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St. Casimir's Parish, Yonkers, N. Y
A parish history from the 1950 Golden Jubilee Book
It is known, that from 1900 to the end of 1950, five decades have passed since the establishing of Saint Casimir's Parish, whose fruitful and continuous activities for the honor and glory of God and the spiritual advancement of its members, give true cause to rejoice in the solemn celebration - even in the Holy Year - of its Golden Jubilee, and to animate all with the hope that it will witness not only its Diamond Jubilee, but many more generations and centuries in the Catholic Church.
The five years before 1900 were years of struggle to organize the Parish in the Diocese of New York, under the fatherly protection of our great friend, Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan, D. D. First, it was necessary to assemble the Poles, torn asunder by the enemies of Poland during the three partitions and unite them under one banner - Polish and Catholic - in Cosmopolitan America. This attempt of unification many times threatened with ruin the wavering groups. Then followed the patient and untiring collection of voluntary contributions to purchase the land for the church and rectory. All, in general, willingly supported the cause, but unfortunately, a few individuals, always found some reason to grumble against the collectors and especially against the Pastor. In time, however, these unjust accusations ceased, especially when Divine Providence took measures to frustrate their dishonorable plans.
Thus grew the mustard seed in God's garden, despite harmful weeds, until it grew to a lofty and mighty tree and began to bring forth fruit a hundredfold and even a thousandfold to all in general and some in particular. So was acquired the land for the erection of the church with a modest rectory. Soon the need arose of purchasing more land to build a more spacious and stately edifice in order to conveniently accommodate all the people during the six Sunday Masses and to erect a modern school for about a thousand pupils. The parishioners began to invest their money in the local banks,"'buy themselves homes, send their children to higher schools, to universities with advantageous results; they organized new societies - in short, a wholesome, sound, vigorous, powerful movement and spirit was arising which elevated the prestige of the Yonkers' Poles among their surprised neighbors.
How much we can say also of the spiritual profits experienced among them! The saying became common among many, that the moral aspects of the Polish immigrants changed with great advantages the. city also. Reform cells were emptying, families assembled in exemplary marital harmony and unity, from which came forth decent, becoming daughters with vocations to the Sisterhood; pious, stalwart sons with desires to enter seminaries and religious communities. Even the inhabitants of Heaven know us because we supply them with saintly newcomers. We are known by the sufferers in Purgatory, whose temporal debts we try to repay to the Justice of God through our prayers, fasts, good deeds, especially through Holy Masses, frequent Communions, plenary and partial indulgences, etc. Even the unfortunate of the eternal exterior darkness know us by turning away and converting the lost and erring from its eternal gulfs.
It is no wonder then, that our jubilation on this joyful occasion is wholly justified. Moreover, if we add to it our happy satisfaction as a result of the blessing of the cornerstone in 1925, which ceremony prompts us also to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of our remarkable church structures in the present year. Not less intensified is our joy to know that the enormous parish debt has been paid in 1947, which heavily weighted the young budding Parish with its load of $800,000.
Let us then rejoice in God with all His faithful servants and thank Him with humility for the innumerable graces and blessings bestowed on us throughout the numerous years and beg Him incessantly for His continued protection over our Parish and its members, because only in Him, and with Him will we attain our supreme heavenly goal. Let us give due honor, thanksgiving, and homage to our Holy Patrons: Our Saint Casimir, the Polish Prince, st. Anthony of Padua, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, St. Andrew Bobola, and above all to our Queen of Heaven and Earth, Blessed Virgin Mary, who has obtained heaven after death for many of us, health during life, and in a miraculous way has rescued from death in 1946 the undersigned.
JOSEPH C. DWORZAK PH.D. - J.C.D. - D.D. Founder and Pastor of St. Casimir's Parish
The Church of St. Valentine in Williamsbridge
The proximity to Yonkers of the church of St. Valentine in Williamsbridge, New York, built in 1890, made it possible for pastors to serve the Polish people in Yonkers especially at Easter time. These zealous pastors were Rev. H. Klimecki, Rev. F. Fremel, and later, a young priest just arrived in America, the Rev. Dr. Joseph C. Dworzak. Ordained to serve the Poles in America, he specifically recognized the needs of the Polish peoeple in Yonkers. Educated in the Papal University of Gregorianum in Rome and possessing three doctorates in philosophy, theology, and canon law - he was justified in the hope of attaining great heights in learning and in the hierarchy of the Church as did his school colleagues who became renowned professors, bishops and cardinals. At the invitation of the Archbishop of New York, His Excellency Most Reverend M. A. Corrigan, then visiting in Rome, Doctor Dworzak courageously accepted the mission of coming to a foreign land and to difficult labors in the vineyard of the Lord, rather than comfort and high honors.
