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The Prague Monstrance.  From St. Procop parish: designed by Loretto; a gift to St. Procop parish on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 1922; it is a replica of the renowned monstrance of Prague; sterling or coin silver construction with a fired gold surface and studded in crystal settings; the oculus is chase and repousse and takes the form of a swirling cloud featuring a central sun burst of crystals set in leaf-like silver rays around the center glass; round, square and teardrop faceted stones are bezel set in these rays totaling 114 stones in all; four pairs of little winged cherubs at 4, 6, 8 and 11 o’clock are affixed to the cloud; above is a reclining figure of God the Father offering benediction; thirteen stones from a triangular nimbus around his head; a single square stone is set in his chest; two more cherubs and a bit of cloud wrap around his waist and a silver Holy Spirit dove in flight hovers under his waist; a baroque framed door and latch with a top and bottom frieze set with three stones each; a swirling cloud casing on the inner track is punctuated by square decorative nuts; the cloud is pierced from the front by fifty-one rays studded in crystal from end to end that form a large sunburst for the outer track;  the stem is a sculpted chase and repousse in the round of Mary of the Immaculate Conception; Mary’s hands are over her chest and her belt is set with four crystals; the crescent shaped horn beneath her feet contains eleven large crystals; she stands on a globe swirled in cloud with three cherubs at her feet;  wrapped around the globe and spiraling downward to the earth is the dragon of Satan with two clawed arms, two wings and a long serpentine body; the body, wings and eyes are set with crystals ; the dragon’s tongue is missing; a burst of eleven thunderbolts radiates from his head; the base takes the form of rocky ground; a border of bow-like clusters set with crystals.





LARGE NUMBERS OF Bohemians Cleveland between 1854 and 1870; to serve them, St. Wenceslaus was established on the east side. As the community on the west side grew, people wanted another parish. In 1872, Bishop Richard Gilmour appointed Rev. Anthony Hynek to form a new parish. He organized the St. Vitus Society for men and the St. Ann Society for women to raise funds. Four lots on Burton St. were purchased for $3,200; the parish was organized and named St. Procop, patron of farmers and manual craftsmen (the occupations of many Czech immigrants). In September, 1874, a two-floor frame church/school building was erected and dedicated.

In February, 1875, Joseph Koudelka, later the first Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland, was ordained deacon and given charge of the parish. He was ordained a priest that October and celebrated his first Mass at St. Procop. Father Koudelka established the school in 1876 with two laymen as teachers. The next year, three Sisters of Notre Dame began teaching, walking from St. Stephen daily. Father Koudelka taught Bohemian; he developed several readers which were used nationally.

In 1882, Father Koudelka was called to St. Louis, and people were unwilling to accept any new pastor. As a result, Bishop Gilmour closed the parish from February, 1884 to July, 1885, when Father Anton VIcek was appointed pastor and accepted by people. In 1892, Father Vlcek engaged the Sisters of St. Joseph (Cleveland) to staff the school. A year later, Father Vaclav Koerner became pastor and brought the Sisters of St. Francis from Joliet, Illinois, to the school.

In June, 1896 Father Wenceslaus Panuska became pastor. In 1899, the parish decided to build a grand new church of Italian-Byzantine style with a central dome and two towers, departing from the Gothic-style architecture of most Cleveland churches. The dimensions were enormous - 144 feet long, 60 foot wide main body, 88-foot wide nave, with seating for 1,300.

On April 28, 1901, Father Peter Cerveny was appointed as pastor of St. Procop and ministered for forty-one years. Father Cerveny installed a central heating plant at a cost of $15,000. The new church was completed by Christmas, 1902 and dedicated July 4, 1903, the feast of St. Procop. In 1907, a new school was built for $75,000 and a new rectory for $15,000.

In 1915, Father Cerveny opened a two-year commercial high school; it became a four-year program in 1937. Between 1925-26, a new convent was built to house twenty Sisters. Becoming debt-free, the new church was consecrated October 2, 1929. In the midst of perparing for his Golden Jubilee, Monsignor Cerveny died on November 3, 1942.

Father John Becka became pastor on April 7, 1943. He began renovating the church, school, rectory and convent but died suddenly on July 31, 1949. He was succeeded by Father Wenceslaus Uhlir, who had attended school and offered his First Mass at St. Procop in 1923.

Father Uhlir completed the renovations for the parish Diamond Jubilee. In 1950, a Perpetual Novena to the Infant of Prague and Our Mother of Perpetual Help began. Guided by a Recreational Council, youth sports activities flourished. In 1950, a modern cafeteria was installed for the school, parish dinners and card parties. In 1962, deterioration and high repair cost forced removal of the central dome and two towers; what was left of the towers was dismantled in 1993. In 1965, with only 160 students enrolled, the high school closed.

Father Uhlir served as pastor nearly twenty-four years. He retired in 1973 and lived at St. Procop until his death in 1986. His successor, Father James Vesely, continued implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Father Vesely formed a steering committee, leading to the first Parish Council. In June, 1975, the parish grade school closed due to declining enrollment.

In June, 1987, Father Mark Peyton, the grandnephew of Father Uhlir, became pastor. That fall, the stained glass windows were renovated and the heating system upgraded. A ramp was added to the church in 1990 for handicap accessibility. The school hall was renovated and dedicated in memory of Father Uhlir. In 1995, the sanctuary was renovated, the altar and furnishings refinished, the baptismal font moved, and the front pews moved and realigned. In recent years, as in the beginning, St. Procop has relied on the dedication and gifts of a corps of loyal parishioners to enable St. Procop to continue as a caring, welcoming community of faith.

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