OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
SAINT STEPHEN OF HUNGARY
St. Stephen of Hungary (975-1038)
Feast Day: August 16
Patron Saint of: Hungary
St. Stephen’s goal was to mold the warring Magyar tribes into an independent Christian kingdom. He made this dream a reality in his lifetime. For his coronation Pope Sylvester II sent him the famous Holy Crown of St. Stephen. This priceless symbol of nationhood was spirited out of Hungary during World War II to keep it from the hands of the Germans and Soviets. It was kept in Fort Knox, Kentucky until its ceremonious return in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter.
Besides establishing Christianity with its churches and monasteries, St. Stephen was responsible for a new system of government, widespread reform, and a new legal code. His concern for the poor was such that he personally would go out in disguise to give alms and see things for himself. On one occasion he was mugged while doing this, but took it in good humor. His assailants never knew they had attacked the King.
IN THE YEARS immediately preceding the the United States' entry into the First World War, a growing number of first and second-generation Hungarian immigrants settled in the upper-Buckeye-Road area. Recognizing the need for an area nationality parish, a small group gathered at the "Music Hall" on East 120th Street and Buckeye Road on March 24, 1917. After receiving a delegation of area Catholics, Bishop John P. Farrelly notified the community that while no Hungarian priest was available in the Cleveland Diocese, he would appoint Father Richard Roth administrator of the mission.
On August 17, 1919, the congregation celebrated its first Mass in the chapel of St. Mary Orphanage. The Diocese elevated the community to parochial status on December 15, 1921, appointing Father Ernest Rickert its first pastor. Father Rickert, who emigrated from Hungary while still a seminarian, finished his studies and was ordained in the Catholic Diocese of St. Paul, Minnesota.
By May 1922, construction was underway on both a church and hall. On September 17, 1922, the community's new church was dedicated. Two years later, the parish welcomed Bishop Stephen Zadravecz, a military chaplain with the Hungarian Army, who conducted a two week mission and confirmed 375 members of the community—the largest single confirmation class in the history of the parish.
Recognizing the educational needs of the parish's children, Father Rickert secured the services of the Social Mission Sisters of the Holy Ghost, who taught religion classes at the parish until 1929. In the ten years since it first petitioned the Diocese for a parish, the Hungarian-Catholic community had grown substantially. Bishop Joseph Schrembs soon urged the community to erect a larger church and school. With Father Rickert's departure for Lorain, Ohio, responsibility for the project went to his successor, Father Andrew Koller.During his lengthy pastorate, Father Koller earned the title "Father of all Hungarian Immigrants." Born in Kassa, Hungary, Father Koller arrived in the CD United States on the eve of the First World War. Taking up responsibility for the new buildings, Father Koller supervised the construction of a twelve-classroom school and a large church, which Bishop Schrembs dedicated on October 26, 1930. While the community had considered the parish dedicated to Princess Margaret of Hungary—at the time only beatified, Bishop Schrembs, recognized the intensity of the parish's devotion to her and contacted Father Howard W. Smith, a Maryknoll priest in Rome, who secured a special apostolic indult from the Congregation of Rites for the continued use of the name "St. Margaret of Hungary Parish." Years later, the parish purchased a house on Cast 116th Street, which it renovated into a convent for sixteen teachers n the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer from Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. The most noteworthy aspect of the parish's construction errons was the fact the projects were completed without mortgages—quite an accomplishment during the height of the Great Depression. In recognition of his pastoral service, Pope Pius XI elevated Father Koller to the rank of domestic prelate in 1935.Pope Pius XII canonized Princess Margaret of Hungary, thus allowing the parish officially to claim her as its patron saint in 1945. In the twenty years following the end of the Second World War, the United States experienced dramatic demographic changes, with large numbers of former city residents moving to the suburbs. Cleveland was no exception. By the time Father John B. Mundweil began his two-year pastorate in 1965, a large number of St. Margaret of Hungary Parish members had moved to Solon and surrounding suburbs. During the pastorate of Father Desider Hoffman, the parish dwindled as more members moved to the Solon-Orange Village area.In August 1972, the parish welcomed its new pastor, Father Ladislaus Rosko, who was born in Kassa, Hungary and ordained in West Germany. After years of consideration, Father Rosko and the members of St. Margaret of Hungary Parish dismantled the altar and removed the picturesque stained-glass windows from their church and sold the building to the Second Hope Baptist Congregation. With permission from Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, the community reestablished the church on the grounds of the Divine Redeemer Home in Orange Village. In September 1993, Bishop Pilla dedicated the new St. Margaret of Hungary Church and Community Center.