque Revival building was completed at Washington Ave. and Pearl (W. 25th) St. It was dedicated in Mar. 1871. The building was known for its statuary and a tall spire and illuminated cross, visible to Lake Erie sailors. In 1867 the first parish school was built, and a former public school purchased soon after for a separate boys' school. A new building was built for the girls' school in 1885. The URSULINE SISTERS OF CLEVELAND taught girls only until 1890, when with the permission of the Bishop of Cleveland, they took over all classes on the departure of the Christian Brothers. In 1916 the French-speaking Annunciation parish merged with St. Malachi's.

After a peak of 2,000 families early in the century, membership fell to 60 families by 1928. The construction of LAKEVIEW TERRACE added 620 neighborhood families, half of which were Catholic. By 1938 St. Malachi's membership had climbed to 400 families, and the school was renovated. A fire destroyed the church building on 23 Dec. 1943, and a new brick and stone Gothic church was built on West 25th and Vermont, on part of the original lot, in 1945-47, and dedicated in 1947. The parish school, along with that of St. Patrick's, combined to form the new URBAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL in 1968, still under the direction of the Ursulines (in 1976 the school building at ST. WENDELIN was incorporated into the Urban Community School, replacing that of St. Patrick's).

In the late 1960s, individuals interested in the reforms of the Second Vatican Council began attending the 11:00am Mass celebrated by Fr. Paul Hritz at St. Malachi. Over the next few years, they developed a community identity and petitioned the Doicese of Cleveland for parish status. In April 1975, the Community of St. Malachi became the first personal, non-territorial parish in the Diocese of Cleveland.

In Oct. 1990 St. Malachi's celebrated 125 years as its "community's cornerstone." In 1995 Fr. Anthony Schuerger served as pastor to the 1,200 families in the church's congregation.

Ohio Historical Records Survey Project, Works Projects Admin. Parishes of the Catholic Church, Diocese of Cleveland (1942).

St. Malachi Church of Cleveland, Ohio, 125th Anniversary, 1865-1990 (1990).

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

View image in Digital Cleveland Starts Here®



Article Categories