Friday, October 1, 2010

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

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

As in any matter, as indeed it was in the establishment of the new parish, the beginnings were exceedingly difficult. For raising the Lord’s Temple, schools, apartments for the reverend sister teachers and the pastor, and at the same time for the land on which they had to erect these buildings, a huge sum of money was needed. The difficulties were so great that, in this district, city law prohibited the construction of any public building from wood. All buildings had to be of brick. The question was, how and from where could adequate funds be collected for all this. Even wise Solomon wouldn’t know how to obtain money from an empty pocket.

So, what to do? The parish books show that on the 17th of July 1911, Father Dziuk went from home to home, appealing to the generous hearts of his countrymen. In spite of the generosity of his noble compatriots, the amount collected was too little to begin such a large project. There lived at this time a certain benefactor of Detroit's Polonia on the eastern side of the city by the name of Tomasz Mółkowski, to whom God did not begrudge things of this world, because he supported every charitable purpose materially and morally. Knowing the generosity of Mr. Tomasz Mółkowski, Father Konstanty Dziuk succeeded in a request for a secured loan from the bank. He did not fail in this, because Tomasz Mółkowski did it willingly.

Already having a loan, the Reverend Pastor Dziuk together with the board, began with the purchase of land. First purchased were 13 lots on Lovett Street, somewhat distant from Warren, and since the lots on Warren were so exorbitant if the parish had to immediately purchase it, so a few of the parishioners personally bought eight additional lots on Warren Street, which later they resold to the parish at the same price or even more cheaply. The total for the 21 lots was $16,139.55.

Father Konstanty Dziuk, meanwhile, rented a house which served as a rectory at Mr. Piotr Maciejowski's at the corner of 28th and Devereaux Streets, where he lived until the building of a permanent rectory at that place. For almost 18 months, he celebrated Holy Mass at the Church of Saint Francis. At that time, the building edifice combined with brick on three stories, in which the church was located on the first story, the school and apartments for the sisters who taught at Felicyanek Assembly on the second and third stories at a cost of $33,850.00.

Construction of this building was started in 1912, and on the 26th of June of this same year, the Reverend Bishop Edward Kelly in a numerous group of clergy and faithful consecrated the cornerstone and one bell. While on Candlemas Day, the 2nd of February 1913, the Reverend Pastor Dziuk celebrated Holy Mass for the first time. No wonder that in the morning this and no other day for the first Holy Mass because the Reverend Pastor together with the parish council chose the Immaculate Virgin as the patron of the parish, under the name of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The 2nd of February 1913 should remain in the memory of the parishioners for a long time. Finally the dream of raising of a new parish in the place convenient for them had come true. At the start, the Reverend Pastor himself worked near the souls entrusted to him. Every Sunday, he celebrated two Holy Masses and liturgies. In the very beginning the parish numbered a few hundred families, and in the church there was seating for 500 people. Since the parish was expanding, and he could not manage the work alone, he was forced to ask the priestly professors in the Polish Seminary in Orchard Lake for an assistant clergyman. Quite so, one of the priests commuted on Saturday to help with listening to Holy Confession, and on Sunday with the celebration of Holy Mass. Soon this help proved to be insufficient, because apart from Saturday and Sunday, he worked all alone in the church, school, and rectory. In 1915, the Reverend Bishop appointed Anastazy Polanowski as the first 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...

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