The history of every Polish parish in America manifests the eloquent testimony of work and efforts of Polish people, who were faced with the task of leaving the homes of their parents in pursuit of better living conditions. Upon arriving in America they tried to create better conditions which would at least in part, bring back the same environment, habits, surroundings and customs, left behind in their beloved Country Poland.
The first anxiety of these immigrants who came to the United States from Poland, was Church. The first Polish immigrants during the first few years after arriving in this Country had to struggle with various adversaries. They dreamt and yearned how it could be done to be able as soon as possible to pray to the Creator and to the Queen of Poland in a Polish Church, and to hear the Word of God preached by a Polish Priest. In this way Polish parishes became the first hearth of religious life, national and community, as well as cultural life of the first immigrants of Polish and Polish-American descents.
One of the oldest Polish parishes in Cleveland, to be exact the second oldest Polish parish in the City is the Parish of Saint Casimir. One hundred years have elapsed since that moment when from among a small group of Poles, living near the Shores of Lake Erie on the East side of the City of Cleveland, they came up with a serious thought of founding a specific Polish parish for this well known and widespread popular neighborhood of Polish people, "Poznan".
Finally the dream came true and the parish was founded in the year of our Lord in 1892. Permission for the founding and building was granted by Rev. Bishop Ignatius F. Horstmann. The energetic priest who whole-heartily patronized and helped the new parishioners to organize the plan to build this structure, was Rev. Benedykt Rosinski, pastor of Saint Adalbert Parish in Berea, Ohio. However, the first Spiritual director of this newly rising parish, and better yet, living right here in the neighborhood, and who for two years laid timbers on the ground to support this newly planned marvel, was Rev. Peter M. Cerveny, a Czech, serving also as Assistant Pastor of Saint Stanislaus Parish. His term of Assistantship existed from 1892 to *1894. A small handful of people having a deep love for the priests, and hopeful of God's help, under the direction of Rev. Father Cerveny, took over this monumental project, oblivious to all opposition and adversities. At this time, there were no married couples within the working group, therefore it took hard work and effort to acquire sufficient funds for the upkeep of this new parish and to continue the building of the new church. Yet, the work went on. The first Pastor was Rev. S. Wozny, holding this position for only one year 1894 to 1895.
Successor to Rev. Wozny was Rev. F. X. Fremel. Father Fremel served as Pastor and Spiritual Director of Saint Casimir from 1895 to 1899. Father Fremel withdrew his services, leaving this position to Rev. K. Lazinski, working from 1899 to 1903. Through the efforts of Rev. Lazinski, a Religious Order of Sisters from the Felician Community from Detroit, Michigan, arrived and started the Parish School in 1899. However, poor health intervened and Rev. Lazinski resigned his position as Pastor to a newly ordained young priest, Rev. Ignatius Piotrowski, serving from 1903 to 191 1. Rev*- Piotrowski immediately after ordination, did not hesitate, but proceeded to build a convent for the teaching Sisters and a parish hall, placing tremendous interest in the school. One but must admire the prudence, discretion and self-sacrifice of the first parishioners at that time, who understood the extreme value in promoting the progress of the parish for the future, through the success of the school. Rev.
Pastor Piotrowski upon the departure of the Felician Sisters, sought out and brought into the Parish the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Kunegunda (Kinga), who worked and gave of themselves to the work of the Parish and Church. In 1911 Father Piotrowski was succeeded over the period of one year by Rev. P. Koszyk, from 1911 to 1912.
Over twenty-three years, this small Church developed into a fine, grave and dignified parish. Built in 1892, this first Church serving a twofold purpose, a House of Prayer and a School, now proved itself to be too small. It became necessary to make plans for the building of a new and larger Church, transforming the old one into a school. This task, was the credit to the Pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Lorain, Ohio, the Rev. Carl Ruszkowski. Father Carl Ruszkowski accepted Pastorship of Saint Casimir in March 1912. He began this building task in most unusual difficult circumstances, and best of all practically completed it. But, an early and premature death cut the threads of his life and work in 1918. Grateful parishioners arranged a spectacular funeral for this great friend, which incidentally took place in the old church. The memory of him and his work was kept in high esteem for many years.
After the death of Rev. Carl Ruszkowski, direction of the Parish of Saint Casimir was taken over by the Administrator, Rev. J. W. Solinski, Assistant in this parish, who managed affairs up to 1921. During his Administration, the building of the new Church, now in existence, was completed, and the old church was rebuilt and renovated exclusively into a school.
