Rorate Caeli

Rorate on the Road: Cleveland, Ohio

Continuing with our occasional look at traditional Latin Mass churches we have visited, here is an absolutely gorgeous parish in Cleveland, Ohio, in the U.S.: Saint Stephen on West 54th Street.

The German church, on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, has a Missa Cantata each Sunday at 9:30 a.m.  The pastor, the Reverend Father S. Michael Franz, hears confessions and the Reverend Father Bede Kotlinski, OSB, offers the Mass (as he has done since the TLM was resurrected here in 2008).  Mr. Nathan Marinchick directs the Gregorian chant schola, which for the Tenth Sunday After Pentecost consisted of four men singing Mass XI, Credo I and the propers, accompanied by pipe organ.  The beautiful organ also filled the church before, during and after Mass.  Ten acolytes processed into the sanctuary to assist with the solemn form of the Missa Cantata.

The photo below shows the high altar, which won first prize in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The second photo shows Mass this past Sunday.  The third photo shows the celebrant delivering the sermon.  After the Gospel, the custom here is for the priest to remove his chasuble and maniple, put on his biretta, and, flanked by two acolytes, walk to the pulpit located within the nave. 






This church barely escaped being shut down by the Diocese of Cleveland in the most recent round of closures.  Deo gratias!

16 comments:

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Where's the beach ball? (Sorry... I couldn't resist.)

JBazChicago said...

I attend St. John Cantius in Chicago, and Fr. Scott Haynes gave a sermon and explained once that the reason why the priest removes his maniple for the sermon, was that it is a vestige of the old days when the priest completely divested for the homily since he was no longer acting, "in persona Christi" but the words used were his own.

Subsequently, if the priest leaves the sanctuary, for the pulpit, he leaves the sanctuary since he is no longer in the "holy of holies".

Just thought I'd pass it along...

James C. said...

You simply MUST visit this church to fully appreciate its absolutely stunning, breathtaking beauty. I think it's the most beautiful German church in the entire United States. The massive sculptural program of carven wood, from the reredos to the side chapels to the magnificent pulpit to the altar rails, was brought over from Bavaria in the 19th century. It's absolutely irreplaceable. Support this treasure if you live within driving distance!

Jason said...

If I recall, this past Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul there was a Traditional Nuptial Mass at St. Stephen....

Dan Hunter said...

Absolutely beautiful sanctuary!

Wonderful to see no table.

Papabile said...

@JBazChicago ...

In some places, mostly in Europe, they remove the chasuble too. That is the older tradition.

08cacad6-fae3-11e2-9869-000bcdca4d7a said...

Everyone comments about the wood carving in this Church, which is amazing, but seldom is the statuary mentioned. I have never seen statues anywhere else that even come close to the quality of those seen at St. Stephens. There is a statue of the Blessed Virgin that is so lifelike, her expression is so serene, and her face so perfect and beautiful that it is like you are right with her in heaven. I am moved to pray for the artist whenever I see it. It is definitely museum quality. All of the statues at St. Stephens are different and the best, but this particular statue is without peer. I feel fortunate that I have been able to attend Mass at St. Stephen's, and see the love and devotion of the people who created such a magnificent tribute to God.

Athelstane said...

This church barely escaped being shut down by the Diocese of Cleveland in the most recent round of closures.

Nor was it the only beautiful Cleveland church that barely escaped the axe. St. James in Lakewood - a stunning recapitulation of Monreale Cathedral of Palermo, Sicily - was also closed by Bishop Lennon, only to be reopened on appeal to the Holy See.

Cleveland is a city on hard times, both within the Church and without. But it has been blessed with some real gems for churches. I very much look forward to attending the TLM at St. Stephen on my next visit to Cleveland.

David L Alexander said...

"After the Gospel, the custom here is for the priest to remove his chasuble and maniple ... walk to the pulpit located within the nave."

I believe removing the chasuble would be common throughout the Midwest, including the Great Lakes region, as opposed to just removing the maniple, as he is leaving the sanctuary entirely. I've known other churches in that region that once served German neighborhoods, where a giant pulpit outside the sanctuary would have been common.

Robbie said...

When I see beautiful churches like these I can't help but ask "why". Why in the world would we move away from something like this?

When we enter a church like this to hear the TLM it's as if we're transported back in time. It provides a sense of being part of something much unique, mystic, and greater than us.

Joe Paluh said...

I attend TLM there and drive in from Sandusky. Fr. Bede does an Excellent job! Thank you Father!

Joe Paluh said...

I drive in from Sandusky to attend TLM there. Thanks to Fr. Bede for his support!

Bear Paw said...

Although it doesn't have the TLM, the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland's Slavic Village is even MORE gorgeous than St. Stephen's, in a very similar style, though Polish rather than German. An absolute must see if in Cleveland.

Bear Paw said...
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John-Paul said...

So surprised to see this! And so delighted!

My son and I have the privilege of serving at the altar of this parish. It is such an honor. One really does feel as if he has stepped back in time on Sundays at 9:30am. The congregation is home to many devout families with young children crying, letting all know that life and youth exist in this Mass. This makes me feel good about the future of the Church, though, obviously, the gates of hell can never prevail.

As for the statues, a lot of people comment on the image of God the Father way above the high altar, and also the Crucifix. Who exactly is standing at the foot with Our Lady? Take a guess!

Jeffrey Quick said...

Also consider the TLM at noon at "the Mac" (Immaculate Conception, Superior at E 42nd), where there is polyphony in a large, beautiful and acoustically perfect church. There's not the gingerbread of St. Stephen; some might consider that a feature, not a bug.