Easter Traditions Thrive in Area’s Catholic Churches

One of the things that I love about Cleveland is the cultural influence of Eastern Europe that remains strong and vibrant within the multi-generational families who reside here. We see it in the neighborhoods, the architecture, the markets and food.  Likewise, we see it in the beautiful old churches that stand stoic and strong; both imposing and welcoming.

Inside their walls you still find Cleveland families taking part in an Easter tradition that goes back hundreds of years – the blessing of Easter food baskets on Holy Saturday.

The contents of the basket might vary, depending on the ethnic heritage of the bearer, but the seasonal significance is the same.  There is no “typical” basket. While unlikely to contain every component of the Easter meal, families generally abide by the traditions of their ancestors including symbolic and traditional foods or other objects. A blessing basket might contain a seasonal meat, such as ham or kielbasa, eggs, salt, butter (sometimes in the shape of a lamb), bread and even wine.  Sometimes families include personal effects, such as photos, or candles. The baskets are covered with cloth and may be adorned with spring flowers, greenery or ribbons.

In a simple ceremony, the parish priest might revisit the origins of the tradition and offer prayers of thanksgiving for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, before delivering a blessing and a sprinkling of holy water. This lasting tradition is a way for the faithful to commemorate the holiest of days, honor the traditions of generations past, and experience spiritual rebirth as the somber Lenten season gives rise to the joy Easter Sunday brings the faithful.

The Diocese of Cleveland has assembled the following list of churches offering a Blessing of the Baskets on Holy Saturday, April 19. Times vary. For additional information, contact the Diocese at 216-696-6525 or the parishes listed below.  We at Edible Cleveland wish those who celebrate Easter a very special day full of family, friends and food.

–Lisa Sands

Cuyahoga County

Bay Village, St. Raphael, 525 Dover Center Rd. @ 1:30pm

Berea, St. Adalbert, 66 Adalbert St. @ 1pm

Brecksville, St. Albert the Great Parish, 8700 Brecksville Road @ 10am & 11am

Chagrin Falls, Church of the Holy Angels, 18205 Chillicothe Road @ 3pm

Chagrin Falls, St. Joan of Arc, 496 East Washington Street @ 2pm

Cleveland, Mary Queen of Peace, 4423 Pearl Road @ noon

Cleveland, St. Mark Parish, 15800 Montrose Ave. @ 1pm

Cleveland, St. Mel Parish, 14436 Triskett Rd. @ 3pm

Cleveland, St. Michael the Archangel, 3114 Scranton Rd. @ 3:30pm

Cleveland, Our Lady of Peace, 12601 Shaker Blvd. @2pm

Euclid, St. John of the Cross, 140 Richmond Rd @ 1pm

Garfield Hts., St. Therese, 5276 East 105 @ 1 pm

Lakewood, Transfiguration, 12608 Madison Ave. @ 1pm

Middleburg Hts., St. Bartholomew, Saunder Hall, 14865 E. Bagley Rd. @ 1pm

N. Olmsted, St. Richard, 26855 Lorain Road @ 1pm

Parma, Holy Family, 7367 York Rd. @ 1pm

Parma, St. Anthony of Padua, 6750 State Road @ noon & 2pm

Parma, St. Bridget of Kildare, 5620 Hauseman Rd. @ 11am

Parma, St. Mattias the Apostle, 1200 W. Sprague Rd. @ 5pm (10 & noon Easter Sun.)

Strongsville, St. Joseph, 12700 Pearl Rd. @ 1pm


Summit County

Akron, Nativity of the Lord, 2425 Myersville Road @ 2:30pm

Akron, St. Sebastian, 476 Mull Ave @ 1pm

Fairlawn, St. Hilary, 2750 W. Market St. @ 2pm

Norton, Prince of Peace, 1263 Shannon Ave. @ noon

Stow, Holy Family, 3450 Sycamore Dr. @ 4pm


Lorain County

Avon Lake, Holy Spirit, 410 Lear Rd. @ 1pm

Elyria, St. Mary, Weigand Room, 320 Middle Ave. @ noon

Columbia Station, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 25801 Royalton Rd. @ noon

Lorain, St. Peter, 3655 Oberlin Ave. @ 1:30pm


Lake County

Eastlake, St. Justin Martyr, 35781 Stevens Blvd. @ 2pm

Mentor, St. Mary of the Assumption, 8560 Mentor Ave. @ noon

Concord, St. Gabriel, 9925 Johnnycake Ridge Rd. @1:30pm


Geauga County

Chesterland, St. Anselm, 12969 Chillicothe Rd. @ 1pm

Newbury, St. Helen, 12060 Kinsman Rd. @ 1pm


Medina County

Hinckley, Our Lady of Grace, 1088 Ridge Rd. @ noon & 2pm

Brunswick, St. Collette Parish, 330 W. 130th @ 11am


Portage County

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 342 S. Chillicothe Rd. @noon