Friday, October 15, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 9

Continued from The History of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Detroit, Michigan Part 8 (Golden Jubilee book 1912-1962)

"After the war this parish responded generously to the many charitable appeals as: Catholic League for the Religious Assistance to Poland; for Polish orphans; for Polish War Veterans; for Polish American Congress; for Students at Orchard Lake, etc. The hearts of the Assumptionists were generous.

The cause of Poland was and is dear to the heart of the people of Assumption. this was evident by the warm reception given to General Haller during his visit in 1940.

For the splendid work among his people the church authority rewarded the pastor of Assumption with monsignorship and appointed him to the Board of Consultors, of the diocese.

This gradual rise in esteem with his parishioners and church authority ended in a fatal accident the First Friday of May 12, 1960.

The third pastor Rev. John Krause was appointed June 24th, 1960. Official installation took place the first Sunday of July. This was followed with a warm reception.

Since then, a systematic program of repair, improvement and decoration is in progress: a new roof on the school; fire proofing of the school; new fire alarm system; redecorating of the Convent Chapel; redecorating of the church, vestibule, sanctuary, and altars; electrifications of the church to modern standards; modernizing the confessionals and installing hearing aids. Church atmosphere was added by installing stained glass windows in the sanctuary of the church.

To give service to our people who have moved out of the district, bus service was initiated by transporting children to and from school. It will be continued for 1962-63 school year.

Extra charity work is done this year by hosing in two classrooms the diocesan mentally retarded children. As Christians we are to have compassion for others. This project should certainly warrant the Lord's blessing on the parish.

A Sunday bulletin, "Assumption Messenger", was introduced September 1960. It serves as the extended arm of the pulpit. It helps to give information that would be too lengthy to announce in church. The bulletin certainly decreased the number of phone calls as: "What time will my Mass be said?" Our people have, by means of the "Messenger", more information of the parish activity.

Another active charitable group in the parish is the Assumption Parish Goodfellows. They solicit funds before Christmas to give Christmas baskets to the poor.  Their work was so outstanding that they took first place among the Polish parishes for some years, that is, they solicited the largest sum than any other parish. In 1961 they did it again. The record speaks for itself.

Serving the needs of the souls of the parish; administering the sacraments; teaching the Gospel of Christ, and training the minds of our children; is that for which Assumption is striving for the greater glory of God in this Golden Jubilee year."

This concludes the history of the parish as written in the Silver and Golden Jubilee books. To my knowledge, there is no published history of the parish covering the years from the Golden Jubilee until the parish closed (1962-1989). If anyone is aware of a 75th anniversary/jubilee book for the parish (1987) please let me know in a comment below.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 8

The History of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Detroit, Michigan from the Golden Jubilee book (1912-1962):

"The difficult beginning of the Assumption parish is in detail in the Polish version (see History of the Parish parts 1-7): their trials and harships. This parish became a necessity by the influx of Poles in great numbers. The ordinary of the diocese appointed Father Constantine Dziuk as organizer and first pastor. Charter members worked with heart and soul cooperating with their new pastor. For lack of housing, Fr. Dziuk lived with the Peter Maciejewski family until the rectory was constructed. In the pudding lies the proof. Two sons of this family later became Franciscan monks. Such was his influence.

Land was procured; the first combination church-school was erected. School doors opened in September of 1913. The Felician Sisters conducting the school were housed in the same building. Assumption had growing pains. An addition was constructed to alleviate congestion. In the process of the construction of the new addition, Bishop Gallagher promoted Fr. Dzuik to St. Louis parish and appointed Father Adalbert Żądała successor in December of 1919. The second pastor completed the new addition. Four years later, 1923, he constructed the spacious Sister' convent. Simultaneously the second addition to the church-school combination was added, namely, a convenient entrance and vestibule. A few years later the debt was paid and mortgage was burned. The parish reached its peak of expansion in 1938 - 1939 with 1628 children in the school and over 3000 families as parishioners.

