today stands at 2311 Pulaski street in Hamtramck, Michigan.
But that is not where we had our earliest formation. Previous
documents written for past anniversary celebrations of Holy Cross
indicate that there were two other earlier attempts to organize at
two locations in Hamtramck. The first was in 1916 on Conant
Avenue. This parish, independent of Rome, under Fr. Stanislaw
Weglarz, was soon sold. The first parish of the National Church in
Hamtramck was later organized at 2935 Yemans Street (across from the
present Polonia Restaurant) in 1920 under Fr. Mazur. The name of
the parish was Our Lady of Czestochowa (Matki Boskiej
Czestochowskiej). For reasons unknown this parish also did not
thrive long and the property was sold. In 1922, with the proceeds
from the sale of the Yemans church, the congregation acquired
property at Dublin and Fleming streets from Mr. George Zwrotka.
Later, Dublin was renamed Pulaski Street. We had now arrived at our
remained Our Lady of Czestochowa under the first pastor, Reverend
John Brzozowski. Because there was no church on the property,
services were held in a hall, owned by Mr. George Zwrotka, located
next door to our present-day Annex building. Construction of the
lower level of the church edifice was completed and was blessed by
Prime Bishop Francis Hodur on November 12, 1922. This lower level
was a multi-use facility serving as the church proper, the social
hall and as a parochial school. At least three different homes on
Dublin and Fleming streets, adjacent to the church, served as the
Rectory until our present Rectory was built in 1924.
From 1922 to 1925, the upper floor of the church, the narthex and
sanctuary, was under construction. Many people donated what they
could to erect the church, some giving their hard-earned cents, and
some mortgaging their homes. Many parishioners helped in the actual
construction of the building. At the completion of the upper
church, the lower floor remained as the school and parish social
hall. The completed church was then dedicated by the Bishop of the
Western Diocese, Rt. Rev. Leon Grochowski, on November 22, 1925.
1920’s the Maria Konopnicka Society (M.K.) had its first meetings
(1922) at our parish and the two branches of the Polish National
Union were formed, Branch 135 in 1923 and Branch 164 in 1928. From
around 1930 to 1940 the parish organized and maintained a school for
grades 1-8. Tuition was $1.00 per month. Classes were taught in all
subjects in both Polish and English. During this Depression Era the
church conducted Sunday Parish Picnics with music and refreshments.
Every nickel and penny were needed to help finance the church. In
1933 the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Society was organized,
known today as the Altar Society.
mid-1930’s the parish faced a financial crisis. Due to large parish
debts that could not be paid, foreclosure was an imminent
possibility. The pastor at this time was Fr. Felix Rekas. He
arranged through an attorney and an insurance company to collect 10
cents on every dollar owed to wipe out the debt. The plan was
successful and the parish was saved!
With the financial crisis over, the parish was reorganized and a new
name was listed on the charter as Holy Cross Parish. We now had our
name! In 1942 a Sunday School was begun which today we call the
School of Christian Living (S.O.C.L.). In the same year the church
choir was renamed Choir Melodia. It was formerly known as The Julius
Slowacki Choral and Dramatic Society.
The 1950’s centered on the future of the parish by providing for the
youth. In January 1953, the Parent Teacher Organization (P.T.O.) was
organized to bring parents and teachers together in order to support
a church Sunday School program. A Scholarship Fund was started in
1954 to provide a small scholarship to any qualifying student of
Holy Cross who plans studying above the high school level. The Holy
Cross Youth Club was organized in December of 1957. The parents
were not forgotten, they began the parish Social Club, which lasted
from 1958 to 1995.
Our Lady Czestochowa, Dublin Street,
Rev. Edward J. Sobolewski,” Fr. Ed”, arrived to lead Holy Cross on
March 1, 1956 with his wife, Frances. He retired from our parish in
1991, having served the longest pastorate of all priests assigned to
Holy Cross. A grand banquet was held on November 29, 1991, attended
by hundreds, to pay respect to a humble man, a great and wise
shepherd of his flock, an inspiration to all who knew him. Perhaps
one of his greatest legacies was that he was instrumental in the
formation of the gathering of the youth of The Polish National
During the early “60’s, youth members of the parish often looked
with longing and envy towards the youth activities in other
churches. Sensing that something needed to be done to enlighten the
youth as to the riches of the PNCC, Fr. Ed arranged a visit to the
Chicago Cathedral, All Saints Parish in the summer of 1960. An
impromptu gathering of our group with the Youth Club of All Saints
proved to be an enriching experience for both. Eager to continue
this course, a second trip, this time to Buffalo, New York at Holy
Mother of the Rosary Cathedral was held in 1961 with the Cathedral
Youth. So successful was this “Youth Gathering” that the Buffalo
Cathedral Youth Group was invited to visit Hamtramck in 1962. It was
after this visit that the first National Youth Convention, organized
by Fr. Thaddeus Peplowski (now Bishop Peplowski) was held in
Buffalo, NY in 1963. To this day our youth still attend “Convo” and
share wonderful fellowship with the youth of all PNCC parishes.
