Holy Cross
Polish National Catholic Church



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Parish History

 

     Our Parish 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 present location!

     The parish 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.

     During the 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.





      In the 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, 1922


     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 Catholic Church.

     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.




Interior 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 Bronislaw Cisniewicz

                                                            1923 – Father Edward Gucwa                             1935 -  Father Donald Kulawasz

                                                            1924 – Father Maximilian Bobek                         1936 – Father Felix Rekas

                                                            1924 – Father Martin Jablonowski                       1941 – Father Adam Niklas

                                                            1925 – Father John Zieba                                   1955 – Father Chester Malek

                                                            1925 -  Father Casimir Sokolinski                        1956 – Father Edward Sobolewski

                                                            1926 – Father Stanley Walas                              1993 – Father Mark Furmanek

                                                                                                                                    2002 – Father Sr. Jaroslaw Nowak

 

By John Stasik




2311 Pulaski Street, Hamtramck, MI 48212

phone: (313) 365-5191 Rectory;  (313) 365-5070  Church Hall


***       Sunday, June 25, 2017       *       Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time       *     9 a.m.  Holy Mass      &    12:30 p.m.   Outdoor Holy Mass.       *       Family Day Picnic & Raffle following  12:30 p.m. Holy Mass.     ***        All are Welcome !!!       ***        New members Welcome !!!       ***        Please, come and join us !!!       ***       ALL   ARE   WELCOME !!!       ***