World War II began in 1939 and after some time the U.S. was drawn into the conflict. Just as other citizens responded to their obligation of service to their country, so too did Assumption parish. It has a glorious page in this history. Seven hundred thirty eight boys and young ladies gave service to their country. Among them were two chaplains, Father Venanty Szymanski and Fr. Casimir Lutomski. Of the flower of youth of the parish, 27 men gave the supreme sacrifice. Among these was Pvt. John Lyskawa, after whom a V.F.W. Post is named.

Social activities arose to a high degree. The proof of them are 14 existing trophies and a plaque for championship in bowling, basketball, baseball, and scouting. Boy Scout activity went on to reach a new high and to gain glory for the parish.

Graduates of Assumption are numerous. Assumption has its share of successful people in various professions and trades. The rudiments of Catholic doctrine for a good Catholic life were instilled here. After 50 years we look up the ladder of attainments and the fruits of hard labor of Priests and Nuns are evident"

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 7

Continued from The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 6

Currently, there are two curates working in the parish, Father Stanisław A. Kilar and Father Wiktor J. Dominas. Some alumni of Assumption Parish, already in their young years, showed a calling to the priestly profession. The move was a good example of his Reverend pastor, in his time he enrolled in higher philosophical and theological studies in the Seminary. After many years of study, Holy Orders were conferred and today they work for the Glory of God in other Polish parishes. A number of them were not little. Father Stefan Trepczyński celebrated the first mass in the Parish of the Assumption on the 24th of June, 1917, and is the present pastor in the Parish of Saint Andrew. Father Józef Naperalski, who after working for eight years in the Lord's Vineyard, died on the 15th of December, 1933. Father Piotr Wyrzykowski, Father Klemens Stoliński, Father Edward Sobczak, and Father Wenanty Szymański.

At this point in the history of the parish, there appears a list of the clergy who served at Assumption as well as those from the parish who were called to serve the Lord elsewhere. That information will be posted on a separate page. What appears next in the Silver Jubilee book is the following:

Thanks Be to God.

The Catholic Religion is a Teacher of Character

A disease of modern times is the lack of character. It is the result of various reasons, above all rationalism, liberalism, and naturalism in particular. Rationalism in the place of God the Creator declares its god -- the mind of man. Liberalism, on the other hand, declares every freedam and forgets about the freedom of the internal, of the soul, about the control of greed and passions of human beings. It forgets that it does not seem to people external freedom, if they become slaves to their passions". Naturalism indulges one, and this lower part of human nature, that is, the animal instincts, both strives for the satisfaction of the eye, lust of the body, and the pride of lige. Today, mankind dreams about pleasure, most of all about sensual delight. Inside, on the other hand, this doesn't change, even if it resulted in the harm of a fellow human being.

In nondenominational schools, which are comparatively inferior, for the most part, they remove themselves from the program of God the Creator, and they turn up ideas of animal origins of human beings. In the family home, children hear everything except about the need for the development of the heart, the will, the character. And the youngsters? The youngsters know every sports record, all the movie stars, every automobile model, and every cabaret in a given city, but nobody hears him who speaks about the value of man's soul or about character. That which Adam Mickiewicz said is correct: "Our soul must be what is moved: if this idea is not set in motion, then sensory desire moves, and then it wails for human beings".

On what, then, does the essence of an excellent character depend? It is the strength of will, with the help of which man becomes attached to certain principles, imposed by conscience. Conscience, moreover, is the work of the mind, will, and emotion-embrace by the whole soul. Character means to initiate in ones behavior a certain harmony with the law, and in an attitude with people to go to the call of conscience and reason. There is a certain power of will, awareness and independent , reliable, and [?] as well, which becomes the main factor in the actions of people, of being able to prevail over oneself. Such is a man with character in the moral sense of the word. With the aid of constant efforts of will and consistent work, he becomes a man of instinct and to feel his own. He exerts control not only over his deeds, but also over his emotions and thoughts.

