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SS. Cyril & Methodius - Greenpoint NY
A brief parish history from the 1942 Silver Jubilee Book
Twenty-five years have passed since the day that permission was granted to 700 Polish families to organize and build their own Catholic Parish. Twentyfive years ago, Bishop McDonnell of Brooklyn listened to the plea of these families as presented to him by our SS. Peter & Paul Society - and assigned to. Ihe Reverend Emil F. Strenski charge over these people and their efforts and the duty of nourishing their souls for God and His Church.
An old protestant church building, together with adjoining property between Eagle and Dupont Streets, was bought and put under the patronage of SS. Cyril and Methodius - the apostles of the Slav nations. For the time being, this building served as a place of worship, while plans and preparations were being made for the construction of a new and larger Church. It is a tribute to the strong Faith of the original members of this Parish that they decided to sacrifice and deny themselves the pleasure of worshiping God in a beautiful new Church ... for the sake of promoting the indwelling at God in their children's souls. When they realized that it would not be possiblefor them to build a new Church and a Catholic School for their children at the same time, they chose ... the SCHOOL. Yet, for what they spent on that School alone during these twenty-two years they could have built as beautiful and as large a Church as any in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The construction of this School was begun in 1919. When finished in 1920, the School became one of the highest and most imposing buildings of Greenpoint and contained 17 bright and airy classrooms - at a cost of $180,000. Since the completion of it, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth have been serving in it as teachers, working hard to cultivate the seed of Faith in the hearts and minds of our children while at the same time complying fully with the requirements' set up by the New York Board of Education for Elementary Schools. To date, 1,750 children have benefited by the sacrifices of our Sisters; 450 more are at present receiving this real education.
God bless the people for the sacrifice they made in denying themselves, for the time being, visions of a beautiful Home for God - because they first assured God of a Home in their children's souls. For more than twenty years they have confined themselves to a wide basement hall under the School, reminiscent of the catacombs of old, and there have worshipped God. There more than 4,400 of their children were baptized, 1,440 happy couples wed, 1,300 faithful departed commended to God's merciful judgment, and only God knows how many hundred thousand times souls were reconciled with God and nourished with His Angelic Bread ... in that Humble Church. Now that they have come out from under the shadow of financial debt, God grant that their original visions and desires be realized.
At present the Parish possesses over $31,500 in bank accounts and US War Bonds. Its real property is worth well over $400,000 - and is represented by the School, the Church, the Convent, the Rectory (built in 1925), the Parish Hall- formerly the Protestant church, and St. Columbkille's Church - acquired in 1939 together with its house, hall and grounds. For the upkeep of these, the payments of interest due on loans, the support of its Sisters and Priests. and for all exira-parochial charities the people have spent about $500,000 during these years. Thus, the total financial effort of the Parishioners durino the twenty-five years amounts to $900,000. This total becomes all the more astonishing if you stop to think who it was that contributed it. It was a hard laborer, often earning but three or four dollars a day - yet, with that managing to support himself and his family, educate his children, insure himself against old age with a bank account and very often even with a home of his own. Out of 1,500 families belonging to this Parish, 400 own their own homes. All of which indicates what a serious minded, hard working and thrifty citizen the Church is guiding for God and Country.
It was during a war that the Parish was organized - and it celebrates its Silver Jubilee while another war rages. During World War I, the Parish contributed several hundred young men who joined the U. S. Army and Navy and the Polish Army. It is estimated that about $80,000 was invested by our people in War Bonds and about $25,000 in Polish bonds. Now, during World War II, over $175,000 have so far been invested in War Bonds. More than 400 of our young men have already joined the Service. Our Parish has united with that of St. Stanislaus Kostka's to form the 25th Chapter of the PolishAmerican Council for the Relief of War Sufferers, contributing its share of earnest effort to fulfill God's Commandment of Love.
Sixteen societies and confraternities have been organized within the Parish during the twenty-five years, each a branch of the one common effort. Under the guidance and direction of the priests, they have quickened the Catholic Spirit of the Community as a whole. In the minutes of the Catholic Action of each of these societies is to be found the detailed history of the Parish ~ a history of spiritual accomplishment.
A work well done is a reflection of the men behind it. That is why it is proper and fitting that full credit and acknowledgment be given to the seven priests who have, in the course of these years, ministered to the spiritual needs of the Parish. Very Rev. Monsignor Emil F. Strenski, first Pastor and organizer of the Parish, worked for eighteen years energetically molding what stands today as a monument to his ability. From the very beginning he had the able assistance of the Rev. M. Mrozinski; from 1919 to 1922 he had, besides, Rev. Joseph Tencza for a second assistant and then from 1922 to 1935 the Reverend Joseph L. Paprocki, both of whom the Bishop has since rewarded with the Pastoral dignity and responsibility. Seven years ago Bishop Molloy appointed as Administrator - and two years later as Pastor -the Priest who celebrates today his Silver Jubilee of service in this Parish, the Rev. M. Mrozinski. For three years our present Pastor was assisted by the Rev. Francis Szczechowiak and since 1938 by Rev. Emil Balutowski and by Rev. Walter Galuszka. All these men, however, realize that the work done should only indicate what is still to be done. That is why, joining in the spirit of thanksgiving which dominates our celebration of the Parish Silver Jubilee, each of them voices this earnest prayer:
"May God continue to enliqht, guide and aid
the priests, religious and the people,
unto the fullest cooperation
in the accomplishment of further works
of Religion, of Education and Charity. Amen."
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Last Updated on January 29, 2012