Inflamed with such zeal and spirit, he wholeheartedly devoted himself to the service of the Polish people in Yonkers, consoled their sick and performed the burial services for their dead in the church of the Most Holy Trinity in Yonkers, New York.
Founding of St. Casimir's Parish
Realizing the necessity of a parish to satisfy the spiritual needs of the Polish people and to preserve their love of national unity, Doctor Dworzak began to encourage members of the societies of King John Sobieski III and the Star of Liberty to ponder over the question of organizing a parish. The zealous young priest spoke often on this subject from 1895 until September 10, 1899, when a committee consisting of Messrs. H. Jaworski, K. Zegarlowski, F. Konciusz and W. Iwanowski was activated and expressed its desire to wholeheartedly cooperate with its pastor, Father Dworzak.
On September 21, 1899 the decision was made to organize a parish under the protection of St. Casimir with Father Dworzak as the head. Mr. A. Zielinski and Mr. F. Zegarlowski were selected as trustees, Mr. M. Szubert as treasurer, and Messrs. B. Teski, J. Baran, St. Nowak, J. Slek, M. Florkowski, J. Sledzinski, and M. Gec as parish collectors. For every father of a family, youth and maiden, the stipulated annual dues were twelve dollars - a serious obligation for the times of 1899 - which clearly indicates the sacrificial willingness of the pioneers of St. Casimir's Parish. Three days after, Father Dworzak presented the whole plan for the founding of St. Casimir's Parish to his protector, Archbishop Corrigan, who received and blessed the holy project and nominated his protege, Father Dworzak, as the first pastor of the parish of St. Casimir.
The First Resident Pastor in Yonkers, New York
Although nominated the first pastor of the parish of St. Casimir, Father Dworzak was still the active and resident pastor of St. Valentine's Church in Williamsbridge, New York, where he had been serving for many years. At the request of the people in Yonkers who desired a pastor to reside in their midst, Father Dworzak began searching for a Polish priest and found Father Michael Slupek from Florida, New York, whom Archbishop Corrigan immediately appointed to be new pastor of the parish of St. Casimir on December 19, 1899. He came to reside in Yonkers a month later, however, and on January 21; 1900, thanks to the kindness of. Father Corley, then pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Yonkers, New York, he celebrated the first Holy Mass for the Polish people of Yonkers. The faithful who were awaiting this occasion were tearfully happy to hear a Polish priest speak in their mother tongue, and were thus encouraged to begin taking steps for building a church of their own. This meant a great financial burden for the faithful and the pastor, especially in later years for Father Dworzak.
Purchase of Land for the First Church of St. Casimir
When Father Slupek assumed the active pastoral duties, Father Dworzak entrusted to his care the sum of $870.15. The first collection which was to help increase funds for the new church amounted to $7.15, but Father Slupek, undaunted and willing to take on these new burdens began a visitation of the Polish people in Yonkers. His task was a difficult one because whereas many were found to be cooperating, some were very indifferent. This cooperation and indifference on the part of the pioneers faithful, was a good index of the spiritual and material conditions of the first Polish settlers in Yonkers.
As the parish funds grew, so did the search for suitable property for a new church, and finally a parcel of land was selected at Nepperhan and Yonkers Avenue. The owners of this land, the Copcutt family, bitter Protestants, stubbornly refused to sell this property because it was to be used for the erection of a Catholic church. However, Mr. George Streeton, an architect, made a personal transaction with the family, and from him in the name of the incorporated parish of St. Casimir, Father Slupek purchased the property for $4,000 on June 7, 1900.
The purchase sum was obtained through parish collections, etc., the society of King John Sobieski III offering $300.
Reverend Anthony Jakubowski Succeeds Father Slupek
The pastorate of Father Slupek was short, however, and after he resigned with the permission of the Archbishop on February 14, 1901, the parish again was in need of a Polish priest. Again Father Dworzak was able to find a successor in the person of Father Anthony Jakubowski who was presented and appointed by Archbishop, Corrigan.
It was occasion of great joy for the Polish people to again come to the church of the Immaculate Conception on April 10, 1901, and hear Polish and Latin hymns sung by the choir of St. Cecilia. The new pastor was very fortunate to secure the services of Mr. Stanislaus Winnicki of Williamsbridge who for many years acted as organist, choir director, sexton, and teacher. The temporary residence of the pastor was at 24 Riverview Place, and it was here that further plans for building a church and rectory were laid.
