The latest news and the bishop’s decrees on the merger of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish with St. Emeric Parish

FROM THE DESK OF FR. BONA: (Nov. 19, 2023)

A summary for our longtime St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church parishioners, alumni and friends who may not be fully aware of the new arrangement for our church.

Over the past number of years, we have experienced a decline in attendance at our single Sunday Bi-Lingual Mass due to the aging of our parishioners, yet we noticed a strong desire by some people for the Latin Mass that was said here on Saturday mornings. Then, earlier this year, The Institute of Christ the King the Sovereign Priest (an order from outside of Cleveland dedicated to saying the traditional Latin Mass) asked the Bishop if there was a suitable place that might house them to provide a daily and Sunday Latin Mass for the people of our diocese. Our church seemed like a good fit and a suitable use for our beautiful building.  It also ensured the upkeep and maintenance of our heritage church as those responsibilities would be assumed by the Institute in exchange for use of our facility while we retained ownership.

To accommodate this transition, the Bishop permitted us to merge our parish with St. Emeric into a single Catholic Hungarian parish where an English and a Hungarian  Mass is celebrated each Sunday. Furthermore, in his decree the Bishop, stated:  “I hereby establish at Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Church a diocesan shrine for the promotion of the Christian heritage of the Hungarian people as well as for divine worship according to the liturgical books in use prior to the reform of 1970.”

Though this change will have us come together here at the church on only special occasions throughout the year, you are welcome to come here to pray at any time. Those with connections to this church may celebrate some sacraments and funerals here as well (in coordination with the rector, the shrine’s schedule and myself).

Finally, (1) if you would like to support the new merged Hungarian parish, the mail-in checks should now be sent addressed to “St.Emeric Church” at 1860 West 22nd Street, Cleveland, OH 44113. (2) If you would like to support the Hungarian heritage aspects of the shrine church and the church building itself, the checks should be addressed to “St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church Trust” either to St. Emeric’s address or to the St. Elizabeth address at 9016 Buckeye Rd. Cleveland, OH  44104.  Please note the words TRUST in the address and on the check designate this contribution for this purpose. (3) If you desire to support the mission and ministry of the Institute of Christ the King at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth, the check should be made out to “The Shrine of St. Elizabeth of Hungary” at 9016 Buckeye Road, Cleveland, 44104.

Fr. Richard Bona, Pastor of St. Emeric

FROM THE DESK OF FR. BONA: (Sept. 24, 2023)

(1) On Sunday, Sept. 24, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (many just refer to them as “the Institute”) begins their administration of the Shrine of St. Elizabeth. Canon James Hoogerwerf has been named the new rector of the Shrine as of September 24, which means that my assignment as rector of the Shrine has concluded. Canon Hoogerwerf is accompanied by a seminarian who will provide help in the liturgy and around the Shrine. We are working together to make the transition as smooth as possible.

(2) Consequently, we, as a parish, now get together at one worship site. Welcome to all from St. Elizabeth church who are beginning to attend St. Emeric church. My hope is that as Hungarian Catholics in Cleveland we will continue to support one another and form a strong community.

(3) Since we are no longer directly involved in the pastoral and temporal administration of the Shrine of St. Elizabeth, we will no longer publish the bulletin for St. Elizabeth. We will still publicize matters related to us that are happening over there in our parish’s bulletin, but publishing the Shrine’s bulletin is now the Institute’s responsibility.

(4) I know that I have mentioned it before, but just to refresh our memory: even though we are now coming together at St. Emeric, those who have connections to St. Elizabeth, can have their baptisms, weddings, funerals at St. Elizabeth. In that case, I would preside over the liturgical services that we can have in Hungarian (or mixed, or in English).

FROM THE DESK OF FR. BONA: (Sept. 17, 2023)

(1) At. St. Elizabeth Shrine we celebrated our last bilingual Mass on Sept. 17. I know that it is a sad experience for many of us, but we are not leaving St. Elizabeth behind. Occasionally, we will return to celebrate Mass there and get together as a community. Thank you to all of you who are helping at this time of transition. There is still a lot of work left to make the church, rectory and everything ready to hand over.

(2) All the registered parishioners of St. Elizabeth automatically became members of the new St. Emeric parish on August 14th. Since we continued to have two worship sites, for practical purposes I have kept the administration of these two sites separate. Now that we are going down to one main worship site, we are merging and centralizing the different aspects of administration. Thus, for example, I will be merging the list of the parishioners of St. Elizabeth with the list of St. Emeric. We have some envelopes available for those who would like to have envelopes for the rest of the year. Please contact Ildikó Peller after the Sunday Masses here at St. Emeric to obtain envelopes. She will be in St. Stephen’s Room (the northeast corner of the church).

