George J. Malinich
May 1, 1925 - May 26, 2001
The Carpathian Connection wishes to acknowledge the countless hours spent by Mr. George J. Malinich who compiled information for this page. George passed away on May 26, 2001 and all who knew him were graced by his gentle demeanor and depth of genuine character. Born in Conemaugh, Pennsylvania, a son of George and Anna Bules Malinich, he received a bachelors degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. George served his country valiantly during World War II in the Navy (SeaBees) and received the Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Point System and Two Asiatic Pacific Stars. A faithful communicant of St. Matthias Slovak Roman Catholic Church, he was a lector and also designed a web page about St. Matthias. George was a tireless champion of all Slovak based organizations. He was voted “1999 Man of the Year” by The American Slovak Cultural Association of The Manoning Valley, Inc., of Youngstown, Ohio and was also a past trustee. A man of superior talents, he hosted the on-air WKTL Radio’s “Slovak Hour” based in Ohio, assisted yearly with The Miss Ohio Czech-Slovak Queen Pageant and was involved with other groups and organizations. George was a steadfast family researcher and his natural enthusiasm was appreciated and admired. To his credit, he compiled and printed a “First Edition” of his family history. Unfortunately, he was not able to complete the final edition of his research. As a testament to George, the first edition was displayed during his wake. For a researcher/genealogist, having compiled research viewed in your memory is the ultimate honor. We are honored that the work he offered to us for viewing will be a permanent legacy to this gifted and distinguished man.
of The Mahoning Valley, Inc.
The American Slovak Cultural Association of the Mahoning Valley, Youngstown, Ohio was formed on July 5, 1976 to participate in America's Bi-Centennial Celebration. This date coincided with the Centennial Anniversary of the arrival of Slovaks into the Mahoning Valley. The Association continued to meet and on June 27,1991, presented Articles of Incorporation to the Ohio Secretary of State. The incorporation was finalized on September 2, 1993.
The Association's purpose is to display and nurture the cultivation of Slovak cultural and to preserve and pass on the traditions of their heritage. During the Youngstown Bi-Centennial "Grand Parade" our float won the premier prize. It was entitled "From Slovakia to the Moon" and on the float was Astronaut Captain Eugene Cernan who on three occasions commanded flights to the moon. He is of Slovak descent, his grandparents were born in Vysaka, Slovakia.
The Association's specific purposes are to promote and preserve the Slovak language, heritage, cultural and civic activities through the dissemination of literature, music, history ideals and to implement scholarship grants.
In 1976 the association published a documentary entitled, "History of Slovaks in the Mahoning Valley--1876 to 1976."
The association meets 4 times a year: February--May--August--November. Membership dues must be paid by February 1 of each year and are valid until the end of that year.
The Association has a Slovak Display Booth at the Canfield Fair, a Slovak Scholarship Picnic with all proceeds going towards Scholarship grants to students of Slovak descent of the Mahoning Valley and a Traditional Slovak Vilija Dinner on the second Sunday of December.
We encourage all Slovaks in the Mahoning Valley to join us in carrying on our Slovak Traditions and pass them on to our children and grandchildren. As the first line of the Slovak National Anthem states "Hej Slovaci! este nasa slovenska rec zije", (Heh, Slovaks! our Slovak language still lives). So its up to us to see that it continues to live.
Youngstown, Ohio - 1913 to 1998
Original Wooden Church - 1915
The present Saint Matthias Roman Catholic Slovak Church is located on the southeast side of Youngstown, which was called Lansingville in the early 1900s.
In 1913, a handful of Slovak families from Lansingville, who attended Saints Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Slovak Church, met regularly and with the assistance and advice of the pastor of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Reverend Oldrich Zlamal, petitioned The Most Reverend John Farrelly, Bishop of the Cleveland Diocese, to authorize the establishment of the Saint Matthias Parish in Lansingville. In 1914, permission was granted and the Slovak people of Lansingville enthusiastically and gratefully received the newly ordained Father John Gerenda, shown at the left, as their first pastor.
Minutes of a July 5, 1914 meeting of the new church, indicated 35 families in attendance and a week later, 52 families attended another meeting indicating their strong support of the new parish. Construction of the new church, a wooden frame structure began and was dedicated on July 5, 1915. During construction of the church, masses were offered in the “Gergus family home” on Homewood Avenue shown at the right in a 1914 photograph. Financial assistance and other support was generously offered by Saints Cyril and Methodius Church.
In 1917, a rectory of red brick was constructed and in September of that same year the first parish school was opened in the basement of the church, consisting of grades one through four. The remaining grades, students went to Adams School. The Slovak Vincentian Sisters of Charity from Perrysville, Pa. were in charge of the parish school and a convent for them was built in 1921.
The Reverend John M. Gerenda served the parish until February 4, 1922, at which time The Reverend Francis Kozelek, shown at the left, was appointed pastor. In the 1922 Census of Slovak People Living in Mahoning County, a list of 276 different Slovak surnames in the Lansingville area are noted. The parish grew so rapidly that the church was found to be too small to serve its needs and on June 18, 1925, a new church of red brick with sandstone trimming was begun to replace the wooden church. It was built on the corner of Indianola and Homewood Avenues. On June 13, 1926 the new church was dedicated by The Most Reverend Joseph Schrembs. The wooden church was then remodeled and grades five and six were added. Grades seven and eight were then opened in the basement of the new church. Some of the students that went to Adams School after the fourth grade returned to the Saint Matthias School. The first eighth grade class, graduated on June 19, 1927. There were 13 girls and 12 boys in the class.