Building of the Church and Rectory
To execute the building plans, a committee was selected consisting of the Messrs. J. Blazejewicz, J. Filipski, M. Florkowski, M. Gec, H. Jaworski, J. Nowicki and J. Sledzinski. The original plans made under the direction of Father Slupek seemed to be too costly, and architect G. H. Streeton was directed to remake them.
The parish treasury amounted to $112.46 at this time, and Father Jakubowski had to search for a loan if a building project of thousands of dollars was to be realized. Such a sum was not to be readily loaned to a group of poor "foreigners". However, thanks to the tireless efforts and contacts made by trustee Julius Blazejewicz, the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in New York City granted a loan of $25,000 at a 4 per cent rate of interest.
Immediately the building firm of John McKeefrey was contracted on September 5, 1902 for the erection of a church and rectory at the sum of $29,400. Digging operations were begun, and work proceeded so rapidly that hardly two months later, the parish was preparing for the blessing of the cornerstone.
Blessing of the Cornerstone
For the growing parish of St. Casimir, the date of November 9, 1902 was a historical one and has impressed itself deeply on the memory of the pioneers still living. With the sunshine of God blessing the occasion, hundreds of the faithful, clergy, and city officials witnessed the blessing of the cornerstone for the new church. Father Lings, dean of Westchester, performed the ceremonies of the blessing, and Father Baran of Elmhurst, Long Island, gave the occasional address. In a colorful parade of seventeen societies with Mayor M. Walsh and City Councilman M. Reagan taking part, the citizens of Yonkers witnessed the joy of the Polish people as they marched with pride on this happy day.
Father Dworzak Assumes Duties of Pastorate
The anxiety of the people and their impatience to have their own church may have caused a tense relationship between them and their pastor, Father Jakubowski. In order to avoid any detrimental influence upon this work of God now begun, the parishioners could not forget their organizer and first pastor, Father Dworzak, and immediately pleaded for his return to continue his noble work in their midst. When Father Jakubowski retired from Yonkers, Father Dworzak presented ' the problem to Archbishop J. Farley, who having accepted his resignation from Williamsbridge; reappointed him as the first and new fourth-resident pastor of the parish of St. Casimir. On January 25, 1903, the III Sunday after Epiphany, Father Dworzak celebrated a high Mass and preached at the chapel of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Yonkers.
The Polish people of Yonkers at that time felt that with the energies and spirit of sacrifice of their young founder and pastor, Father Dworzak, their dreams and hopes would be realized. History now records the fact that with the help of God and the wholehearted cooperation of the faithful Poles of Yonkers, Father Dworzak began and completed far more than the limited hopes and dreams of the pioneers could encompass.
When the new pastor made his Iirst visitation, he counted 925 souls. His special concern now was the building of the church and rectory, and he clearly presented the current needs as this holy work progressed. His fatherly appeals brought many understanding donors - the Young Men of St. Casimir donated $650 for the main altar; the Club of Thaddeus Kosciuszko purchased the new bell which was blessed on May 10, 1903 - and many private donors of blessed memory donated the chalice, monstrance and ciborium for use in the Sacred Mysteries. Thus the immediate needs were satisfied completely.
The First Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Blessing of the New Church
The task of building both the church and the rectory progressed rapidly, and on May 26, 1903, Father Dworzak was able to live in the incompleted parish house. Shortly after on June 7, 1903, on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, exactly three years from the date of the purchase of the land, the first service was held in church that was newly built. The morning silence was broken at 7:30 when Father Dworzak tolled the newly blessed bells for the first Mass in St. Casimir's church. How sweet and welcome must have been this call for the Polish people who waited so long and labored so zealously to partake of the fruits of the Holy Mass in the church of St. Casimir. At 8 A. M. the first Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated to thank Almighty God for the numerous graces and blessings received, and the High Mass - to ask the Father in Heaven to bless all those children who would serve Him faithfully in His new home.
Two months later, the new organ donated by the Ladies of St. Cecilia's Choir for $1,100.00 was blessed by Father Lings, Dean of Westchester County. More joys were added on November 15, 1903, when the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York, Monsignor J. F. Mooney, solemnly blessed the new edifice, praying that God would "deign to cleanse and bless this church and altar for His glory and in honor of St. Casimir".
