SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA
Feast Day: June 21
Patron Saint of Catholic youth and teenagers
At the age of 9, Aloysius made a vow of perpetual virginity; therefore, he kept his eyes downcast in the presence of women to avoid temptation, as depicted in the statue.
The heir of a prince, Aloysius Gonzaga, was related to two popes and noble families in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. As a child, he observed the decadence of ducal courts and began to practice penance as atonement. Although he had been invested as prince of the empire by the emperor, he decided to enter the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), which enraged his father.
After a prolonged battle of wills, Aloysius entered the Jesuit novitiate (the period of being a novice) and was blessed to have Saint Robert Bellarmine as a spiritual director. A few years into his studies, the plague broke out in Rome, and the Jesuits opened a hospice. Alongside others, Aloysius nursed the patients. He caught the disease himself and died at 23, the name of Jesus on his lips.
CHRIST THE KING CHURCH, EAST CLEVELAND
On August 19, 1928, Bishop Joseph Schrembs appointed the assistant pastor of St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, Father Thomas V. Shannon, as pastor of the 387 families of the newly established Christ the King Parish in East Cleveland. The community came together for the first time on August 26 to celebrate Mass in the Euclid Theater on Euclid Avenue. Father Shannon soon established the first pastoral residence in a second-floor suite above the theater. While the parishioners could celebrate Sunday Mass in the theater, they had to travel to St. Philomena Church for its funeral, baptism, and wedding ceremonies. Rejecting an offer of property on Quilliams Road and Princeton Boulevard from the Seltzer Round Company, the parish purchased land at the corner of Terrace and Noble Roads on which to build its future church.
In October 1928, the City of Cleveland Heights donated two portable school buildings in which two Ursuline Sisters, Sister Mary Eugene Beaumont and Sister Mary Constance Fogarty, taught students in the first and second grades. The following September, Sister Mary Robert McGregor, OSU and Sister Mary Brigid McDonough, OSU joined the teaching staff of Christ the King School. As the United States reeled from the 1929 Wall Street Crash, Christ the King Parish forged ahead with plans for the construction of a combination chapel / school. On November 15, 1929, Bishop Schrembs approved the funding necessary for the construction project and seven months later dedicated the new building. The parish soon opened a new school. Despite the difficult financial times, the parish's population grew during the Great Depression. To help him better serve the community, Father Shannon often called on the services of the Jesuit priests from John Carroll University. In 1945, in recognition of his continuous service, Pope Pius XII elevated Father Shannon to the rank of domestic prelate.
During the immediate postwar period, Monsignor Shannon administered to the area's burgeoning Catholic population. As the enrollment of Christ the King School grew to approximately 700 students, so too did the teaching staff, leading the parish to erect a new convent in 1954. Two years later, Monsignor Shannon and members of Christ the King Parish Council launched a building fund campaign for the construction of a new church and school complex. On September 14, 1959, the Christ the King community laid the cornerstone for its new church. After the first Mass in the new building on August 28, 1960, the parish converted its original church into a parish social hall and gymnasium. On the Feast of Christ the King, October 30, 1960, Auxiliary Bishop Floyd L. Begin dedicated the new Christ the King Church.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Christ the King Parish underwent a number of changes. With its new school completed, the parish donated the original portable school buildings to St. Mary Parish in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. On April 20, 1968, after serving the spiritual need of the parish for almost forty years, Monsignor Shannon died. He was succeeded by Father Ira Still. Father Still served the parish until July 1974 when he, in turn, was replaced by Father Thomas A. Boone. That fall, Christ the King School welcomed students from the recently closed St. Philomena School. In 1976, the parish established the Christ the King Renewal Program. Three years later, it welcomed a new pastor, Father James D. Schorr.
The 1980s were challenging years for the community. Recognizing the escalating unemployment in Greater Cleveland, Christ the King Parish, along with St. Martin of Tours and St. Clare Parishes, held workshops for the unemployed. Along with providing a forum in which participants discussed their individual problems, these workshops provided training in employment skills and personal development. In 1986, Father Luigi C. Miola became Christ the King Parish's next pastor. The following February, under the direction of Sister Ann Winters, OSU the parish opened a community retreat center. Located in a wing of the rectory, "Bread in the Wilderness" housed a chapel, meeting room, library, and three bedrooms. By the following year, unfortunately, the program was discontinued.
In 1994, Father John D. Terzano succeeded Father Miola. Father Terzano's pastorate, however, was a short one; the following year he was replaced by Father Louis M. Papes, Christ the King Parish's current pastor. That same year, Sister Mary Ann Murphy, OSU, a daughter of the parish and school principal, regretfully announced the departure of the Ursuline Sisters from the parish school. In this sesquicentennial year, the members of Christ the King Parish celebrate their rich history, beautiful campus, and strong tradition of faith.