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Clair (Abe) and Dorothy Abel’s Story

Our three children, Mary Lou, Scott and Rosemary attended St, Clement School. After retiring from hospital nursing in 1988, Dorothy worked with Sr. Mary Ann and the school luncheon program, volunteered at Lakewood Christian Service Center giving food to the needy. Spending time in the adoration chapel, a member of St. Vincent DePaul Society and a Clementine’s member was gratifying. Helping with church Christmas decorations and donut Sundays with other faithful parishioners was enjoyable. Dorothy was also active in trying to Save Lakewood Hospital!

Abe & Dorothy have been blessed with 63 years of marriage April 4th. After leaving our Alger Road home of 50 years, we are thankful we can make monthly trips to St. Clement Church from our Avon Lake Senior Living Apartment, It sure is nice to see old friends and neighbors! Beautiful St. Joseph Church is also very friendly.

Many years ago, Abe and Dorothy volunteered at CYO basketball games at Cleveland Cudel Recreation Center. Abe was happy to donate craft items at St. Clement Church raffles. He surely enjoyed making many crafts in his big garage!

Sheila Becker’s Story

I’ve always been grateful to be a member of St. Clement Parish.

So many reasons to share: I was baptized and received First Holy Communion at St. Clement School. Attended all eight years at St. Clement School. So many happy school years and lifelong friends. My mother, Ann Allen used to clean church with Mr. Fisher and then attend Holy Hour on Saturdays. My husband, Jerry, was the best 8th grade basketball coach for years. So many happy memories. He died at age 53 and was buried from St. Clement. His was the first funeral mass celebrated by Father Winters as pastor. I was married at St. Clement Church as were three of my children.

Bernardine Caja’s Story

I am grateful to be a member of St. Clement Parish for 62 years. I consider it Home. It has been a place of learning, growth, support, healing and all else a home offers. It has been a source of 3 major areas of growth in my spiritual and temporal life.

In the 70’s under Fr. Sweeney’s direction, St Clement school started THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER HOME PROGRAM. Up till then we had taught our sons prayers, the rosary, Mass, etc., but this program taught us a new way to pray as a family and from our hearts. It encouraged us and our sons to share whatever we wanted our Father to hear.

In the 80’s was asked by Fr. Rogers to teach in CCD program and in spite of sending our sons to Catholic school because we did not feel qualified to instruct them I, with some hesitation, agreed. (Was hard to say no to a priest.) This forced me to study, take some diocese required courses, and to grow in knowledge of our Faith. A huge step for a timid, stay at home mom.

But for me the greatest of all gifts was to be granted the privilege of Lector. It was way back in the 60’s when women were not aloud in the sanctuary except to clean. A youth Mass was offered on Sunday evening. At this Mass women and girls were often doing the readings. At the 6:30 weekday Mass there was no reader. So when I heard about the youth Mass, I dared to ask Fr. Sweeney if I could read at the 6:30 Mass. It was not an easy thing for me to do and it took some effort to convince Father that with the help of a mike, I would be heard in spite of my not too powerful voice. And so I became the reader at the 6:30 am Mass. That meant more growth as I had to prepare by reading and rereading daily “The Word of the Lord”. What a blessing. Amazing how God works to help us grow, know and love Him more and more!

Richard Caja’s Story – Holy Hour is No Sacrifice

I wonder how many people realize one of St. Clement’s strongest assets? Anyone has the opportunity to visit the chapel at any time. At first, I thought “I will try this out; I’ll sacrifice some of my valuable time”. After all it may look good on my resume to get into heaven. I soon realized this is no sacrifice at all.

One of the amazing things about my holy hour is the realization of how desperately God wants me to be there. Isn’t that ironic? It is I who desperately need Him, and He, well He is God; how can the creator of all things have even the slightest interest in a person as non-important as me? But then again I have learned that God’s ways are not always what I think is obvious. One of mankind’s dangerous pitfalls is pride, pride in thinking that we know how things should be, what is best, etc.

