Filed Under Events

The Feast of the Assumption

Holy Rosary Church on Mayfield Road was constructed in 1892 to fulfill the need of Cleveland's Italian population for a Catholic institution. The church, located in historic Little Italy, is a staple in the Italian community and has been so since its construction. Not only does the church provide Catholic services to its parishioners. It also sponsors a festival every year that originated back in Italy and is celebrated all over the world. The festival is known as the Feast of the Assumption and celebrates Virgin Mary's passage into Heaven. The festival takes place over three days.

During the festival, a statue of Virgin Mary is paraded down the streets while crowds of people follow the virgin and put money on it as a donation for the church and its charities. The festival is also a time when the people of Little Italy can show their wares and cooking skills to both the community and to the thousands of other people who come to partake in the festival and festivities. Some of the money raised by the festival goes to various charities in and around the neighborhood as well as the parochial school that was built to accommodate the many inhabitants of Little Italy.

The Feast of the Assumption continues to this day as people still attend for both the services and the celebration. It is a time of great celebration but still remains true to its faith and purpose - the materialization of the Assumption of Mary.

The festival is celebrated in mid-August every year.

Audio

The Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy Mr. Frank Fiorilli and Mr. Richard Gallitto, members of Holy Rosary Church, comment on the annual parish festival. The religious feast has been celebrated more than 100 years in the neighborhood. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Holy Rosary Church The Holy Rosary Church is located on 12021 Mayfield Road in Little Italy. The church was built in 1892 to serve the Italian Catholic community in Cleveland. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Press Collection. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
The Statue of Mary A procession of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary takes place during the Feast of the Assumption. People attach monetary donations to the statue. The monies help fund the church and the church's programs, services and charities. The festival is not unique to Cleveland's Little Italy. Instead, it is held throughout the world, only sometimes under a different name. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Press Collection. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Crowds Gather for the Feast Thousands of people from all over Ohio gather on Mayfield Road and E. 120th Street in Little Italy to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. The crowded scene pictured here is just one street down from where the Church is located on Coltman and Mayfield Road. The celebration takes place over three days in August. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Press Collection. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Man Selling Goods at the Festival It is common practice for members of the Italian community to sell their wares along Mayfield Road during the festival. This became more common as more people began attending the festival in later years. After the 1970s, when the racial tensions in the nation started to wane, an increased number of people who were neither Italian nor Catholic also started to show up for the festival. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Press Collection. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Crowds Gather to Worship Like the streets outside, the Holy Rosary Church is filled to the brim with people during the Feast of the Assumption. The Feast is held on August 15, after the Holy Day of Mary's Assumption to Heaven. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Press Collection. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Holy Rosary Church Interior Looking at the inside of the Holy Rosary Church when it is empty helps create an impression of the great size of the building. Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Press Collection. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Stained Glass of the Church The Holy Rosary Church is known for its architectural and aesthetic beauty, including its stained glass windows. Image Courtesy of Michael Sharaba.

Location

Metadata

Michael Sharaba, “The Feast of the Assumption,” Cleveland Historical, accessed January 19, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/377.