Catholic Church alienated Polish-Americans by not
recognizing their traditions and culture. In
Polish parishioners sought the right to choose
their own priest and to
control parish property. After being refused in
blocked the priest’s entry to the church. A riot
followed and several
people were arrested.
congregation organized their own parish and bought
property for a new church. They chose as their
priest Father Francis
Hodur, a native Pole. In 1897, he led the first
worship service in the
unfinished St. Stanislaus Church.
oppressed Polish Catholic parishes in America joined the Scranton
movement. In 1898, when the Pope refused to
grievances, these parishes cut all ties with the
Eve, 1900, Father Hodur celebrated the first mass in
Polish, which helped unify the church. In 1907, he
bishop by the Union of Old Catholic Churches in
confirming apostolic succession (authority to be a
bishop, passed on in a
direct line of descent from the Apostles). That
same year, the
Savonarola Theological Seminary was founded. The
church adopted the
“Confession of Faith” in 1913, and the “11 Great
Principles” in 1923,
which set down its beliefs and philosophy. They
remain intact today.
After World War I, the Polish
National Catholic Church became widely
accepted throughout the Northeast, in parts of the North
and in Canada. Missions to the new Republic of Poland
created 56 new
parishes with 50,000 members there.
Auxiliary church organizations
began to flourish. The Savonarola
Theological Seminary was expanded. The Polish National Union of America
(Spojnia), a fraternal Society, carried on many vital activities, such
as establishing schools and publishing the Church newspaper “Straz”.
The church today has 140 parishes
in the U.S., Canada and Poland with 156 ordained clergy and
over 25,000 members.