The presence of God at the chapel is so tangible. After a while you feel His presence in that room so strongly that it would be quite intimidating if not for His unbelievable compassion and love. I really do not mean to sound so religiously charismatic, but I can’t talk about my holy hour experience without mentioning the tangible feeling of His presence.

On the surface it may seem like we get very little out of just one hour visit, but God tenaciously works to make us better persons … perhaps just a little at a time. I find my hatreds lessened, my tolerance increased.

In today’s world security is an illusion. Jobs are lost. Marriages dissolve. Loved ones die. The only sure thing is God’s love for us, whether we deserve it or not. If you have your doubts, take a visit to the chapel just around the corner of Lincoln and Madison.

Sean Duffy’s Story

I joined Saint Clement in 2003 after the birth of my first son. Prior to that, I was a very lapsed Catholic. I recall a few years prior to joining, driving home and passing a man on sidewalk waving his hand in distress asking for help. I passed him, thinking, “Poor Guy. I’d like to help, but what if he is dangerous?” That memory haunted me. Fast forward a few years after I joined Saint Clement. I met another gentleman in distress, at Saint Clement who had just lost his home. I gave him some money and good luck, but this time I stuck with it. I continued to occasionally see him at Saint Clement, and I continued to engage him. We have since known each other for over a decade. He still has many struggles but is in a better place. He gives thanks to God and Jesus for keeping him safe and giving him friends like me. It is I, however, who gives thanks to God for reminding me to see Jesus in everyone.

Louise and Bud Gorman‘s Story

We appreciate Mike Kotansky and his alternate Brian Andrews for bringing holy communion to our house for the past several years (except during Covid lockdown). Also, thank you to Father Workman for administrating the anointing of the sick.

One of my special memories at St. Clement was volunteering for the Senior Clementine and Friends. The ministry consisted of older adults from the five Lakewood parishes (and a Lutheran couple). The parishes were closing and it was a sad time for all, but especially for the older folks. The ministry was established by Sister Kathy Thomas to give people a place to meet former friends and to have fun. The twelve volunteers who were in their seventies and eighties were the most dedicated group I have met.

The programs consisted of: a presentation by a parishioner who as a young solider helped release prisoners from concentration camp after world war II, Lakewood police regarding senior safety, a Peruvian volunteer gave a wonderful presentation of her homeland. A memorable program was Christmas songs sung by the LCA children choir. (Santa and an elf also appeared!) And there was lots of music and a little dancing. (Jitter Bug when the Lakewood High Jazz band came. Conga line anyone?)

The last day of the program was sad but they ALL had great memories.

Mary Hanna’s Story

When I was in 8th grade (1955-56) we had a girls club that met on Monday nights in the church Hall. We played games and danced; usually the boys hung around outside until we left.

In high school we had the Madonna Club. Fr. Hackman was the moderator. He was great. I remember painting scenery for a play during the summer. We went on a trip to Deerfield Village in Michagan. I also played CYO girls basketball in the high school. Then we played girls basketball with 3 girls on defense and 3 girls on offense – we couldn’t cross the center line. We played all over at different schools. I remember going to West Tech to play.

Kay Hayton’s Story

Larry and I joined St. Clement Parish in September 1964 when we purchased our first home in Lakewood. Of our six children, three were married at St. Clement’s and Larry and I renewed our vows twice, on our 40 th and 50 th wedding anniversaries. We were planning our sixtieth, but, unfortunately, he was in a rehab hospital at the time of our anniversary and died shortly after.

During our years at St. Clement we have been blessed with three wonderful pastors. Each inspired different ideals. Fr. Sweeney always spoke of “be anxious”, Fr. Winters of “mystery”, and Fr. Workman “be not afraid”.

We have enjoyed an active life in the parish. In the early years, as a family, we were involved in the cub scouts. Later, I joined the ladies guild. As a couple, we were involved with the renewals through participation and helping with their presentation. In our later years, Larry was on the finance council, we became Eucharistic Ministers, worked with a team of weekly collection counters and as members of our choir for several years. The choir was Larry’s passion. I had to give it up because of other responsibilities, but he continued on til the pandemic.