In 1921 Rev. Louis Redmer was appointed Pastor, known for his zealous work in building the Church of Saint Hyacinth. Father Redmer, because of a poor state of health, was forced to leave the Parish in July 1924.
On July 4th, 1924, arriving as the new Pastor of Saint Casimir The Prince Parish, was Rev. Andrew Radecki, who like his predecessor was the Pastor of Our Lady of the Nativity Parish for many years in Lorain, Ohio. The Golden Years of Development began under his jurisdiction. In the entire history of the existence of this parish, this time showed the largest number of active parishioners, as well as the children in school numbered 1,200. His zeal and energy in work brought the parish to a magnificent physical and spiritual level leaving the future generations a beautiful example of work for the greater Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls. It is he who brought from Poland, where he participated in a pilgrimage to Jasna Gora, a copy of the miraculous picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland, which today adoms the side Altar of the Church of Saint Casimir. He offered to Our Lady his work and the whole parish. Under the keen direction of Rev. Pastor A. A. Radecki, a new rectory was built, a new convent came up for the Sisters (the first one not in existence today) new Stations of the Cross were purchased, new colored windows for the Church were installed amounting to fifteen thousand dollars, a purchase of new bells for the Church was made, costing forty-two thousand dollars, and four additional lots in back of the rectory and school were purchased for the sum of thirty-six thousand dollars. This accomplishment was made before the year of 1934.
At this time also, plans were in the making for building a new twelve classroom school, amounting at that time to about seventy thousand dollars. However, sad to say, depression intervened, and made a large difference in the parish income. In comparison, in 1926, income figures showed $52,004.00, as to $30,718.00 in 1934, giving about $21,000.00 less during the depression days. Then, when the depression lifted, the present standing school was built, blessed and dedicated in 1948. In 1955, the present new Sister's Convent came up, and in 1962 the new Parish Hall was built. Over and above all this even the Church itself was renovated in a most artistic and tasteful fashion, repainted in most artistic grandeur and knowledge for the Greater Glory of God.
In 1967, after 43 years of intensive work and efforts around the concerns of Saint Casimir Parish, Msgr. A. A. Radecki, in this 81st year of age, entered his retirement phase of life, and on March 9th, 1968, he left this earth of toil and worry for his etemal reward from his Father in Heaven.
After the death of Msgr. A. A. Radecki, the government of Saint Casimir was taken over by Rev. Father Stanley Cymanski, Pastor from 1967 to 1971. Once again a premature death culminates the work of this Saintly Priest on March 6, 1971. From 1971 to 1973, the Pastor of "Kazimierzowo" was Rev. John Bryk, now the present Pastor of Saint Hedwig Parish in Lakewood, Ohio.
Next came Rev. Canon L. Telesz, whose installation as Pastor here was October 14, 1973, in the neighborhood known as "Poznan", and a twice before removed Assistant of this Parish, and well known for his cooperation and work in various Polish parishes.
On August 4, 1985 St. Casimir Church was chartered as the Solidarity Center in Cleveland. The Solidarity Organization has a special mass at St. Casimir. Another milestone was achieved on August 14, 1985. St. Casimir was named as a historic landmark in the City of Cleveland.
In summary of this history of the Parish of Saint Casimir The Prince, up to this moment, it is only proper to underline and emphasize that this parish during its entire period of development and growth increased the Glory of God, a deserving particle of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Cleveland, and was a fighter and promoter of the Polish language, culture, tradition and customs. For example, in 1942 the Parish of Saint Casimir housed 43 Catholic secular Societies and Organizations. In this Parish, faithful to God and Country and Church among the Saintly Families, bloomed Religious Flowers of Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life; 14 Priests took up positions in various Churches of the Diocese, *I Religious Brother, and 26 Religious Sisters. Student Graduates of the School of Saint Casimir, hold prominent position in many professional and cultural fields as doctors, dentists, lawyers, judges, professors, undertakers, mayors and others.
The Parish of Saint Casimir, hosted many prominent celebrities among whom were His Excellency Cardinal John Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Rev. Bishop Groblicki from Krakow. In 1975, His Excellency Cardinal Rubin from Rome was a guest of Saint Casimir, His Excellency Cardinal Carl Wojtyla from Krakow in 1969, the present Holy Father Pope John Paul II.