INFANT OF PRAGUE
Feast Day: January 14
The origin of the Infant of Prague dates back to the early 1600s. Many miracles have been granted to those who have great devotion to the image of Jesus as a child.
The infant holds an orb in his left hand, signifying the world-wide kingship of Christ. The two fingers on his right hand are raised signifying the two natures of Christ; the rings were given as a gift in answer to prayers of healing by a Czech family. The other three fingers are touching, signifying the unity of the Blessed Trinity. He is often clothed in garments that match the liturgical seasons of the church year: white for Christmas and Easter, purple for Lent and Advent, green for Ordinary time. A fabric lining of the crown matches his garments.
The original statue, which had been given as a wedding gift, was later given to the Carmelites in Prague and is preserved at St. Mary of Victory, a church in Prague.
INFANT OF PRAGUE
ST. FELICITAS PARISH, EUCLID, 1950
On November 12, 1950, Bishop Edward F. Hoban established St. Felicitas Parish, appointing Father John Lees its first pastor. Days later, the parish celebrated its first Mass in Euclid's Veteran's Hall. The following year, the community moved its Sunday celebrations to Marycrest School Chapel (currently Cleveland Diocese's Center for Pastoral Leadership) in Wickliffe, Ohio and purchased property on Richmond Road for a church. With the generous support of its members, the parish quickly established a building fund. Following its 1952 groundbreaking, work on the building progressed rapidly, allowing Archbishop Hoban to dedicate the church on June 21, 1953.
During the 1950s, the parish completed other construction projects, including a parish school (1955), rectory (1958), and convent (1959). To staff the school, the parish secured the services of teachers from the Notre Dame Sisters. In March 1958, St. Felicitas Parish welcomed its second pastor, Father Raymond T. Smith.
Like many of the Cleveland Diocese's suburban parishes, St. Felicitas Parish experienced dramatic growth during the 1960s, expanding educational and religious programs, and adapting to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Much of the credit for implementing these changes went to Monsignor Francis Cacciacarro, who succeeded Father Smith in June 1967. During the 1970s, the parish concentrated on meeting the spiritual needs of its members. In 1973, a pastoral team composed of Fathers Richard Bober, John Kraker, and Edward Mehok, all faculty members of Borromeo Seminary, joined Monsignor Cacciacarro in serving the St. Felicitas community. The team welcomed two new members, Father Robert Kraig and Ms. Marybeth Muehle, in 1975. Along with the new pastoral team, the parish established a number of adult education classes and renewal programs, including Christ Renews His Parish, Genesis II, Movement for a Better World, and Renew. With its enrollment continuing to grow, the community added a library and two classrooms to its school. To supervise the continued growth of the school, the parish established a School Development Board. The parish soon opened a new library, converting the former library into classrooms. St. Felicitas School recently welcomed its first lay principal, Ms. Anne Marie Woyma. With the convent empty, the parish converted the building into a preschool in 1993.
In recent years, St. Felicitas Parish has continued to participate in spiritual renewal and social outreach programs, one example of which is the Interfaith Suburban Action Coalition, an organization which explored the challenges of interracial relations and urban problems. In 1994, the parish completed work on the renovation of the church's interior and sanctuary, offering an improved environment for its liturgical celebrations. The current Hospitality Ministry of St. Felicitas Parish insures that every individual coming to Mass feels welcome. As they look forward to their fiftieth anniversary in the year 2000, the members of the parish strive to make their "Church On The Hill" a place of hospitality and faith.