All in all, St. Clement has been a very spiritually fulfilling parish with some great leaders, fellow parishioners and fun activities. Whenever I attend Mass, it always feels like I have come home.

Karen Hruska’s Story

In 7th and 8th grades at St. Clement School I was taught by Sr Ellen Marie. When she had to leave the classroom for a few moments, she told us to start working on our homework. I discovered that by using those minutes wisely, it took much less time to finish my homework at night. Gradually I began to use my spare minutes at lunchtime. In those days we went home for lunch. On a good day, I had minimal homework to complete in the evening. Sometimes none! Learning to use time wisely was a wonderful lesson!

Arlene Inks’ Story

I have many wonderful memories of being a member of St. Clement Parish. I have made many lifetime friendships that I cherish to this day.

My husband and I joined St. Clement’s Parish when we relocated from Pennsylvania over 50 years ago, and made our home in Lakewood. We raised our three children, Lynne, Don, and Matt, in the parish and school. The St. Clement’s Parish family became our family since we moved away from our hometown in Pennsylvania. We experienced and were involved in many activities within the parish and school throughout the years… These activities included Christ Renews His Parish ,the Ladies Guild, bingo, volunteering in the school library and the athletic board, member of the school board with a short stint as president, volunteering and fundraising for various other activities at both the parish and the school. We as a family are forever grateful for our parish family, our faith and the lasting friendships that developed as a result of us becoming involved in the St. Clement community.

Carm Kelly’s Story

When asked to write a special memory as a parishioner at St. Clement many came to mind. One of the most memorable ones was a conversation I had with Fr. Winters. As a faculty member of St. Clement School, several faculty members discussed the possibility of painting the school walls, which hadn’t been done in many years. After coming up with a plan, I was to schedule a meeting with Father Winters, present “our plan”, and ask permission to move forward with it.

The meeting went, as I expected. He looked at me, gave me the “hum”, he was good at giving me and said he didn’t think that it would be something that could be accomplished; and the parish didn’t have the funds to paint the school. The plan we presented was, we would get volunteers to come into the school on a Friday evening and paint the entire school. All the paint and supplies would be donated and this would be accomplished before the bell rang on Monday morning. We received Father’s permission and moved forward with “the plan”.

The donated supplies and paint arrived, the scaffolding was set up, and a great number of volunteers worked tirelessly, to accomplish our goal of painting the school over the weekend. The entire project showed the love and dedication the parishioners have for the parish and the school. It was an accomplishment that, not only the volunteers would be talking about for years to come, but everyone who stepped into the school. It was great to hear the excitement as the students came to school Monday morning.

Lastly, before we finished on Sunday evening, Father Winters walked into the school, shook his head and smiled at all the volunteers. We all knew we got his “stamp of approval” on accomplishing a great parish project.

Kathleen Linsenmeyer’s Story

The cornerstone for St. Clement Church was laid in 1922. This was also a symbolic cornerstone for Jim and Jane Higgins whose parents joined the parish in 1922. Jim was five years old but he remembers when the fund raising, 180 degrees different than today, was a “Smoker” with beer, hot dogs and boxing in the church basement.

After graduating from St. Clement School in 1931, in the depths of the Depression, the idea of attending Cathedral Latin High School was an impossible dream. That is, until Father Schmit promised to pay the tuition for any boy who would strive hard and bring a good report card to him for approval.

During the years after high school Jim and his sister, Jane, joined in the active social program, the Clementine Club, where Jim met Therese Dussault in a play called “School Daze.” He was “Mr. Education” and she was “Pansy Bluebell.”

Now, 55 years married, the Higgins’ value the education provided by the Sisters of St. Joseph for themselves and their nine children. Therese volunteered in the school library with Mrs. Rhoney and Jim was President of the Holy Name Society for an active term.

