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Our Lady Queen of Apostles - Hamtramck MI

A brief parish history from the 1967 Golden Jubilee Book

The late Bishop John Foley, of the Diocese of Detroit, on May 1, 1917, authorized the organization of a Polish parish in the Northeast area of Hamtramck for Polish-Americans of the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck.

During the fifty years of its existence, the Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish was served by four pastors whose terms of service were as follows:

Rev. R. Klafkowski - 1917-1922
Rev. Z. Dziatkiewicz - 1922-1925
Rev. S. Wasielewski - 1925-1940
Rev. L. Szok - 1940 to present date.

During the pastorate of Father Klafkowski, 32 parcels of real estate were purchased on Conant, Prescott and Harold Avenues. At the same time the Felician Sisters were engaged to assume the teaching duties in the parochial grade school.

Father Klafkowski was instrumental in supervising the construction of the parish grade school, sisters' convent, temporary church, and rectory. The latter two structures are not now in existence, having been replaced by the structures' which grace the area today.

It was another four years when additional class rooms were added to the grade school under the leadership of Father Wasielewski. Additional office accommodations were constructed for the sisters in the convent, three meeting rooms, and a temporary church with a seating capacity for 800 parishioners at a cost of $120,000, which was furnished by generous parishioners who were anxious to have a completely serviceable church and school. In 1938, the new rectory was started which was to cost $24,000.

Father Ladislaus Szok was appointed pastor of Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church by the Most Reverend Edward Mooney, Archbishop of Detroit, upon the death of Father Wasielewski in 1940. He assumed his present pastorate after 20 years as Pastor of Resurrection Parish in the Miller-Mt, Elliott area of Detroit where Father Szok established, under adverse conditions and during difficult times, a grateful, active parish as a milestone in his priestly career.

The parishioners of Queen of Apostles extended their cooperation which resulted in the establishment of four new church organizations, namely, the Ushers Club, Ladies Auxiliary, Social Club and the Mother of God of Czestochowa Society under the leadership of their pastor.

Father Szok arranged to liquidate the existing indebtedness, established the Sunday envelope offering and appealed for the continued generosity of the parishioners to establish a fund for the construction of a permanent place of worship for the parish.

At the same time certain major repairs and refurbishing work were completed in the school and rectory. During 1948, a portion of the present sisters' convent was constructed at a cost exceeding $75,800.

In August of 1950, the groundbreaking ceremony for the present church was held with Father Szok blessing the tract upon which the Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church wag to be construeted.

A devoted parishioner, Matthew Lalewicz, was engaged as general contractor for this holy edifice which cost $750,000 and took two years to .complete. The new church was blessed by His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Mooney on November 23, 1952.

In 1953 a shrine to the Mother of God was completed on Prescott between the rectory and the sisters' convent, and on the fourth Sunday of that year the parishioners, school children, nurses of St. Francis Hospital and Sodality members of the Archdiocese attended the blessing.

The Archdiocesan Building Fund loaned to the parish a total of $150,000 toward the construction of a new church, only a small portion of the total cost of construction and for the interior decoration and furnishings. The indebtedness was paid in 1954.

The envelope offerings of parishioners were extremely generous during this period of time. In addition to paying for the church building, Father Szok appealed to his parishioners to complete the interior, at which time a sanctuary screen was installed behind the main altar at a cost of $20,000, mosaic work was done in the sanctuary, at the side altar and chapels, at the main entrance into the church, near the Baptismal Font, around the side aisles, and other portions of the interior at a cost of over $38,000. A major portion of the cost was the skilled craftsmanship in arranging the mosaic work, prepared in Italy by artist Pietro Cantu, who made a special visit to Hamtramck to examine his work after it was placed in the church. Senor Cantu attended Sunday services and sang in the church choir.

At the side doors of the church two stained windows in honor of saints Peter and Paul were installed.

During 1956, a considerable amount of renovating, washing and painting was completed in the interior of the church and school, at a cost of $100,000, as preparation for the Golden Jubilee Celebration.

In 1960, the sisters' convent was completed at a cost exceeding $150,000. In 1964, two additional rooms were added to the present rectory at a cost of $12,000. In 1965, two parcels of land were purchased in the vicinity of the parish for automobile parking, costing over $8,000.

Since 1954, all of these expenses were paid without the necessity of borrowing. The costs were tremendous, beginning with $750,000 for the church structure. Interior decorations, equipment and fixtures, such as the benches, altars, stained glass windows, tabernacles, statuary, pedestals, Baptismal Font, pulpit, candlesticks, Communion rail gates, public address system were additional obligations assumed by the parishioners, friends of the parish and church organizations. It is difficult to believe that all of this could have been accomplished within such a short period of time.

The faithful have been kind and generous and have made these donations at the call of Father Szok, their pastor, whom they respected and followed.

Father Szok has detailed all of the expenditures solely for the purpose of emphasizing the effort expended by the pioneers of the parish and those who followed them to the present time. Only because of this generosity and faith in God and in the future of the parish could such progress be achieved.

Fifty years of achievement, spiritual and temporal, guiding the flock according to the laws of God in a parish adequately equipped to educate the youth and provide for the spiritual welfare of all, has been the primary goal since May 1st, 1917.

The Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish has provided its share of candidates for the priesthood. Many of our young women have entered the convent and are now working in God's vineyard. Many of the young men and women of the parish are in the business, industrial or commercial world. Many of the parishioners have passed on to their reward. Many parishioners are only beginning to learn the elementary principles of life for this 20th Century. Many parishioners are waiting to be called to give an account of their stewardship.

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Last Updated on January 29, 2012