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St. John Kanty Church - Clifton NJ

A parish history from the 1985 Golden Jubilee Book

Note: Additional inputs have been added at end of the parish history

With profound gratitude and joy we lift our minds and hearts to God, our Father, in this year of the Lord, 1985, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of founding our church - St. John Kanty in Clifton, N.J.


It was on Sunday, September 7, 1930, that the first Holy Mass was celebrated in the auditorium of School No. 13 on Van Houten Ave. by Rev. Lawrence Szorc, pastor of Saint Joseph's Church in Passaic, N.J. He also announced that the priests of Saint Joseph's Parish would provide services on Sundays. Even though it was a mission church, the people rejoiced because now at last, they had their own parish; now, that they were canonically recognized, they looked to the future with the hope of building a church.

Saint John Kanty Parish was founded because of a pressing need. After World War I (1914-1918) many Polish people, predominantly parishioners of Saint Joseph's Church in Passaic, N.J., purchased property and built homes in the Athenia section of Clifton in Passaic County. This was a beautiful area of rolling hills and neatly spaced farm lands into which industries were being introduced. Since the people continued to be members of Saint Joseph's Church, distance made attendance at Mass and other services not only inconvenient but also costly and burdensome. The people, therefore, formed a committee and presented their problems to the Right Rev. Monisignor Julius Mantueffel, the pastor of Saint Joseph's Church. After thoroughly analyzing the problem, Monsignor Mantueffel purchased a tract of land at the corner of Speer Ave. and Wesley St. He promised to approach the Diocesan Office in Newark, N.J. in order to organize a new parish in Clifton. A short time later, unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack and did not see his plans materialize.

These were trying times for this tired and somewhat apprehensive group of immigrants. They had left Poland and came to America in search of freedom and peace of soul. They needed their own church not only as a place of worship, but also as a home where their culture and customs would be melded with their faith - a place where the social aspect of their human nature would be satisfied. Torn with grief that their dream had not been realized, they continued attending Saint Joseph's Church, Holy Rosary Church and Saint Nicholas Church.

The Mission Church

As far back as 1928, a pioneer group, composed af such energetic persons as John Trella, S. Checinski, Joseph Sokulski, Mr. & Mrs. Anthany Cichorewicz and Mrs. Frances Clemens Kuczynski, approached Rev. Sigismund Zajkowski about the plight of the people. He spoke to the pastor af Saint Joseph's Parish who. readily consented to. send a priest to celebrate Mass. The people then wrote letters to the Bishop and were finally granted a mission church. Saint John Kanty, a Polish saint, was chosen as the Patron Saint of the new mission.

From that moment events moved quickly. A group of men formed the Saint John Kanty Society at the hall of Adam Gusciora an Van Houten Ave.; it later became affiliated with the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. A church choir af young people was farmed in that very same month. An Altar Rosary Society, established by the women of the mission, played an active part in all church events. Mrs. Anna Tyminska, the first president of the Altar Rosary Society, with the help of Mrs. Anna Cichorewicz and Mrs. Frances Kuczynska, meticulausly took care af the altar and church linens.

The New Parish

On October 6, 1935, the mission church of Saint John Kanty was finally established as a parish and Father Theodore Kaczmarek, OFM. Conv. was appointed as the first pastor. On October 10,1935, a large delegation af parishioners gathered in the auditorium of Schaol No.. 13 to welcome the new pastor, a member af the Order af Friars Minor Conventuals, sometimes called "Black Franciscans" because of the color af their habit. The Friars Conventual, invited by the Mast Rev. Thomas J. Walsh, Bishop of Newark Diocese, to take care of the new parish, strive to follow the life of Saint Francis by vowing to. observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, while living in obedience, without personal possessions and in celibate chastity. Continuing the mission of Saint Francis, the Conventuals are engaged in a wide variety of priestly and religious activities. It is these Friars who are still tending to the needs of the parishioners after fifty years of service at Saint John Kanty Church.