The first period in the history of this new parish was completed. But this living cell in the Mystical Body of Christ was beginning to develop and its development shall be recorded on the following chronological pages.
Foundation of the School
It was not enough that the Polish pioneers in Yonkers had erected a church for the honor and glory of God and the salvation of souls. Father Dworzak had to look into the future and see the needs of their descendants - their children. He presented the problem and made an appeal in these words: "We have no school - and yet, we should have one so that our children may preserve the faith which we profess, and be drawn to the nationality of which we are a part. Look at the great schools built by the Catholics of Irish parentage! Look at the numerous schools of our Polish brethren scattered throughout the United States! Do we intend to be outdone by them? No! We are as capable as they are! Therefore, we shall make contributions for our own school because it is our religious and patriotic duty ... " And thus, one month after the blessing of the new church, Father Dworzak began in the hall under the Church, Sunday school classes of Catechism and the Polish language with the help of the organist, Mr. Stanislaus Winnicki. In September, 1906, a program of daily classes was begun with an enrollment of 58 children. The number of children now grew and it was necessary to look for more teachers. These were found in the persons of the Reverend Sisters of the Resurrection who in 1910 came to Yonkers and began teaching two classrooms of children now numbering 155.
Purchase of Home for Sisters
As the parish grew, it was absolutely necessary to think of physical expansion. Fortunately there were for sale 22 parcels of land including the old Copcutt stone mansion at 239 Nepperhan Avenue for the small sum of $26,000. Father Dworzak immediately took advantage of this offer. The stone mansion - the "Kamienica" - was moved to make a clearance for a future larger church on the newly acquired land. The "Kamienica" was remodeled to serve as a home for the teaching Sisters and for temporary classrooms. The cost of this necessary project was almost $20,000.
First Confirmation in the Parish of St. Casimir
The army of Christ was increased by 206 persons when the Sacrament of Confirmation was administered on September 11, 1905, for the first time in St. Casimir's church. The Polish people were impressed by the presence of their native son, His Excellency Archbishop F. A. Symon, delegated by the Holy See to visit the Polish Americans in the U.S.A. Thereafter, Confirmations were administered regularly every few years according to the program of the New York Archbishops.
The Spiritual Development of the Parish
Father Dworzak was more concerned with the spiritual progress of his children than with the material development of the parish. The seating capacity - 400 seats - was much too small to accommodate all the faithful at Sunday Masses. With the assistance of the Capuchin Fathers a third and fourth Mass was added in 1911. To nourish the spiritual life of his faithful children, Father Dworzak introduced the first general mission from February 14-28 in 1904 under the spiritual direction of the Redemptorist Fathers. The missions in 1909 and in 1915 were conducted by the Jesuit Fathers. In later years the Resurrectionist Fathers conducted the annual missions. The beautiful ceremony of First Holy Communion was begun in 1904, and in 1910 the Forty Hours Devotion was introduced into the parish. To Father Dworzak, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was always of prime importance, and he urged his faithful to the same devotion and to frequent Holy Communion. His personal example and his teachings resulted in the vast number of Communions administered - in 1916 22,000 and 38,000 in 1928.
The First Curates in Saint Casimir's Church
The increasing activities in the now rapidly growing parish, school work, social and patriotic duties - all these made it almost a physical impossibility for the pastor alone to adequately give of his best talents and abilities. It was therefore necessary to look for an assistant and he was the first - Father Karol Czarkowski who came to Yonkers in 1911. Shortly after, he was appointed pastor of St. Valentine's church in Williarrtsbridge and was succeeded by the Reverend Aloysius Filetz. Thus a long list of curates was begun and they all gave their best efforts to assist Father Dworzak in the great responsibilities of his pastorate.
The Monument to General Thaddeus Kosciuszko
The spirit of patriotism of Father Dworzak was very strong and it was especially reflected in the erection of two monuments to the "hero of two worlds" - General Thaddeus Kosciuszko. One stands in front of the Sisters' Convent; the other on the grounds of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Ever since May 30, 1912, thousands have paid their patriotic homage to the hero and to all heroes of World Wars on Memorial Day before this monument. Hundreds of thousands of others travelling on the Nepperhan Avenue thoroughfare all these years, have been inspired to a worship of God and to a spirit of patriotism, as these two monuments of spiritual and patriotic strength passed before their eyes.
