Saint Clement, Ellsworth

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Parish History

St. Clement was established in 1914 as a Slovak parish.  The origin of the parish can be traced back to the 1890's when Slovaks began moving into the area to work in the mines.  As there were no churches nearby, the Slovaks began working with local Poles and Lithuanians to form a new parish.  Their work culminated in 1903 in the founding of St. Luke parish. 

However, a dispute soon emerged as to the nature of the parish.  The church was built primarily by the Slovak portion of the parish on land donated by a Lithuanian.  However, the largest ethnic group in the parish was the Poles.  Each group thought the church should primarily reflect their own traditions.  This dispute eventually led to the Slovaks pulling out of the parish and forming their own in 1914.

While the new church was being built, the congregation celebrated Mass in a coal company hall.  The cornerstone of the new church was laid in September of 1916 and the completed church was dedicated soon afterwards. 

As the rise of industry in the area led to the creation of the parish, the loss of industry in the late twentieth century led to its end.  By the 1990's the population of the area had dropped to the point that the area could not support the number of parishes in existence.  In February 1994, St. Clement merged with two other parishes to form the new Ave Maria parish. 

At first St. Clement remained open and, with St. Luke Church, served the new parish.  However, attendance at Mass continued to decline and the parish conducted a study to determine if it was practical to maintain two church buildings.  The study determined that the parish did not need two churches and that St. Clement should be closed.  The final Mass in the church was celebrated on September 30, 2001.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Clement Church, 2001

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