The fasting doesn't get thinner, the mass doesn't wash away,
Don't ask where hell is, or how to avoid it,
The cross on Golgotha won't save him,
Who to us, in his heart, doesn't show the cross.
Where there is a full temple, there is an empty prison,
Who serves God, God doesn't incur debts.

From "Silver Jubilee Souvenir Booklet of the Church of the Assumption 1912-1937", Detroit, Michigan. Translation from Polish to English by Stephen Danko, 2007.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 6

Continued from The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 5

Various games and bazaars were held for the purpose of reducing the debt, they were more and more frequent. And what happened was almost unbelievable. In September 1930, Father Wojciech Żądała, with the help of the noble, willing, and dedicated parishoners, finally paid the last penny of the debt. Amidst the total happiness, the mortgage papers were formally burned.

In the years of the Great Depression, so well of every well-known, large parish not only, that it could not confidently pay off the amount of their debts, not even the interest , and instead of reducing their debt, they increased it more and more. Thanks to the frugality of the manager of the parish, Father Wojciech Żądały, the Parish of the Assumption didn't feel any financial difficulty during these years of economic stagnation. The Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of few parishes in Detroit that are free from debt. It is because it is completely paid off.

Besides the apartments for the Sisters, the current pastor Father Wojciech Żądała built a large and suitable entry in the front of the church and school. The cost of this addition, which was completed in 1935, amounted to $12,000.00. The old entrance was too narrow and inconvenient, and in winter even dangerous. In this current year of 1937, the year of the silver jubilee celebrations of the establishment of the parish, the Reverend pastor made various improvements and repairs. The exteriors of all parish buildings, and both the interiors and exteriors of the church and school were painted.

In August, in the place of the old main altar, a new and splendid altar was constructed, and in the extended sanctuary, a new banister. These improvements cost over $10,000.00. The jubilee celebration deserves improvements and additions, which is why the parish spared no money, which was lying in the bank, for the improvements. The priestly vicar at the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because the parish was rapidly growing, the same Reverend pastor managed to be of service to the parish, the Reverend Bishop marked the priestly vicar to help the Reverend pastor. From the beginning, with a lack of priestly help of Polish descent in the Detroit diocese, priestly professors from the Polish Seminary at Orchard Lake came with priestly help on Saturdays and Sundays. Later, when a number of young priests grew up in the diocese, the Reverend Bishop appointed priests on a permanent curate.

From "Silver Jubilee Souvenir Booklet of the Church of the Assumption 1912-1937", Detroit, Michigan. Translation from Polish to English by Stephen Danko, 2007.

To Be Continued...

Monday, October 4, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 5

Continued from The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 4

The second epoch was the epoch of the later development of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; this was the epoch of the parish rector Father Wojciech Ządała. It is true that in this second epoch t. j. from December 1919, construction was not seen in as large a scale as in the previous epoch, but this was only because all the buildings were already constructed. If necessity is the mother of inventions, just as soon as the construction was cleared up, it was needed again. The new pastor, Father Wojciech Ządała, did not think about future construction, but concentrated all efforts to repay the debt weighing on the parish.

Because of the rapid growth of the parish and the necessary construction of parish buildings, the parish was in debt for $113,100.00. At first glance, this was this enormous sum, but after examination of the number of buildings, this debt was unavoidable. Easily I contribute with worldly fortunes if this parish doesn't have any financial obligations, and if the parishioners readily contribute their offerings, but to lessen this debt isn't child's play, but truly is an enormous effort. Father Wojciech Ządała didn’t lose time. He knew well, because common sense dictates so, that the sooner the debt was paid off, the more and sooner the parishioners would be unburdened. It wasn’t difficult to predict the intentions of the new rector. This was his opinion and conviction that if the debt, however long it weighed on them, they would pay twice as much in interest. Thus, his foremost intention was to liberate the parish from overwhelming debt as quickly as possible.