The Silver Jubilee of Priesthood of Father Dworzak
A faithful servant in the vineyard of the Lord for the blessed period of 25 years deserved to be feted and honored. This the faithful parishioners of Father Dworzak proudly did on April 15, 1917, and together with the representative of the Archbishop, Monsignor J. Mooney, the societies and private individuals gratefully acknowledged the devotion and fidelity of their pastor.
The First World War
The years of the first great world conflict and the succeeding years meant great sacrifices of blood, money and tears for all the people of the construction was begun in 1925 at a rapid pace. It was a joyous occasion for the pastor and the parishioners to witness the blessing of the cornerstone on August 23, 1925 by Monsignor Chidwick. The month of September saw the school children begin a new year in the now completed school building. By the end of the first half of 1926, the church spires crowned by two crosses were pointing heavenwards, and the exterior of the house of God was completed, The succeeding months were spent in the task of interior decoration of the church until February 27, 1929 when both the church building and the school were officially opened. On Ash Wednesday, March 2, 1927, Father Dworzak privately blessed the new church building, and on the first Sunday in Lent celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the last time in the old church of St. Casimir. It was a tearfully joyous procession in which Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament was brought to the tabernacle of the new church, and there on its main altar the first Mass of gratitude to God was celebrated by a happy pastor together with his happy flock.
To prepare the faithful for a worthy reception of their Lord into the new church and into their souls, the missionary fathers of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul conducted a parochial retreat for two holy weeks. And thus God was enthroned in His new house and re-enthroned in the souls of His children.
These triumphant joys ended only on May 13, 1928 when, surrounded by five Monsignors, nineteen of the local clergy and hundreds of the faithful, His Eminence Patrick Cardinal Hayes, solemnly blessed the new house of God and those who would worship therein.
Cost of New Structures - Church and School
A long series of months passed before the task of decorating the interior of the church was completed. This included the work of painting, installation of the beautiful stained-glass windows, erection of the Stations of the Cross, etc. The majesty of all this meticulous planning is today reflected in the precious altars of marble from Carara, Italy; the stained glass windows executed by the Masters of Monachium, and the large replica of the Spanish crucifix of Limpias. Little wonder, therefore, that this church is regarded as the most beautiful in the Eastern part of the United States, and as a monument of faith in the city of Yonkers and the Archdiocese of New York
Undaunted himself by the staggering cost of $750,000 for the building of. the church and school, Father Dworzak instilled the same spirit of hope into the hearts of his people. The special building fund of $50,000 in addition to the sum of $325.000 of the parish funds, reduced the general sum to $375,000. The hopeful desire of seeing even that enormous sum paid in full, motivated this tireless servant of Christ to constant appeals to their sacrificial spirit. The good parishioners harkened to his paternal words and hastened with financial assistance because of his inspiration. This inspiration and example came in the form of the good pastor's personal donation of a large window, richly decorated: a confessional and a partial forfeiture of his pastoral salary toward this end.
Golden Jubilee of Priesthood of Monsignor Dworzak
The position of a pastor in a parish is a difficult one because of the mixed temperaments of the faithful under his jurisdiction. Since a pastor is not an angel sent from heaven, he naturally is subject to the defects and weaknesses of all human beings. Thus Monsignor Dworzak was the object of the ill will of some people to the extent that he sometimes felt he would be compelled to leave the parish which he founded. These sporadic incidents, however, were the exception because the majority of his parishioners loved him, were wholeheartedly in his favor, and strongly supported all his plans. By this expression of their respect for him, Father Dworzak (now Monsignor Dworzak) was greatly encouraged. For every priest, the anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood has a special joyous memory, but Monsignor Dworzak was blessed in a unique way. On April 16, 1912, he reached the golden milestone in the service of his Master - fifty years of faithful priestly work for the souls committed to his charge. This was observed with great jubilation climaxing in the solemn Mass of Thanksgiving over which His Eminence Cardinal Spellman presided. Truly the prayers of the faithful parishioners of St. Casimir's church were the strong voices of devoted children asking" God to bless their spiritual father. The Heavenly Father has heard their pleas and to this day has given Monsignor Dworzak eignt more years in which to honor and serve Him.
The Second World War
Again blood was shed for freedom! Once again the valiant Polish sons and daughters of the parish of St. Casimir found themselves under the Star Spangle Banner in a war against world tyranny. They bravely went forth into battle fortified with the spiritual strength that came from the prayers offered by their loved ones at home. Their names were inscribed on the "Roll of Honor" placed before the altar of the Blessed Mother Whom they knew would spread Her blue Mantle of protection over them. To bring their homes and their loved ones closer to them on the fighting fronts throughout the world, Father Walter A. Kochman prepared a monthly bulletin called the "Casimirian Rays". These "Rays" brought the sunshine of prayers, hopes, and news into the darkened lives of our gallant heroes. The spiritual home front - The Servicemen's Mothers Club - supplied them with sustaining strength in Masses, Holy Communions and prayers. The material front of the parish furnished the government with financial help through the purchase of War Bonds. For this the parish and school received special citations from the United States Treasury Department.
