St. Casimir, at Sowinski and E. 82nd in Cleveland’s Superior-St. Clair neighborhood, was one of 50 Northeast Roman Catholic churches axed by Bishop Richard “The Closer” Lennon in November 2009. But as we related in the June 2, 2010 issue of Scene, St. Casimir’s parishioners were determined not to go quietly. Soon after the closing, they began holding vigils every Sunday in front of the boarded-up church. Hanging a large photographic banner of the church’s ornate interior on the chain-link fence that separated them from their former place of worship and waving Polish flags, they recited “Hail Marys” in Polish and English and prayed for the bishop and the Pope to change their minds.
Luck — or God — was with them. St. Casimir was one of a dozen churches ordered reopened by the Vatican in March. The congregation will move off the street and back into its building this coming Sunday. In their honor, here are some of the photos we took at the vigil in May 2010.