OUR LADY OF FATIMA
SAINT IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL
1902 ST. IGNATIUS, CLEVELAND
ON SEPTEMBER 2, 1902 Bishop Ignatius Horstmann appointed Father Joseph Hoerstmann to form a parish at the "west end of Lorain St." For the next year, while continuing as pastor of St. Mary, Rockport and St. Patrick, West Park, Father Hoerstmann started visiting the 250 households. He called the lay leadership to a meeting at Howland hall on March 15, 1903. At that time it was announced that the Lorain Street and Denison Land company had donated land on Lorain just past Denison. A subscription of pledges was asked for a proposed building combining a church and school. This community, under the patronage of St. Ignatius, celebrated Mass for the first time in this building on November 15, 1901, as Fr. Hoerstmann became full time pastor. The following January the first councilmen were elected and the parish school opened with the sisters of St. Joseph as teachers. In November the first rectory was completed.
This one time farm land was growing rapidly and in 1913 an auditorium was built so room could be made in the first building for more classrooms. In 1917 the Boulevard School was built. Father Hoerstmann resigned, asking for a smaller parish.
In January 1918, Father Thomas Hanrahan, the new pastor, set about clearing the parish debt. Once that was done he hired an architect, E. T. Graham of Boston, and the parish set out on the long process of building a new church. Bishop Schrembs laid the cornerstone October 18, 1925. The first Mass in the main church was Father Hanrahan's funeral on April 14, 1930. The church was dedicated on November 9.
The new pastor, Father Anthony Stuber, was faced with the task of paying off the debt in the Depression. He also put a great deal of effort into enhancing the parish liturgical music. Father Stuber died in 1945 and his successor, Father John Kelly, was taken ill shortly after his arrival, an illness that proved fatal in 1950.
The next pastor, Monsignor Albert Murphy, had an international background in Catholic Charities after World War II. The rectory was enlarged to its present size so all the priests could live together. A house was bought and added on to be a convent for up to 29 nuns. Until that time the Sisters of St. Joseph took public transportation to and from their motherhouse on Rocky River Drive. A kindergarten was added to the school in 1951.
The golden anniversary of the parish was celebrated in 1951. The high point of the celebration came with the consecration of the church on October 22. A further honor was paid to this building in 1984 when it was declared a landmark of the city of Cleveland and its 200 foot bell tower was lit. The parish was still growing and the present school complex was completed in the 1950s, large enough for over 1500 students. At the same time 55. Philip and James parish was split off of St. Ignatius.
Monsignor James McIntyre was pastor in the 1960s when the neighborhood began to change. The first change came about when Interstate 90 was built, cutting the neighborhood in half. It was also at this time that the parish started implementing the documents of Vatican Council II with liturgical reform and spiritual renewal. Lay leadership again came to the fore in the pastoral council and programs to deal with social concerns of peace and justice.
The changing neighborhood continues as people move to the suburbs. Monsignor McIntyre's successor, Father John Krasen and the present pastor, Father James McGonegal, have both had to deal with this. The parish also had to face a large expense in getting rid of asbestos in the school. St. Ignatius is still a large parish that is a force in the neighborhood, finding ways to proclaim the presence of Christ.