permitted this Irish reverence for himself and held his parish together, not so much by force of positive leadership, though he gave that in a quiet way, but rather because of this reverence in which his parishioners held him.

       In any case, Saint Malachi became an even more intensely Irish parish ghetto than did Saint Patrick, so much so that the territory of the parish was more or less closed by force to all outsiders and remained so until after the death of Father Molony in 1903. Second and even third generations of its sons and daughters married one another and remained members of the parish by building additions to the rear of their parents' homes, or by buying houses made vacant by the deaths of older parishioners.

Summary of Differences Between West Side and East Side Parishes

       Here then is a summary of the early differences between the West and East Side Irish communities: first, the East Side Irish immigrants of the 1850's and 1860's, had really only one parish to which they could belong. The pastor of that parish, Saint John's Cathedral, was the French-born bishop who desired that the Irish people of the parish should become American as soon as possible. He continued this policy in the two Irish territorial parishes which he founded as offshoots of the Cathedral and appointed as pastors of these parishes men who he felt would extend and reinforce this policy. But on the West Side he .....




permitted Father Conlon and Father Molony to go their own way in union with their people; thus both their parishes became centers of Irish nationalism in the absence of any acculturating leadership.

       Second, when Father Conlon died with his parish church uncompleted, Bishop Rappe's successor, Bishop Richard Gilmour, sent to Saint Patrick's a priest who had developed a modest reputation as a builder in Youngstown a decade earlier, Father Eugene O'Callaghan. While he completed the building of the church Father Conlon had begun at Saint Patrick's by heroic effort Father O'Callaghan drew the parishioners together during his three year pastorate (1877-1880) by appealing to their Irish nationalism and sense of community which had been rooted in the parish since Father Conlon's time. O'Callaghan never was an Irish nationalist himself in his previous assignments; indeed he was even more of an Americanist than Rappe, but at Saint Patrick's he adapted himself to the character of his people and to their aspirations, and encouraged their Irish nationalism, albeit without much heart. When the church at Saint Patrick was completed in 1880, O'Callaghan promptly resigned the parish, which was by that time second in size only to the Cathedral (Saint Patrick had thirteen hundred families, the Cathedral two thousand families), and founded at his own request Saint Colman's parish at West 65th Street near Lorain Avenue. Here he spent the last twenty-one years of his life serving the most neglected of Cleveland's Irish poor who had immigrated to the city after the second major famine .....




The Cathdral of St. John the Evangelist in 1870.

Church of the Immaculate Conception and the school
in the 1880's.



in Ireland in 1878. At Saint Colman he had no choice but to continue his policy begun at Saint Patrick. He encouraged his people to preserve their Irish heritage in every way they could, and indeed Saint Colman remained an Irish parish and community right up to World War II, forty years after O'Callaghan's death in 1901.

       One might speculate that this occurred for two reasons: O'Callaghan's people were so poor that a nostalgia for the land of their birth was often all that sustained them, and Bishop Gilmour was not at all the Americanist Bishop Rappe was. Although he wished the Cathedral parish to be American, he never imposed this view on pastors of any ethnic parishes. Indeed, the Bishop founded many of these ethnic parishes, and unlike his predecessor he encouraged the non-English speaking parish. Hence he hardly could stifle the same aspirations of the English-speaking ethnics at Saint Patrick's and Saint Malachi's.

       A third difference between East and West Side parishes is that, quite unlike the newly formed parishes of the native born Irish on the East Side which continued Bishop Rappe's policy, the major West Side Irish parishes of Saint Patrick and its offshoots, Saint Malachi and Saint Colman, all continued, each for reasons which were somewhat similar, the Irish character which was present at their founding, right up to our own time. One need note only that the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade, beg I Un in 1875 as a purely West Side Irish event (it did not become a downtown demonstration until 1878) continues to have its origin .....




in the West Side Irish American Club and in the Gaelic Civic Society. Both organizations are led today by Irish who live on the West Side and who seek, at least in this somewhat flamboyant way, to recall their heritage in Cleveland, a heritage they have kept alive, if only one day a year.

