Father Marty wants people to be the best they can be
"You can't do what you can't do, but you can become what you can become," says Father Martin Polito of Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church. Father Marty cites the negativism that some people have about Collinwood and believes that people arelooking for a way to be positive. While Polito acknowledges that Collinwood has lost some of its economic status, he nonetheless feels that there is much potential in Collinwood.
Growing up in Euclid, Polito is a graduate of St. Joe's Villa Angela High School, of Borromeo Seminary and St. Mary's Seminary. He is a priest of the diocese of Cleveland.
"My dad had a beverage store on East 152nd Street, but was disabled in mid-life. My mother went out and got a job so my father took care of things at home--a sort of role reversal. This taught me to look at things not as I wished them to be, but as they were. My mother had five kids to raise and had to go out to work as a cook or whatever job she could find. I learned early on to deal with reality."
As a priest, after his graduate work, Father Marty was at Holy Redeemer from 1976-1981, at St. Wencenslaus in Maple Heights from 1981-86 and at Lake Catholic 1986-1996. He then returned to Holy Redeemer where he has been ever since.
Holy Redeemer Parish is composed of 550 families and has an Italian background. It was founded in 1924. It began as a wooden church; the church was originally in front of the gym. In 1959, the new church ws built. Originally Holy Redeemer had a Roman Catholic school, but that school is now a contract school, Hope Academy. Kindergarten through first grade is in the back with grades four through eighth in the school building.
Every June, the Trdicina of St. Anthony or "Thirteen days of Prayer" is celebrated with services and speakers and a procession through the neighborhood with St. Anthony and the Blessed Virgin. The carnival aspect of the fair is gone but there is a sense of giving something of substance to those who have lost something--a house, a job, a relationship or something else.
While one's religion is important, Father Marty says, he thinks that how one lives is equally so. "We're all [in Colliwood]willing to give something. For example, we don't throw rubbish on the street and we are friendly and helpful to others of whatever faith or race. There is no need to have a racial or religious division."
The Holy Redeemer community consists not only of the church, but of the catering hall: Redeemer on the Avenue, the sisters of Notre Dame, who serve in area schools, and the apartment at Holy Redeemer Senior Facility, which was built on the grounds that housed the old W.H. Brett School.
Also on the staff of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church are Sister Carmen Hocevar, O.S.U. Pastoral Associate and Reverend Carl D'Agnostino in Residence.
Parishioner Ernestine Bellini says of Father Marty, "He helps you when you are sick and will bring communion to you. He is very compassionate."
Masses are held weekdays at 8 a.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 a.m, 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 am. For further information, call Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church at 216-531-3313.