It is generally said that it is easy to incur debt and to borrow money to construct a huge building, but difficult to repay the debt incurred. On that score, Father Wojciech Ządała proved to be a very talented manager, because year in and year out he paid off the imposing debt on the parish. And in this way, thanks to his savings, which is his outstanding mark, he saved the parish a respectable sum of money, usually turning a percentage in this critical time of depression which was later communicated itself to all, and especially to his indebted parishioners. Naturally the parishioners grew in number, and in measure of this growth, the shortage of places in the school was felt more and more clearly. Until now, the teaching Sisters living on the last story of the school building were deprived of every household comfort.

With the thought of turning the former apartment of the Sisters in the school into the necessary classrooms, for the heretofore overcrowded children, Father W. Ządała conceived a plan for erecting a residential home for the Sisters. After receiving the proper permission from the authorities, he got down to work. The work on this building began in October of 1923, and not until the next year was the Sisters’ residence finally completed. The Sisters’ residential building, except for the chapel and the lower common lodgings, it housed 24 small rooms called cells, and was built at a cost of $52,000.00. Now the teaching Sisters, after working all day teaching the children in the school, could rest comfortably. Without exaggerating in the least, we can claim that in the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Reverend Sisters have one of the most comfortable and splendid homes, not only in the city of Detroit, but also in all of America.

In spite of the eager donations of almost all families in the parish, the composite amount was insufficient for this goal. Which is why, to reduce the debt quickly, a large part of the cost of the home for the Sisters was linked to the existing debt, and in this way the debt for the parish increased considerably. This worried the Reverend Pastor quite a bit, and he spoke to the dedicated hearts of the parishioners. On the other hand, seeing the thriftiness of the Reverend Pastor in leading the parish, they rose to the highest level, the parishioners, with Father Ządała standing at the forefront, retired this debt in a comparatively short time.

From "Silver Jubilee Souvenir Booklet of the Church of the Assumption 1912-1937", Detroit, Michigan. Translation from Polish to English by Stephen Danko, 2007.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 4

Continued from The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 3

After a few conferences of the parish board, the project was approved. Permission was received from diocesan authorities to begin the work immediately. Until now, only the front part of the building was standing, in which was located seven classes and housing for the sisters on the second and third floors, and on the first a church for 500 people. It was decided to build to this standing part, a part right back to the alley. The second part of the building was significantly larger than the front part, because it added 12 classes in the school, and over 1000 seats in the church. The parish suffered somewhat in this undertaking because, while the building was under construction, the rear, that is, the new part, came down, that is, it collapsed because of a mistake of the architect. Nobody wanted to accept the blame, and so the matter was referred to the municipal court. The court issued a ruling against the parish, affirming that the collapse was caused by the inadequate plans of the architect, and not the respective contractors. The cost of the addition, that is, the second and larger part of the building, together with the damages imposed by the court, amounted to $105,608.59. This addition was completed in the year 1919.

With this, the first period of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary ended.

From the 18th of December 1919, the second period began. The years that Father Dziuk, the organizer and first pastor of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary spent there were years of great movement in building. Besides the usual priestly work, most of the time he had to light the way for meditation as if of the best and cheapest it was possible to construct and maintain the necessary buildings. In December 1919, the Reverend Bishop Gallagher, while giving the first pastor the proper acknowledgment for the work accomplished in the building and development of our parish, he released him from future obligations at this parish. Like a ship without a hand to guide it, it was not possible to reach the harbor without peril of breaking up and sinking, and so our parish, without an appropriate guiding hand, the spiritual fate of the parish and the material fate of this parish could not survive. And so, the Reverend Bishop, who took over the administration of the Detroit Diocese after the death of his predecessor in 1918, having seen the beneficial and productive work of Father Wojciech Ządała in the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Wyandotte, Michigan, appointed him to the rectory of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in December 1919.