Although our war heroes numbered over one thousand men and women, the supreme sacrifice on the field of glory was made by thirtyfour gold star boys. Among these was our sexton, Joseph Kabala, a brother of the priests housekeeper, Miss Mary Lenart, who was killed in action in the Battle of the Bulge. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord!
The battle for freedom has not ended, however. Poland, whose pioneer sons and daughters built the parish of St. Casimir, is still in the hands of ruthless, Godless Russia. But the faith of the Polish people is even stronger now, and this faith, hope, and prayers to God, His Blessed Mother and to the parish patron, St. Casimir, will be crowned with the reward of freedom for Poland and peace for the world.
Grave Illness of Monsignor Dworzak
It seemed on Monday evening, Febmary 18, 1946, that God had decided to call His faithful servant Monsignor Dworzak to his reward. On that evening he suddenly collapsed and was in the throes of death. He was given the last rites of the Church and was prepared to meet his Maker. The Master, however, had other plans and spared His servant from death and restored him to health. Monsignor Dworzak gratefully and firmly believes that the intercession of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal during the Novena on that Monday night, miraculously held back the Hand of God. In grateful tribute to the Blessed Mother, the pastor made a votive offering of two decorations received from the government of Poland. The miraculously recovered Monsignor stands as a living proof of the power of the Mother of God for children who trust in Her. Through this maternal gesture She has endeared Herself even more. For Her faithful sons and daughters', She bas obtained great spiritual and temporal favors of which Sister Mary Barbara, a Sister of the Resurrection received one, (viz) disappearance of a cataract from her eye. Only the innumerable other grateful recipients can tell us of Our Lady's love.
Burning of the Parish Mortgage
The consistent and generous spirit of sacrifice of the parishioners of St. Casimir's church made the payment of the parish debt a reality on January 25, 1948. This day was memorialized with thanksgiving services and a banquet of joy. The happy hearts of the good parishioners were made more so by the many congratulatory messages received by Monsignor Dworzak, especially those of the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman and Governor Thomas E. Dewey.
Preparation for the Golden Jubilee of the Parish
Another memorable occasion was approaching - observance of fifty golden years of the existence of the parish. After twenty-five years the new house of God needed some repairs, interiorly and exteriorly. In the early months of 1949, Monsignor Dworzak signed the contracts for all this work. Naturally as the gigantic task progressed, the church interior was a picture of desolation and obstruction. The distracting scaffolding made devotions and ceremonies very difficult, Young brides and grooms were deprived of the splendor and glitter of their wedding march. All these memories were soon forgotten when the Midnight Mass of 1949 was about to begin. The hearts of the devout faithful quickened as the golden glories of the newly decorated church were emphasized by the lights of the artistic chandeliers. Truly then, this was the long awaited occasion for the joyous praises of God in the Highest by the women and men of good will.
A Personal Note
The author of this literary panorama opens the lens of his mind and presents the entire picture in full focus. In that view, the background of Divine Providence constantly permeates the scenes which make up the fifty years of existence of this cell of the Mystical Body of Christ. The finger of God has consistently and clearly been evident. There too shine the devoted souls whose magnanimity and sacrifice, brick by brick, helped to build this holy and noble project. In clear perspective stands the great fatherly figure of Monsignor Dworzak whom God had endowed with brilliant talents, apostolic love and devotion, wisdom and prudence, sturdy health, and unconquered energies. Beside this figure stand all those curates, currently Father Walter A. Kochman and Father Edmund A. Fabisinski, who have labored zealously and devotedly for the welfare of the spiritual family of St. Casimir. To give added beauty to the picture stand the figures of the quiet, humble Sisters of the Resurrection, whose labors not fully known by the people are emblazoned across the pages of the Book of God.
And when with this Golden Jubilee, the lens close on the events of the fifty years of St. Casimir's parish, the author is convinced of the fact that this parish, with its founder and its assistants is very closely united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May then this Sacred Heart be for the parish and its leaders, an ideal, a joy and a reward!
Reverend Henryk Misiak, Ph. D.
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