All seven of their boys participated in CYO athletics under the guidance of Ken Brunner and Bill Nortz; while their two daughters had music lessons with Sr. Monica Marie. Jim has been committed to the Adoration Chapel for 14 years. Both Therese and Jim continue to attend Mass every Sunday and sometimes during the week. “What a life, what a wonderful life”, exclaims Therese.

Barb Pollock’s (“Miss Barbara”) Story

St.Clement is FAMILY! I went to school there, taught there for 43 years (5 as co-principal) until we merged into LCA where I was for one year. St. Clement supported me when mom died, allowed me to volunteer when needed and be a Eucharistic minister. Now that I’m homebound they’re still here. Mrs. Caja brings me Communion and Sue Simmons keeps me up-to-date. I have been blessed with special friends from this spiritual family. This parish family is unique in so many ways! What a blessing they are in my life!

Sarah Reinwald’s Story

When in college, we would all gather back at Mom and Dad’s house on Christmas Eve. You see it too is the day of my brother’s birthday. In the evening we would have a big dinner celebrating Aaron’s day. Then when it was around 10p.m. we would get ready to, all walk down our luminary lit street, to celebrate another birthday, Jesus’s, at St. Clement.

Jackie Ronan’s Story

Eighteen years ago I made a big decision to convert to Catholicism and leave my church family at Lakewood Methodist. I began my journey at St Lukes and planned to attend their RCIA program. I believe that the Holy Spirit had a different plan for me.

One Monday night as I attempted to attend my first RCIA class at St Luke’s, I was directed by one of the Sisters at their convent to go over to St. Clement Church as the classes were going to be combined. (That wasn’t the case.)
I found my way over to St. Clement, found my way down to the basement classroom in the old school and was greeted by Father Winters, Sister Mary Jane and the support team, Kim, Bonnie, Jack and Sean. That was it. I found my new home, my new church family and the rest is history.

I knew that this welcoming parish and the prayerful RCIA group was the right path for me. I was happy to become part of the RCIA support team for 10 years so that I could welcome and support others on their journey.

I pray that St Clement’s will remain a prayerful, welcoming parish for another 100 years!

Patrick & Mary Tabeling’s Story

The year was 1984 when I took a new job necessitating moving my wife Mary and 2 (small at that time) children from Toledo to Lakewood. We finally moved into a double on Warren Rd. just north of Madison where we lived until 1991 … moving into a house where we could continue attending St. Clement church.

It was shortly after we moved in when we discovered that St. Clement was the closest Catholic church. At that time, we gave our children the choice of attending Lakewood public schools or St. Clement. Neither of them was interested in having to wear a uniform to school; so the decision was Grant School. When it came to selecting a Catholic church to attend, we were overwhelmed to learn about all the choices at that time. The deciding factor when selecting a church came when we discovered that Father John Wessel was assigned at St. Clement.

You see we have a long history with Father Wessel dating back to when my wife’s family knew him in Akron when he first came out of the seminary and was stationed at St. Bernard’s on Main St., near the university. My wife Mary tells stories of days when Father Wessel would come to her family picnic’s … playing Frisbee still wearing his Roman collar! It was rare, if ever, that you saw Father Wessel not wearing his cassock, gold cuff links, and Roman collar.

It was Father Wessel who presided over our wedding which was held at St. Bernard’s on June 4th 1977. Since that time, Father Wessel has baptized our children, presided over their weddings, and come to our house for dinner on Thanksgiving and Easter … whenever he “didn’t have better fish to fry”.

We attended the mass celebrating Father Wessel’s retirement as a priest. I fondly recall him always starting his homily with “My dear friends in Christ”. Every year when the weather turned warmer, you could count on a homily about how the church is air-conditioned so shorts, shower thongs, and swimwear are not appropriate mass attire. There were times when Father Wessel would try to make a joke during his homily by mentioning how the church smelled like moth balls when the seasons changed, necessitating parishioners to bring out their overcoats. He was always so serious nobody knew if they were “allowed” to laugh.

