Little Known Black History Fact: St. Adalbert Church

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  • St. Adalbert Church is known as the first and only African-American Catholic parish in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2009, St. Adalbert was among the 50 churches that were ordered to close due to a shortage of priests, funding and church members. Because of the parish’s rules on removing and selling artifacts, the valuable pieces inside St. Adalbert’s remained in the closed church for two years.

    After major protest to the Vatican by 11 of the closed churches, St. Adalbert’s doors have just re-opened.

    The church, which was built in 1922, was first named Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. But by 1961, the church conditions were unsatisfactory and the congregation was moved to an existing church named St. Adalbert. Upon arrival, the black members painted all the paintings of Joseph and Mary with black faces. The congregation remained there until Bishop Richard Lennon closed the doors in 2009. Now, St. Adalbert is back open to worshipers in the Cleveland area.

    The first ceremony in the newly remodeled church ended with a version of “Oh Happy Day” by the congregation.
     

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