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Sacred Heart Parish - Greenfield MA

A short history from the 1937 Jubilee Book

With a sorrowful heart, a Polish emigrant left his native land. With tears in his eyes he bid farewell to all that he loved from childhood, the home of his birth, the dearest ones in the world: Father, mother, brothers and sisters, the beautiful fields and woods, the parish church where he was baptized, everything, for the reason that three enemies held the whole nation in servitude and took away from him his freedom and welfare. Merciful waves of the great ocean rocked him safely to the free country, the Homeland of Washington and here he settled.

The Polish people, with pure hearts, noble and full of love for their Faith, with only a small number, immediately assembled to form a parish and build a church where they could glorify God in their native language. The Polish race was always convinced that not only bread was necessary in order to live and rear their children according to the Faith of their forefathers, but a parish church, school and priest was also necessary.

The first Polish colonists came to Greenfield about 40 years ago. At first they joined the Holy Trinity parish, but when the Polish group grew larger, they conceived the idea of founding their own parish. The first who had this noble thought of founding a Polish parish in Greenfield were: Frank Karniilowicz, Peter and Alexander Gibowcz, Jacob Kozicki, Anthony Skibinski, Joseph Jablonski, Valentine Majeski and others. In 1905 there were about 60 polish families settled in Greenfield and not until in 1912 did the Rt. Rev. Thomas Beaven, Bishop of Springfield send Rev. Stanislaus Ziebel, then pastor in Turners Falls to look after the spiritual needs of the Poles in Greenfield. The first mass was said in the basement of the Holy Trinity Church and continued until 1919 when the Rt. Rev. Bishop send to Greenfield a young and energetic priest, the Rev. Andrew Nowak to take over the duties of the parish.

Rev. Andrew Nowak stayed in Greenfield for ten years, when he was transferred to a neighboring parish in South Deerfield. Rev. John Langow succeeded him, but he was only to be with us for two weeks, and in his place came our present pastor, Rev. John Kuszaj.

Rev. John Kuszaj immediately after his arrival, started work in the parish and elevated it morally and spiritually.

During the past few years under Father Kuszaj's splendid guidance, the church has been enlarged by 30 feet, a steeple built, the grounds cleaned, and the parish house somewhat remodeled.

To make our Jubilee Year something to remember, Father Kuszaj with the help of his parishioners was able to accomplish the following projects: the church was asbestos covered on the outside, the inside of the church was artistically painted and decorated, new electric lighting system installed, the altars were refinished and a new metallic tabernaculum purchased, a new floor covering, refinished the pews and a new organ.

In 1936 the Rev. S. Zdebel, first pastor of this parish blessed the Church Bell. All in all our church now is surely a palace, a fit place for the King of Kings to dwell in.

At present the Sacred Heart Parish is composed of 185 families. The Polish people here have various organizations that are indeed a great help both morally and financially to our parish.

The oldest 'Thaddeus Kosciuszko Society" (which will celebrate its silver jubilee in the near future) has its own home on Hope Street.

Sacred Heart Society, founded in 1914, deserves to be mentioned as a pillar of our parish - for the jubilee year it donated $500.00. Its membership is 90.

Polish Women's Club organized in 1918 and has a membership of 60.

The Women's Rosary Sodality organized in 1931 and has a membership of 65.

The Immaculate Conception Society organized in 1919 and has a membership of 85.

The parish has two choirs - Junior choir of 25 girls, singing at first mass is under the direction of Miss Helen Wisniewski. The senior choir, under the direction of Mrs. Anna Janek sings at all other masses and services.

Women's Polish National Alliance of America, Group 574 was organized in 1929 and has a membership of 38.

Polish Roman Catholic Union, organized several years ago is a branch of a national organization whose membership is about 200,000.

With an Eagle Club, a sports organization consisting of about 35 members.

Jubilee Committee: T. Kalinowski, president, E. Jablonski, W. Majewski, F. Danielski, W. Rogalski, J. Olszewski, A. Siano, A. Sadowska, M. Siudut, K. Jablonska, M. Stachelek and J. Chmielewska.

The Jubilee Celebration was held on Sunday, September 5, 1937 with a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by His Excellency the Bishop of Springfield, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas O'Leary, with the assistance of local and neighboring priests. The sermon on the occasion was preached by a missionary father, the Rev. Simon Majcher

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Last Updated on October 20, 2011