We have many good memories as parishioners at St. Clement that include being an instructor with the PSR program where I got to work with such good people as Donna Fiening, Lois Vejdovec, and Becky Zufall. Bob Zufall and I were in charge of the Youth Group. We held car washes at the Shell gas station on the corner of Warren and Madison to raise funds so the students could socialize and participate in fun activities … like a trip to King’s Island. When our children went off to college, we handed instruction of the Youth Group over to Kathy and Max Sidley.

It was Virginia O’Brien who encouraged me to consider being a Lector. I’ve served at funeral masses with Joe, and Ron. And I am a member of the Liturgy committee, first with Dick and Pat Geib when we met at their home … and now with Karen, Bob, Katie, Mike and Bernie. It is here at St. Clement that I joined the Knights of Columbus so I could work with others to serve those in need. Finally, credit goes to Father Osilka and the Cluster committee for saving St. Clement from closing. It was their efforts that are allowing us the opportunity to celebrate 100 years!

Bill & Janet Trentel’s Story

It’s hard to believe our family has been members of the St. Clement parish family for more than half of the parish’s one hundred years. So many highlights of our family’s history and spiritual lives have been shared together with our St. Clement family.

We moved into the parish in 1969. The Belle Avenue neighborhood, like most in Lakewood at the time, was full of large families filling the large homes, on our block — most of them being parish members. So the parish played a big roll, whether it was the school, CYO sports or religious celebrations. Being a family of six, we were only a medium size group; others were twice our size. Summers were filled with games and activities from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm throughout the block with only a brief break for dinner when the moms would call us home from their front porches.

So many of our family highlights and memories include our parish. Baptisms, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, marriages and burials. In addition there were CYO sports and CCD (PSR) and other social activities.

One special memory is serving as an Altar Server. Those were busy times at St. Clement with many Masses (including multiple daily Masses) and a lot of weddings and funerals to cover. I remember an annual outing for the servers. We all piled into a tour bus and spent the day at Geauga Lake. I don’t remember much adult supervision besides Fr. Fallon. Once we got to the park we were free to roam and experience the rides at the park on our own. It was quite a time for a 12 – 13 year old!

Another memory is of CYO sports. I was never much of a sports kid, but my brothers and sisters were, and being on teams with the other kids in the neighborhood just added to the experience. Mr. Nortz, from across the street, seemed to run all the teams. I particularly remember the track and cross country teams and at least once going to the cinder track at Lakewood High School to set up the track for a meet. Those experiences encouraged me to have my family participate in those activities many years later and to this day, and have enriched our family experience with our parish and faith.

One last memory was the Baptism of my children, and one special summer. In 1997 my son arrived and my brother and sister each had a baby. We all returned to St. Clement to have them Baptized together at one wonderful celebration officiated by Fr. Winters who had married both my sister and me. It was quite crowded around the Baptismal font with six parents, and six God parents, and of course three babies. Following the Mass we all gathered in the church hall to celebrate with our family and our St. Clement family. What a glorious day!

These experiences, and so many more tying family, faith and our St. Clement family together over so many years and aspects of my life, really make St. Clement a special place for me.

Jeremy Vinluan’s Story

I moved to Cleveland from Virginia Beach, Virginia back in September 2019. I eventually found Saint Clement few weeks later and made this my home parish.

Few weeks later, I went to a vigil Mass one Saturday. I was reading my Bible before Mass. I saw a woman walking in the pew in front of me and sat near me. After that Mass, the same woman turned her head toward me and told me that I would make a good priest.

Few months later, the beginning of the pandemic hit Ohio and I had already forgotten what she looked like, however I did not forget the kind words she said to me.

And now, two years later, I am still processing the great recent news that Bishop Edward Malesic had accepted me as a seminarian for the Diocese of Cleveland and had asked me to start my formation at Saint Mary Seminary this incoming August.

I had told the same story of one of the holy women of Jerusalem to Father Mark Latcovich during my admission interviews last month. Father Latcovich told me that same woman might show up on my ordination day. Only God knows!

Thank you, Saint Clement parish!