The 1960’s saw many changes to Holy Cross. The parish social hall
was remodeled with many men of the parish contributing much “sweat
equity” by adding a new concrete floor with tile, new paneling, a
new hot-water heating system, new electrical system and a new hall
kitchen. The old kitchen was in the Rectory basement. The parish
purchased the house and property next to the Rectory in 1961. This
served as the Sunday School Building and is now “Annex I”, used as
storage and a parish office. Also during this time, the remodeling
of the upper church and installation of the stained-glass windows
took place. The windows were designed by a Polish artisan, Mr.
Dudzinski, who had the windows constructed in Venice, Italy, by the
Vanelli Family of artisans, and shipped to the United States, where
he installed them. Another Polish painter and artisan, Mr. Malczyk,
redesigned the interior of the church as it looks today. Another
Polish artisan and member of Holy Cross, Jozef Hondzinski, designed
and constructed the ambo for Holy Oils and Sacristy cabinets. In
1963 Branch 73 of the Young Men’s Society of Resurrection (Y.M.S.of
R.) was organized. This group has competed at the Labor Day Track
and Field Meet of our PNCC in Scranton, PA, and helps complete
projects at our parish.
Completed upper church, 1925
First Communion, June 1926
In 1972 the League of Young Active Ladies (L.O.Y.A.L.) was formed to
bring together our women to exchange ideas, make handicrafts and
engage in activities to support our parish. They sponsor the Sunday
Coffee Fellowship after Sunday mass in the social hall.
Perceiving a need to reach out to the community and those in need, a
Monthly Soup Kitchen was organized in July of 1983, largely due to
the efforts Sally Sobolewski. It is still conducted on the second
Saturday of every month from 2:00pm to 4:00pm in the parish hall.
This is free and open to anyone. All costs are absorbed through the
Helping Hand Fund of Holy Cross. Parishioners and volunteers have
kept this service operating for over twenty-nine years. Helping
hand also distributes twenty-four food baskets to those in need at
Thanksgiving, Christmas and again at Easter.
In July of 1993,
the building at 2310 Pulaski, adjacent to the Parish Parking Lot,
was purchased and as Annex II serves as the home of our SOCL
classes. The Mission Committee of Holy Cross has had three different
periods of organizing. In 1995 its purpose was to assess the state
of the parish, form a mission statement and plan short and long term
goals to make that mission a reality. In 1997 it was reorganized as
a Mission Council. The third Mission Committee in 2008 began with a
new purpose. Organized by our present Pastor, Very Rev. Jaroslaw A.
Nowak, this committee took on the challenge of completing community
service projects to show God’s love to our Hamtramck neighbors.
They have accomplished this goal through dozens of projects, helping
many service organizations in and around our community.
On December 1, 2002 Holy Cross was blessed with the arrival of a new
Pastor. Rev. Jaroslaw A. Nowak came to Hamtramck in time to
celebrate Advent and Christmas with his wife, Jolanta, and two sons
Jakub and Simon. (We should not forget his german shepherd Harmon)
The parish remodeled the Rectory kitchen shortly after their arrival
and installed new wood flooring on the first floor. The parish
took on a new energetic life and “Fr. Jarek” kept us busy. The
church received new carpeting, in 2007 a decades-long dream of a
lift for the physically challenged was installed and eliminated
seventeen stairs from sidewalk to church level. In 2005 the Annex
II building was remodeled as a retirement apartment for Fr. Edward
Sobolewski, where he could be close to his parish and see the church
from his bedroom and living room windows. On January 28, 2008, we
were saddened by the passing of Fr. Ed, who led us for so many years
and who was loved by all. May he rest in peace.
of Holy Cross, 1942
On Sunday, January 30, 2011 Rev. Nowak was elevated to the position of
Senior Priest and assumed the responsibility of administration of the
Northeast Seniorate of the Western Diocese of the Polish National
Catholic Church. He is also administrator of Resurrection of Our Lord
Parish of the PNCC in Temperance Michigan. Very Rev. Nowak was
instrumental in helping to establish this newest parish of the PNCC.
Following is a listing of the Pastors of our parish.
1922 – Father John Brzozowski
1933 – Father Casimir Krysinski
1922 – Father John Zieba 1934 – Father
1923 – Father Edward Gucwa 1935 - Father
1924 – Father Maximilian Bobek 1936 – Father
1924 – Father Martin Jablonowski 1941 – Father
1925 – Father John Zieba 1955 – Father
1925 - Father Casimir Sokolinski 1956 – Father
1926 – Father Stanley Walas 1993 – Father
2002 – Father Sr. Jaroslaw Nowak
By John Stasik
2311 Pulaski Street,
Hamtramck, MI 48212
phone: (313) 365-5191 Rectory; (313) 365-5070