ST. WENDELIN PARISH, formed in May 1903, was the first Slovak Roman Catholic parish on Cleveland's west side. It was established by Bp. IGNATIUS F. HORSTMANN out of ST. MARTIN OF TOURS parish for SLOVAKS living in the area south of Lorain Ave. and east of W. 25th St. Masses were first said in private homes and a rented hall. A frame church serving 200 families was built along with a sisters' home at 2281 Columbus Rd. in Dec. 1903; a school was housed in an existing building on the property. Between 1915-21, the parish was "independent," operating without clergy, as no Slovak priest could be found. (The church required bilingual priests for its first-generation immigrant congregation.) In 1925 a Romanesque church and school combination replaced the wooden buildings. In 1921 another Slovak parish, OUR LADY OF MERCY, was started out of St. Wendelin, to serve families living farther west. Despite changes in the neighborhood, St. Wendelin continued to serve many 1st- and 2nd-generation Slovak families, as well as newer residents in 1985. The school merged into the URBAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL at ST. MALACHI CHURCH in 1978.
In the 1990s, Rev. Jerome Lajack served as pastor to the 300 families of the parish.
See also RELIGION; CATHOLICS, ROMAN.