For years, there has been an unnamed street that connects MLK Blvd to Ansel Rd. just a block East of the twin towers of the historic Polish Church, St. Casimir, built in the American Architectural Style called "Polish Cathedral Style".
When St Casimir Church was closed, parishioners and people of all backgrounds gathered on the street in front of the Church for almost 3 years and prayed for intercession and re-opening. Their prayers were answered when a decree from the Vatican, dated, March 1, 2012 ordered St Casimir and 10 other churches to be re-opened.
St Casimir parishioner, John Niedzialek, whose family have been members for over a hundred years felt that an unnamed access street should have a name in order for people to easily find it. He worked with city officials for over 2 1/2 years to make " St. Casimir Way" a reality. Jimmy Skrocki, St. Casimir Alumni member came up with the idea and assisted Niedzialek with the project.
With the help of caring local elected officials, especially Councilman Kevin Conwell, the project made it through committees, was ok'd by Cleveland City Council and was signed by Mayor Frank Jackson.
After the 11:30 AM Mass on June 14, 2015, a procession marched from the Church to the roadway where a short ceremony took place and the street sign was unveiled. Parishioners were joined by children in traditional costumes, Polish Veterans groups and others.
In this video, Fr. Eric Orzech, Pastor of Saint Casimir Church, ended the celebration of Mass and led the procession to the celebration of the unveiling of the new name of the street.
Procession from St Casimir Church to new St Casimir Way street sign
Bernadette Zubel of the Polish National Alliance
Fr Eric Orzech and Wojtek Flezar
After the procession, Fr. Orzech thanked Councilman Kevin Conwell for his help in getting the street renamed.
Veteran Michael Polichuk presented Fr. Orzech with a flag from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur that had been flown over the US Capitol.
Michael Polichuk presenting US Flag
Father Orzech led the group in prayer and welcomed the Mexican immigrant family that have become parishioners of the Polish Church. The family carried the Our Lady of Czestochowa icon that they have been praying to. Father Eric then blessed the new street sign.
Fr Orzech blesses the St Casimir Way street sign
John Niedzialek, longtime parishioner of Saint Casimir Church, spoke about the process of getting the street renamed.
John Niedzialek at St Casimir Way street naming
Jimmy Skrocki and John Niedzialek
John Niedzialek then assisted a group of children in traditional Polish costumes in unveiling the road sign designating the street as St Casimir Way.
John Niedzialek unveiling the street sign
St Casimir Way
After the unveiling an altar boy played the Hejnal on trumpet.
Since it was also Flag Day, parishioner Joe Feckanin led the crowd in America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Besides those of Polish heritage there was a family of Mexican immigrants who have adopted St Casimir Church as their own as they pray to be able to stay in the US. All were grateful to be in the United States.
Congratulations to the parishioners of St Casimir Church who have overcome so many obstacles yet continue to improve their Church and Parish neighborhood.
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