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St. Ann Parish - Frackville PA

A brief parish history from the 1934 Jubilee Book

The members of this Parish invited its many friends from near and far, to join with them in celebrating this auspicious occasion. It is with pride that they point to the ten years of real achievement, for, in spite of many handicaps, the pastor and his parishioners have accomplished great things, and approach the eleventh year with the confidence that they will continue to go forward to even greater achievements.

The Rev. S. J. Garstka was born in Brcoklvn, N. Y., the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanislaus Garstka. He received his early education at St. John Cantius School, Philadelphia. where his parents moved when he was young. He attended St. John Kanty College at Philadelphia, founded by the late Rev. Dr. John Godrvcz, and also St. Joseph's Prep School. His studies for the priesthood were made at Sr. Charles Seminary, Overbrook. He was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, the Most Rev. Archbishop on May 21, 1921. His first appointment was as assistant rector of the Church of St. Laurentius, where the Rtev. C. Kraus was rcctor. He served there until June 13, 1924. On June 14, 1924 Farther Garstka was named pastor of the newly established parish of St. Ann's, Frackville.

St. Ann's Parish, for for Polish residents of Frackville and vicinity, was organized on June 15, 1925 with Father Garstka as the organizing pastor. Arriving at Frackville he was faced with all the difficulties of creating a new parish, but filled with enthusiasm and determination to making it a success. Starting from only a few scattered families, the congregation, under the inspired guidance of Father Gartska has grown remarkably, until there are now over a hundred families in the parish.

Although St. Ann's Parish is one of the youngest in the diocese, it holds an important place because of the progress its members have shown. In the face of industrial conditions which 'would have discouraged a less courageous group, the pastor and his congregation have carried on with never dying courage to greater accomplishments.

Events of the Parish

June 15, 1924 - St. Ann's Parish established.

June 21, 1925 - Ground breaking for new church.

Sept. 7, 1925 - Corner stone laying. The late Msgr. Peter Masson officiating.

Dec. 20, 1925 - First Mass read in New Church.

Jan: 26 & 31, 1926 - Suspension of work at the coal mines, the Pastor preached and took up a collection for the benefit of his parish at St. Laurentius church and St. Stanislaus Church, Phila.

April 1926 - The interior of the Church was painted and new pews installed.

May 31, 1926 -The efforts of the pastor and the congregation were rewarded when His Eminence D. Cardinal Dougherty honored the parish with his presence and solemnly blessed the new edifice.

Feb. 27, 1927 - Blessing of new Baptismal Font.

July 31, 1927 - Blessing of new Statue of St. Ann, contributed by the Ladies' Society of St. Ann's.

March 25, 1928 - Blessing of new Statue of St. Anthony donated to the church by Mrs. Anna Kochanska in loving memory of her son Anthony, who died in action during the World War.

Jan. 18, 1931 - Blessing of new Side Altar, designated ,'S the Altar of St. Ann, donated hy the Ladies Society of St. Ann's.

May 10, 1931 - Blessing of new bell, and christened St. Anthony, in honor if its donor Mr. Anthony Domalewski.

May: 31, 1931 - The parish was honored by having the Rev. B. Sienkiewicz, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Casimir Sienkiewicz, members of the parish, celebrate his first Mass.

June 28, 1931 - Blessing of another new side Altar, designated as the Children's Altar, donated by the Children of Mary and Boys of St. Stanislaus Kostka Societies.

During 1932, it was the ambition of Father Garstka to start a parochial school, and plans toward this end had been made but it was found best on account of the economic and industrial conditions, that this step be delayed for a time. This, then. remains as one of the possibilities of the future.

The Societies

1. The Ladies' Society of St. Ann, was organized in July, 1924. Its membership includes the married women in the Parish, consisting today of 40 members.

2. The III th lodge of the Polish Beneficial Association of St. John Cantius in Philadelphia was the first organized in the Anthracite Coal Regions, on Sept. 14, 1924. Today it consists of 37 members.

3. In January, 1929 a Group No. 34 of the Union of Polish Women in America was organized. Today it numbers 24 members.

4. On June 15, 1930 the children's societies were organized. The girls designated as Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the boys as St. Stanislaus Kostka. There are to-day 65 girls and 60 boys belonging to these societies.

5. January, 1934 The parish choir was organized into a society combining the young men and girls in the parish. Miss Tessie Walewska is the young conductor and organist of the choir since the organization of the parish.

One of the outstanding events among the parish activities are its annual banquets held a week before Ash Wednesday of each year. This year's banquet was the fifth in order, and this fair always draws approximately five hundred people from the surrounding towns and especially from Shenandoah. At these banquets it has always been the aim of the pastor and the members of his parish who so laboriously help to conduct them, that all the guests attending should be given the most excellent service. It is with a sense of gratitude that the members of St. Ann's Parish always speak of their Banquet friends.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2011