September 18, 2022
Today we join with the community of St. Andrew Abbey in celebrating the centennial of its inception on February 5, 1922 when two monks from St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Illinois arrived in Cleveland to assume the pastorate of the former St. Andrew parish at E. 52nd Street & Superior Avenue and begin community life as Benedictine monks. It was at this location that Benedictine H.S. began in 1927, moving to its present location the next year in 1928. Through the Great Depression, wars, and urban neighborhood instability, St. Andrew Abbey has remained an anchor, bestowing an oasis of peace and order often in the midst of the chaos that surrounds it.
Our parish’s association with St. Andrew Abbey began when Fr. George Lawrence sought the abbey’s help for weekend Masses. Fr. Joseph Karaba was the first monk sent to fulfill this need. Upon Fr. Lawrence’s transfer to the former Holy Trinity Parish in Lorain, Ohio, Bishop Clearance Isimann offered Assumption Parish to the Benedictine Order of Cleveland. Abbot Jerome Koval graciously accepted and our ministry began on Palm Sunday, 1977 with Fr. Augustine Yurko as Pastor and Fr. Ronald Mahnke as Assistant Pastor. Since then, the following monks have served at Assumption: Abbot Jerome Koval, Fr. Joachim Pastrik, Fr. David Viszolyi, Fr. William Matyas, Fr. Christopher Schwartz, Fr. Clement Zeleznik, Fr. Justin Dyrwal, Fr. Paschal Petcavage, Fr. Kenneth Katricak, and Fr. Louis Carey. Of these, Frs. Christopher Schwartz and Clement Zeleznik were elected Abbots of the St. Andrew Abbey Community.
As our community looks back on its relationship with Assumption, our hearts are filled with profound gratitude for the support you have provided us through the years. This is true both from a spiritual and a material sense. Many of the monks from the Abbey ordained from 1977 forward remember coming to Assumption to assist in pastoral work, particularly in the distribution of Holy Communion at weekend Masses before the institution of Extraordinary Ministers of Communion. I myself spent all of my priesthood here at Assumption on weekends, as assistant and as pastor, and I cannot underestimate the great blessings I have received serving as your priest. It is a real grace for all of us to serve here at Assumption. You as a parish have also provided material support in many ways, from Masses and donations forwarded, participation in the Abbey Benefit, and supporting the priests stationed here.
On behalf of the St. Andrew Abbey community, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for the many ways you have supported us and our apostolates. We couldn’t continue without your assistance. As we celebrate today, I hold all of you in my heart and pray that young men may join our ranks to continue the good work that began 100 years ago. Let us rejoice because we have many things to celebrate!