       The fourth and final difference is that during the crucial years of the maturing of the Famine Irish on the East Side, that is to say in the period between 1875 and 1895 when the children of the original Irish of the 1840's and 1850's were beginning to marry and to move out of the parishes of St. John's Cathedral, St. Bridget and Immaculate Conception, they formed new parishes which were to continue the logical consequences of Bishop Rappe's Americanist policies. These new parishes were St. Aqnes at East 79th and Euclid in 1893; St. Thomas Aquinas at Superior and Ansel Road in 1898; St. Edward on Woodland Avenue at East 69th Street in 1885; and St. Philomena on Euclid at Wellesley in East Cleveland in 1902.

       In spite of the fact that all these parishes were mostly Irish in makeup, they were American in style. Perhaps a major contributing cause for this was the fact that these new parishes also embraced the American born children from the German parishes of the East Side, St. Peter's at Superior and East 17th Street and St. Joseph on Woodland Avenue at East 24th Street. These people, relegated by Bishop Rappe to a secondary role in the Cleveland Church until they could learn the language and culture




Interior of St. Bridget's Church
The most elaborate church the Irish ever built in Cleveland in 1880's.

Interior of the Church of the Holy Name in 1880's.




of their new land, seem to have desired to become as much American as did their Irish neighbors on the East Side. A pastor in one of the new East Side parishes could hardly feel free to imitate the style of the Irish parishes on the West Side.

       Father Gilbert Jennings, who founded St. Agnes parish in 1893, is a case in point. Jennings was born in Ravenna, Ohio, in 1856 of Irish-born parents. He was ordained in 1884 and immediately assigned at pastor in Jefferson, Ohio, the home of Josh Giddings and Senator Ben Wade, who were instrumental in founding the Republican Party in 1856. When he was assigned to form the new parish of St. Agnes, Jennings brought with him some unique ideas on parish administration and organization. Influenced by his experience with the Yankees in Jefferson and by the radical Americanism of Archbishop John Ireland of Saint Paul, and Bishop John Lancaster Spalding of Peroria, both of whom lectured at St. Agnes frequently, Jennings adopted the town meeting theory of village government to parish administration. All the people were invited to meet and decide on parish policy. They formed a covenant with their pastor and with one another before God, mirroring the style of the Congregational Churches of the Yankee a half century earlier. They agreed to tithe in order to construct their new church buildings, thus eliminating the frequently obnoxious system of collection by envelope and family pew rent in vogue elsewhere in the diocese.




       Jennings favored a parochial school and built one, but only after he reminded the people that the school had to be excellent and not a mere Catholic alternative to the public school. He opened the first kindergarten of the diocese in his school and laid special emphasis on adult education in the parish to continue the upward mobility of his people. In his public addresses, specifically in one given at the graduation exercises at the University of Notre Dame in 1907, he asked for the first time the question echoed by John Tracy Ellis forty-nine years later, "Where are America's Catholic intellectual leaders?".

       Jennings saw his parish as a community of resources to be used by all his people to enable them to move beyond the middle class laboring-man model of the West Side Irish. He urged his parishioners to become involved in the professions, in government, in social leadership and to bring to these enterprises a Christian presence. Many of them did this and in doing so doomed Father Jennings parish: as soon as they began to achieve wealth comparable with that of the Yankees, St. Agnes' original parishioners moved out into the new and exclusive suburbs of Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. By 1941, when he died, Jennings had seen his parish go from a tight community of upward bound young Irish and German families to an incipient slum of boarding houses and tenements which would one day become the Hugh area. If this disturbed him, he never showed it. On the contrary, he seems to have been proud and happy that his people were doing so well in the city; he enjoyed conversation with them when they came .....(continued next page)