Parish History

Most Reverend Richard Gilmour, Bishop of Cleveland, formed the congregation of St. Stanislaus by an official act in 1873. The early parishioners worshiped in the abandoned St. Mary's of the Flats. Reverend Victor Zareczny of St. Adalbert parish in Berea cared for the souls of the first parishioners of St. Stanislaus.

In 1876, Amasa Stone, owner of the Newburgh Rolling Mills, advertised in Poland for workers. Thousands of Poles answered this call and migrated to the Newburgh area of Cleveland. As the parishioners of St. Stanislaus increased in number, due to this immigration, a new location of worship had to be found to accommodate the larger congregation. Franciscan Father Wolfgang Janietz, O.F.M., took over the care of the St. Stanislaus parishioners in 1879 and moved the center of worship to St. Joseph's Church on Woodland Avenue.

As the congregation continued to grow, it became apparent that the parishioners of St. Stanislaus needed their own house of worship. A site was found when farmer Ashbel Morgan offered to sell some of his land to the people of St. Stanislaus. The church committee bought thirteen lots for $3,000. Where St. Stanislaus Church currently stands was once a potato patch.

Church ExteriorA small church was built in 1881 which had a school on the first floor and the church on the second floor. By 1885 there were about 600 families and a bigger church was needed. Reverend A. F. Kolaszewski, who was then pastor of St. Stanislaus, undertook the task to build the current church. The cornerstone was laid in 1886 and the structure was completed in 1891. Diocesan priests cared for the people of St. Stanislaus until 1906, when the Franciscan Order took over this responsibility.

Due to the increasing number of school children, a new school building was erected in 1907, coinciding with the arrival of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who replaced the Franciscan Sisters. The school was designed by Brother Leonard Darscheid, O.F.M., of the Sacred Heart Province. A central heating plant was built, which continues to heat the school and church.

Tornado of 1909
On April 21, 1909, a tornado destroyed the twin spires at the front of the church and also devastated the roof. The parishioners bonded together and rebuilt the church within the year. The city did not allow the spires to be built to their original height.

n 1913 the present priests' rectory was built, and in 1918 the sisters' convent was constructed. A second school building was erected in 1927 to handle increasing enrollment. This later became St. Stanislaus High School, which was in full operation by 1947. This school was later merged with four other parish high schools to become Cleveland Central Catholic in 1969. The Social Center was completed in 1961.

In 1976, St. Stanislaus Church was entered into the National Register of Historic Places. A $1.5 million renovation was completed in the church in 1998.

Many church dignitaries have visited St. Stanislaus Church. In 1969, then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, visited the church. His Holiness gave a relic of St. Stanislaus to the Polish community of Cleveland. In 1925, Right Reverend John Cieplak, Archbishop of Wilno, Bishop Ladislaus Rubin in 1966, Bishop Julian Groblicki of Krakow in 1976, and in 1999 Lech Walesa, Former President of Poland and leader of the Solidarity movement, visited St. Stanislaus Church.

The parFranciscan Altarish records show that during its history, 127 men and women have entered the priesthood or religious life from St. Stanislaus! Eighteen Franciscans entered the Assumption Province; ten Franciscans entered the Sacred Heart Province; two men became diocesan priests and one entered the Precious Blood community. Sixty-seven women entered the Nazareth Sisters, eighteen entered the Sylvania Franciscan Sisters, eight entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, and three entered three other congregations.

Two Franciscan Provinces have served St. Stanislaus Parish: Sacred Heart Province, from 1906 - 1988, and The Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 1989 until 2012. The pastoral needs of the parish are again entrusted to the priests of the Diocese of Cleveland.

The church was designated the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus on May 8, 2004 at the 5:00 PM Mass.

On Nov. 8, 2005, at the Palace of Archbishop of Krakow, The Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus was presented with a gift by his Excellency, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz: a Mitre of Pope John Paul II. Accepting this gift on behalf of the Parish were Rev. Michael Surufka, OFM, Pastor, and David Krakowski, Director of Music and Liturgy.

Pope's Mitre
The mitre falls into the category of "mitra auriphrygiata" i.e., an ornate mitre embroidered with symbols of the Four Evangelists. It has become another relic for the Shrine Church which, had been given the relic of St. Stanislaus, an earlier bishop of Krakow (1071-1079) back in 1969 during Karol Wojtyla's visit to the United States.

The relic was subsequently presented to the parishioners the following weekend, and then included with the relics of St. Stanislaus and St. Francis of Assisi in the annual Eucharistic Day Procession on the Feast of Christ the King.

It is enshrined in the same area of the church as the relic of St. Stanislaus and the icon containing both former bishops of Krakow, Stanislaus and John Paul the Great.