(3) Just a reminder. Since St. Emeric parish will lease the shrine to Institute of Christ the King the Sovereign Priest and no longer will administer the daily operations, the parishioners coming from St. Elizabeth Shrine, please, make out the checks to “St. Emeric Church.” The trust fund established for the support of the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church will continue and is restricted to capital improvements to the shrine church. In the future, I will publish information for those who would like to donate to that fund.

(4) On Sunday, September 24, we will be together as one community at Mass for the first time. (Please, see below the announcement about the changed Mass schedule.) I know that St. Emeric church is familiar to many. After the Mass next week, we will have an agapé, a get together in the St. Emeric Hall for food and fellowship and especially to welcome St. Elizabeth parishioners, who will be making St. Emeric their new spiritual home.

NEW MASS SCHEDULE BEGINS SEPTEMEBR 24: IMPORTANT!!! After consultation and hearing the feedback, we will have the following Mass schedule. On Sunday, there will be a 9AM Mass in English and 11AM Mass in Hungarian. 5PM Mass on Saturday will remain as is.

FROM THE DESK OF FR. BONA: (Sept. 10, 2023) I have received a confirmation that the Institute of Christ the King the Sovereign Priest, the religious order that will take over the administration of St. Elizabeth Shrine, will celebrate its first Sunday Mass on September 24. Consequently, our last regular bilingual 9:15AM Mass will be next Sunday, September 17. We will have a couple of other Masses throughout the year there, and there is nothing preventing you from going there for Mass on some occasion.

PROPOSED MASS SCHEDULE CHANGE: Looking into the future, with the merger of the parishes and the shrine being established, it is possible to adjust our Mass schedule. At this time, I am thinking of moving the Sunday 11:15AM Hungarian Mass back to 11AM. This would provide extra time for a suitable transition to our occasional events afterwards. I am also thinking of introducing a Sunday 9AM Mass in English. Not all our English-speaking people can come to 5PM on Saturday and the nearby churches, I noticed, do not have 9AM Mass time (only 8:30AM and 10AM). 5PM Mass on Saturday would remain as is, but on occasion (and depending on the attendance) it could be held at St. Elizabeth Shrine. These changes would come into effect on September 24th. Please let me know what you think. Thank you

FROM THE DESK OF FR. BONA: (Aug. 20, 2023) This is our first weekend together as one parish, albeit with two worship sites. Even though the circumstances that made us come together may not be the happiest, nevertheless I believe that this will make us better equipped to preserve Hungarian Catholicism in Cleveland for a very long time. As I indicated in the previous bulletin, we are beginning to merge the operations, but this process will not be complete for few weeks. For the time being, we are continuing the same Mass schedule. However, with the shrine being later administered by the coming religious order, Masses will be readjusted and the possibility of adding a Mass may open up as well. Please, let me know your thoughts on our future Mass schedule. Also, temporarily, I will be preparing only one bulletin for both the parish church and the shrine. Once the shrine will be administered by the religious order, they will become responsible for the shrine bulletin.

Posted August 4, 2023:

Please find below the documents from our diocesan Bishop Edward C. Malesic related to the merger of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish with St. Emeric Parish and the establishment of a shrine at St. Elizabeth Church. As it was announced several months ago, the difficult situation at St. Elizabeth necessitated and intensified the search for ways of saving St. Elizabeth and its Hungarian heritage for the long term. With the coincidental plan of a religious order seeking a place to minister in our diocese, it was possible to find the best solution to the current situation (not a perfect one which satisfies everyone, as that is impossible).

In the merger, St. Elizabeth remains a part of the newly merged Hungarian parish and is elevated to a shrine. St. Emeric Church will retain its parish title. In the near future, a religious order will come and will assume the responsibility for the daily operations of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Shrine with certain privileges for Hungarian Catholics.

The posted documents relate to the first phase of this transition. As further developments emerge, they will be posted here and announced at both churches during weekend Masses. Until further notice, the Mass schedules will remain the same.

Fr. Richard Bona
Pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Emeric parishes

Merging of parishes decree:

Establishing shrine decree:

Shrine establishment instructions:


Ez a bejegyzés olvasható Hungarian nyelven is.

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