Unfortunately it may also cease to be a parish soon as the diocese tries to cope with shifting demographics and limits on manpower and finances. But that does not mean that the grand old place will cease to be of importance to the diocese as it will remain as a shrine.
The actual name of the church is Conversion of Saint Paul Shrine, though that is not the original name. When it was built in 1876 it was known as St. Paul Episcopal Church in the heart of Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row. The community that lived in the area moved to the now more fashionable area of Cleveland Heights where Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church is today. So in the 1930’s, the Diocese of Cleveland purchased the building, refurbished and redecorated it and constructed a three-story monastery there to house the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, more commonly known as the Poor Clares, whom Bishop Schrembs had invited into the diocese in 1921. They remain there to this day.
Bishop Schrembs said of the building, “The purchase of Saint Paul’s was the most providential purchase that I have ever made. It saves to Cleveland a beautiful Gothic church the destruction of which to make way for commercial uses would have caused a pang in the hearts of many Cleveland citizens. The church is to be given over to a new purpose that will make it to many generations as dear as the Basilica of Montmartre in Paris or the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in New York.”
According to the book, “A People of Faith: Parishes and Religious of the Diocese of Cleveland”, it was not until 1949 when the shrine was raised to parochial status that the name was changed to Conversion of Saint Paul Shrine in order to distinguish it from Saint Paul Croatian Parish which was very close by and thus do we put to rest the ugly conjecture that the name was intended as a slight against the Episcopalians.
If you are in Cleveland I recommend this magnificent structure on your architectural safari, but even more so for the chance to spend some time in adoration of our Lord. Information is woefully lacking on the Internet and I would call before making plans.
E. 40th Street and Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44103, (216) 431-8854
LATE NOTICE: I was just invited to have the holy hour at the shrine TODAY at 6:45 (followed by coffee and cookies at 7:45. There is a holy hour the first Thursday of every month at this time.