St. Sebastian (died about 288)
Feast Day: January 20
Patron Saint of: plague sufferers
All we know for sure about St. Sebastian is that he was a martyr buried on the Appian Way and venerated as a saint in Milan, Italy from an early date. All else is legend, but it is inspiring.
Reportedly Sebastian was born in Roman Gaul and became a soldier. One of his duties was to guard prisoners including Christians awaiting execution for their faith. He used his position to encourage them to be faithful to the end and to make sure they received food and support.
When the emperor Diocletian discovered Sebastian too was a Christian, he was furious and ordered an exceptional punishment. For his betrayal, Sebastian was to be stripped, tied to a tree, and shot to death by arrows. This is the portrayal usually given by artists.
SAINT GEORGE CHURCH
FROM ITS BEGINNING IN 1871, Cleveland's Lithuanian community grew to approximately 1,000 members by the turn-
Before the community completed work on a church, it moved its Eucharistic celebrations to St. Peter Parish on Superior Avenue. On September 8, 1898, Father Delininkaitis left St. George Parish. Under the supervision of his successor, Father Joseph Jankus, the parish purchased land at the corner of Oregon Street (now Rockwell Avenue) and East 21st Street, on which it converted an existing house into a rectory and erected a small frame church/school. In 1903, the first St. George Church was dedicated. Following Father Jankus's departure in 1905, the community welcomed two short-
Under the direction of Father Halaburda, St. George Parish continued to develop. In 1908, the parish secured the teaching services of the Sisters of Notre Dame and opened its school. During the next decade, the parish welcomed many Lithuanian-
With the beginning of the Cold War, St. George Parish welcomed a new generation of Lithuanian immigrants. On June 10, 1959, on the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination, Father Vilkutaitis retired and Archbishop Edward F. Hoban appointed Father Bernard Bartis the parish's new pastor. During Father Bartis's short pastorate, the community renovated the church. On September 14, 1961, the parish welcomed its next pastor, Father Balys Ivanauskas, who led the community through one of the most difficult periods of its history. In the wake of the Hough and Glenville Riots, many of Cleveland's urban parishes lost members and teetered on the brink of closure. St. George Parish was no exception. Due to declining enrollment and increasing costs, the parish was forced to close its school in June 1970. Discussions of the closure of the parish surfaced regularly during the next ten years. Many parishioners, however, fought to maintain the parish at least until Father Ivanauskas's planned retirement in 1980. Upon his retirement on December 23, 1980, the Diocese appointed Father Joseph Bacevice parish administrator and assigned him the task of evaluating the viability of the parish. During the next three years, St. George Parish embarked on an extensive self-