ST. HYACINTH PARISH, CLEVELAND, 1906
When Polish-Catholic immigrants first settled in the Francis Avenue / East 61st Street area, they had to travel to St. Stanislaus Parish on Forman Avenue to celebrate Mass. The long distance and crowded conditions of the church led many Jackowo neighborhood residents to petition Bishop Ignatius F. Horstmann to establish a new Polish nationality parish. The Diocese responded by establishing St. Hyacinth Parish on December 20, 1906, appointing Father Ludwik Redmer its first pastor.
After its first Mass at St. Edward Parish, the community moved its services to nearby St. Lawrence Parish. Work on the parish's first church/school began soon after, allowing the parish to celebrate its first Mass in the new building on Christmas Day 1907. The following month, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis opened St. Hyacinth School. After serving the community for over 13 years, Father Redmer, citing deteriorating health, resigned on March 3, 1920. St. Hyacinth Parish's second pastor, Father Joseph Sztucki, improved the parish property, purchasing nine lots, on which the parish later erected six additional classrooms and a convent. Four years later the community opened its new parish auditorium.
Father Sztucki and the parishioners of St. Hyacinth Parish navigated through the trying years of the Great Depression and the Second World War, all the while decreasing the community's debt. In January 1947, Father Sztucki announced the retirement of the parish's debts and plans for the construction of a new church. After three years of fund-raising and planning, Bishop Edward F. Hoban approved plans for the new structure. Father Sztucki conducted the groundbreaking ceremony on July 2, 1950; eight months later he blessed the cornerstone. After months of delays caused by a scarcity of building material, Archbishop Hoban dedicated the new St. Hyacinth Church on May 22, 1952. In recognition of his pastoral work in the Cleveland Diocese, Pope Pius XII elevated Father Sztucki to the rank of domestic prelate in 1954. Monsignor Sztucki served the parish for another three years before dying on August 5, 1957.
Archbishop Hoban appointed Father Joseph Rutkowski third pastor of St. Hyacinth Parish on September 4, 1957. With a finished campus, Father Rutkowski devoted most of his energies to the spiritual and communal development of the parish—an effort which increased the membership of the parish. After 15 years of service, Father Rutkowski retired in 1973. Bishop Clarence G. lssenmann appointed Father John Deka pastor of St. Hyacinth Parish on January 15, 1973. In the face of falling enrollment, St. Hyacinth School closed in June 1990. Through Father Deka's efforts to share the responsibility of operating the parish with his parishioners, St. Hyacinth Parish remains a strong faith community anchored in the traditions of its Polish-Catholic founders.