Collinwood's St Jeromes Church, named for scholar Jerome (347-420), marks their centennial this month. Jerome, whose knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, translated the bible into Latin producing the Vulgate, which stood as the Catholic Church's standard version till 1979. He was also know for his teachings on Christian moral life.
In Emery Brandich's 1989 "A History of St. Joseph's Church (Collinwood)", he gives the background on the growth of Collinwood population between 1900 of 3000 people to 9000 in 1910 when it was annexed by Cleveland. St. Joseph Church was Collinwood's initial Catholic Church in 1877 to serve the famiies of the recently built railyard, whose first Mass was December 25th. With this growth and the church's limited seating capacity, the parish needed to hold 4 Masses on Sundays. Also at this time Collinwood received a great influx of Solvenians and Italians, which St Joseph's clergy were unable to hear their confession in their native language, resulting in the creation of St Mary's and Holy Redeemer parishs.
Per Brandich's text, "The founding of St Jerome's was due to a presentation that Fr. Bell (St Joseph's) made to Bishop Farrelly. Some members of the parish who lived in the Lake Shore section came to Fr. Bell, with the suggestion that they needed a parish in their "neck of the woods." After cautioning the men to say nothing about the matter, he found that 125 families lived in the area. This information was passed on to Bishop Farrelly, who, after after studying the situation, gave permission to Fr. Bell to buy the land for the future site of St. Jeromes. One year later, in September of 1919, Fr. Leo Hammer, who was Fr. Bell's assistant, was appointed to form the new parish, which which consisted of all the land north of the New York Central Railroad tracks, that had been part of St. Joseph's."
A tent was raised and beginning October 6, 1919, Sunday Masses were celebrated. By October 3, 1920 the first church was completed and dedicated by Bishop Farrelly. In September of 1922 the school was completed, and the dedication of the modified Gothic-style church took place in 1952.
The parish continues in good works supporting Collinwood Churches Interfaith Council Food Pantry and food, clothing distribution at The Father Michael Wittman Ozanam Center at St Philomena church in East Cleveland, and Christmas Giving Tree for needed items at Manorcare Euclid Beach and coats, hats and gloves for St Jerome students. They also work with City Music Cleveland Chamber Orchestra to provide fine arts programs 3-4 times a year with no admission charge
Amateur local historian