Rectory and Brick Church - 1925
In 1929, marble altars were installed in the new church and consecrated in 1932 by The Most Reverend James A. McFadden, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland.
The Reverend Francis Kozelak resigned on May 1, 1938, and Bishop Schrembs appointed a native son of the parish, The Reverend John G. Hamrak, shown at the left, as Saint Matthias’ new pastor. Under his guidance, the parish advanced in spiritual strength, increased in membership and more frequent reception of the sacraments. Saint Matthias School increased in enrollment to nearly 400 students.
In August 1948, the parish community had increased to 625 families and it was decided to purchase 7 ½ acres of property bordered by Shady Run Road, Florida and Cornell Avenues, and Zedaker Street. This property was located more in the center of the parish population. The parishioners were unanimous in building a new school on the new property.
Saint Matthias School - 1952
Approval to build the school was given by The Most Reverend Emmet M. Walsh in October 1950. Ground breaking for the school took place in February 1951 and was completed on September 8, 1952. The new school was a vast improvement for students and teachers. The enrollment at this time had reached 463 students.
Saint Matthias Convent - 1957
In November 1957, a new convent to house 16 sisters was completed on Cornell Avenue. This new building was a vast improvement in living quarters for the sisters, who for 40 years lived in limited facilities.
In May 1961, Saint Matthias Parish was honored as The Reverend John Hamrak was rewarded for his priestly work by being made a Domestic Prelate with the title of “Right Reverend Monsignor” by His Holiness, Pope John XXIII.
Monsignor John G. Hamrak was called to his eternal reward by the Heavenly Father on February 18, 1965. The Reverend George Winca, shown at the left, a former associate pastor at Saint Matthias, became the parish pastor on March 25, 1965.
In 1966, the parishioners of Saint Matthias became separated from Rev. George M. Winca their church by the construction of Interstate Highway 680 , causing many parishioners on Homewood and Taylor Avenues to move elsewhere. The interstate dissected the parish, causing the church and rectory to be east of the freeway and the school, convent, and a majority of the parishioners west of the freeway. The only solution to the problem was to construct the rectory, offices, and church on the new property. Permission was granted by the bishop to build the priest’s rectory and office facilities on the Cornell Avenue and Zedaker Street location. On July 1, 1968 the buildings were completed.
Saint Matthias Rectory - 1968
For the parishioners it was a dream to have all the parish facilities at one location and this dream became a reality when the construction of the church began on November 6, 1971 on the corner of Cornell Avenue and Zedaker Street next to the rectory.
Saint Matthias Church - 1973
On April 8, 1973 dedication of the church was held. The church is of contemporary style and seats 582 parishioners in a semi-circular arrangement. Many of the new church items were salvaged from the old church. The rose window that graced the back of the old church is now a backdrop to the tabernacle in the front of the new building. All of the stained glass windows were worked into the new structure. Other items that are used in the new church is the organ, part of the old altar, and the huge crucifix which is suspended by black chains and hangs over the sanctuary. On the outside, the huge copper bell and the cornerstone of the old church is encased in a special-designed encasement.
In the spring of 1974, The Reverend George Winca retired and The Reverend Francis Snock, shown at the left, former assistant pastor to Monsignor Hamrak, was appointed pastor.
From 1975 to 1987 there was continual renovations and remodeling to modernize the facilities, including the school kitchen, auditorium, renovation of the 62 year old organ, new roofs on the school and convent and landscaping the entire property.
In May of 1988, the Marian Shrine, on the northwest portion of the property, was dedicated and in September 1988, the Kindergarten was added to the curriculum.
The Reverend Francis Snock retired in August 1994 and The Reverend Peter M. Polando, shown at the left, was appointed pastor. In addition to being pastor of Saint Matthias, he serves as judge in the diocesan tribunal. On March 23, 1997, Saint Matthias Parish was again honored, as The Reverend Peter M. Polando was rewarded for his priestly work by being appointed “Chaplain of His Holiness”, by Pope John Paul II. His title now is Reverend Monsignor Peter M. Polando.
Renovations and repairs continued to the property and computers were added to the school.
Today there are 1127 families registered at Saint Matthias. The school is the only Slovak school in Youngstown with 164 students and is the only school that requires its students to attend daily mass before school.
Saint Matthias continues to be a vibrant parish community and many of its members are first and second generation American-Slovaks who treasure the heritage of their Slovak ancestors. Saint Matthias Slovak Parish community is proud that it has been able to continue its positive influence on the upper south side of the City of Youngstown (Lansingville) and hopes to be a visible presence there for many more years to come.
Written by George Malinich - June 24, 1997
Edited by Reverend Monsignor Peter M. Polando September 1, 1998
Information was obtained from:
The History of the Slovak People of the Mahoning Valley by The Slovak Bicentennial Committee
The Saint Matthias 75th anniversary booklet
1921 Encyclopedia of Youngstown
1922 Census of Slovaks in the Mahoning Valley