If we look back to the roots of our parish, which built the first Hungarian Roman Catholic church in North America, we find the purpose of its establishment most beautifully expressed in the religious desire of those Hungarians who began arriving en masse to Cleveland by the middle of the 1880s. The Hungarians want to pray in Hungarian, and they want to offer thanks to God in a Hungarian church for the bread that they earn through their daily sweat and tears. This holy and noble expectation was fulfilled by Rev. Károly Bőhm, who announced the founding of St. Elizabeth Parish on December 11, 1892 and celebrated the first Mass in the parish’s newly built church less than one year later on September 8, 1893. Aware of its mission, St. Elizabeth Parish, through the construction of its first church and through the efforts of its founding pastor, Fr. Bőhm, earnestly began incredible missionary efforts that extended as far as the other Hungarian communities spread throughout the United States. The pastors of the parish, continuing the blessed work of Fr. Bőhm, have strongly defied the storms of history over the last more than 123 years so that at all times they have carried out the work of Christ with honor. For over a century, six pastors, together with other assistant pastors and Hungarian-speaking priests, have carried out this apostolic work. Every period brought its fair share of hardships to the pastors, but they tirelessly did everything to ensure that the first church of the Cleveland Hungarian Catholic community would be and remain, first and foremost, a center of religious life.
Drawing from secular opinions, some scholars, recognizing the service that ethnic churches provide to their communities, argue that their significance lies mainly in their role as community builders and not principally or necessarily as places of religion concerned with the transmission of the faith. There are some who regard ethnic churches merely as buildings that symbolize cultural and ethnic identity. We, on the other hand, strive to do everything so that we might remain faithful to the original religious desires of our ancestors. We regard the church as the house of God, where, following in the footsteps of our Hungarian saints, we seek the road to the salvation of our souls. Therefore, we pray and undertake every sacrifice so that more people will understand, appreciate, and embrace our church’s mission.
We invite you to visit our beautiful church and to join us for Sunday Mass. We would be overjoyed if you were to pray with us and accompany us as together we seek to grow closer to God. This closeness can be achieved through the practice of our Catholic faith, and you are always welcome to draw from the graces that God gives us by participating in the sacramental life of our parish. For the fulfillment of all these things, we ask for the intercession of St. Elizabeth and the saints of our Hungarian people.