Naturally, at every change of pastors, there is always anxiety among the parishioners about whether the next one following the predecessor will also introduce a new administration, which will not recognize the predecessor. So, when we get accustomed to a usual order for ourselves, it usually turns out that every change is perceived as a disadvantage for the parish. Every administrator, on any side, more or less tramples on the path of his predecessor, but each possesses certain individual methods and personal ideas of administration. It happens frequently that, after such a change, certain administrative changes will occur, not to show superiority by this, but just because everyone applies his own method in certain circumstances, as appropriate.

From "Silver Jubilee Souvenir Booklet of the Church of the Assumption 1912-1937", Detroit, Michigan. Translation from Polish to English by Stephen Danko, 2007.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 3

Continued from The History of the Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part 2

Walking by now to the second section of parish work, we see that soon after the completion of the combined building, and fairly after the summer holidays, in September of 1913, with the efforts of the Reverend Pastor, Sister Felicia deigned to accept the school and take care of the education of the children in the school. The teachings began in September, when 343 children enrolled in the school. In the first year there were only 5 sisters teaching with Sister M. Maryna as the superior, and these sisters lead seven grades of classes. Because the number of students significantly increased the next year, eight levels of classes were added and the number of sisters was doubled. Not until the year 1915 did our school distribute the first graduations from the eight classes in number six. Year after year, the number of students attending classes increased and, in proportion, there was a increase in the number of sisters teaching.

The Felician Sisters, well known everywhere in the educational domain in elementary schools wherever Poles are found, from their conscientiousness, inculcating in young hearts a knowledge of the holy faith and the development of mental attitudes in secular education, and with persistence in keeping their language and their souls Polish. If after so many years still today they hear the Polish language and see the Polish soul, in the first place, we must credit our righteous Felician Sisters. It's no wonder that our compatriots, despite all efforts from the side of the dissenters, desiring all possible ways to us of the true faith, they still stand strongly before the Church of Christ. Like the priest in the pulpit, the Sisters in the school work with all their might to maintain this Holy Faith.

The parish school in which, except for subjects clearly secular, is also the religion instruction, it is truly the anchor of the church. As long as our school was overcrowded with children, we could be secure that Poles would not lose the faith of their fathers, and that the Polish spirit would not disappear. The maintenance of the parish school required a huge donation from the Catholic community, because not only did they support the parish school with their offerings, but, through taxes, were also obliged to support the public schools, from which they received no benefit. Our parish schools, in spite of this, taught Polish and Religion, stood even higher in secular subjects than the public schools. This happened repeatedly but almost always, that the children after completion of the eighth grade in the parish school, not having the opportunity to study in comparative Catholic schools, out of necessity succeed in further study in comparative public schools, they led the way in all subjects.

Year after year, the school of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary grew splendidly. The best developments were the following figures. In 1913 at the beginning there were only 343 students and five Sisters teaching, and there were only 6 graduates in June 1915. Today, in 1937, we have more than 1100 students and 18 Sisters teaching, and our school annually produces around 115 graduates from the eighth grade.

After the completion of the combined building, the church, school, and apartments for the Sisters, Father Konstanty Dziuk, who up until now, as mentioned above, lived in a house rented from Mr. Piotr Maciejewski on 28th Street, from where he conducted all his work, immediately began to work on the rectory building on the parish grounds. He began this work at the end of 1913, and after six months, that is in March 1914, was complete, at a cost of $17,084.74. The next stage of construction happened in 1917. Now, it turned out that from the guidelines, the parish was still expanding. In the course of time, it was perceived that, in the school as well as in the church, there was not enough space in order to house everything. There was only one way out of this situation; it was immediately necessary to add to the existing building a middle school and church.

From "Silver Jubilee Souvenir Booklet of the Church of the Assumption 1912-1937", Detroit, Michigan. Translation from Polish to English by Stephen Danko, 2007.

To Be Continued...