At first, Father Kaczmarek resided at Saint Joseph's Rectory in Passaic. Later he transferred to Holy Rosary Rectory where the Rev. Canon Kruczek was pastor. Wanting to be closer to his parishioners, however, Father Kaczmarek rented a house at 137 Speer Ave. in Clifton as a temporary rectory. Since the use of School No. 13 auditorium was limited to Sundays, Father Kaczmarek then leased a hall located at the corner of Van Houten Ave. and Wesley St., better known as "Teddy's." After permission was granted to use this hall as a temporary church, Holy Mass was celebrated every day with two Masses on Sundays.

First Census

The first census of the parish revealed a membership of 243 families. To the already formed Altar Rosary Society and the Saint John Kanty Society two new societies were added - The Third Order of Saint Francis and The Children of Mary. In addition, the Felician Sisters from Saint Joseph's Parish in Passaic held Catechism classes for the children every Saturday morning.

The New Church

In the meantime, Anthony J. Pace, architect, worked on plans for the new church building. On April 2, 1936, the plans were completed and approved by the Diocesan Chancery Office. The firm of Leopold Auriema of Jersey City, who submitted the lowest bid, $71,000, was then awarded the General Contract. The ground breaking ceremonies for the new church took place on Sunday, April 26, 1936. Work progressed rapidly and on July 26,1936, the cornerstone was laid and blessed by the Most Rev. Bishop Thomas Walsh witnessed by a throng of several thousands among whom were a large number of clergy, Felician Sisters, church societies and civic organizations from Clifton, Passaic and vicinity. It is also noteworthy to recall that this auspicious occasion took place while Pope Pius XI was in his fifteenth year as Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United Stated, Harold G. Hoffman was Governor of New Jersey and the Honorable Wilson Brower was Mayor of Clifton, N.J.

The Most Rev. Bishop Thomas Walsh granted special permission far a private blessing of the church on December 24, 1936, the vigil af Christmas, thus enabling the pastor to celebrate the first Mass in the new church at midnight. The solemn blessing of the church, conducted by His Excellency, Bishop Walsh, however, took place on April 25, 1937.

Since attendance at Holy Mass reached substantial proportions, it was necessary to celebrate two Masses on Sunday. Father Henry Nitz, OFM. Conv. was assigned as the assistant to Father Kaczmarek; he performed his duties energetically particularly with the youth af the parish. The parishioners and the societies raised funds for the church and the kitchen in the church hall through various events. Their cooperation was magnanimous.


Early parish records show that before the new church was completed Patricia Hamot, daughter of Ladislaus and Clara Hamot, was the first child to be baptized. This significant recording marks the beginning of a flourishing parish which has never ceased to have among its members courageous, zealous and devoted persons.

Another entry in that first year shows that the sacrament of marriage was contracted between Jacob Wilk and Catherine Kudlacik.

In 1938 the sacrament of confirmation was administered to ninety-five children, thus injecting a new spirit into the parish, far thus far, all the sacraments, with the exception of Holy Orders had been administered at Saint John Kanty parish. The harvest had begun.

The New Rectory

Shortly after his appointment as pastor, Father Kaczmarek had leased a dwelling on Wonham St. which served as a temporary rectory. Five years later, the construction of the new rectory was begun in August, 1940, on Speer Ave. at the cast af $17,750. The Most Rev. Bishop Thomas McLaughlin, first Bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Paterson, blessed the new rectory on November 24,1940. The pastor and his assistant finally moved into the completed new rectory in December, 1940.

A Holy Week Misfortune

From the very inception of the parish, the people lived in an atmosphere of joy since growth and development were their constant companions. Then, an Holy Saturday in 1946 the Lord God tested their faith and trust in him. A fire brake out at the altar representing the Grave of Jesus. It damaged the ceiling and the walls of the new church. After Easter, however, the church was cleaned and Mr. D'Ambrosio, the artist, decorated the Sanctuary and the Transept with inspiring murals.

A New Pastor

After thirteen years af zealous and priestly wark, Father Theadore Kaczmarek was assigned to. Saint Anthony Parish in Fairfield, CT. in September, 1948. The Rev. Adolph Banach, OFM. Conv., the new pastor, affectionately referred to. as the "smiling priest," brought love and understanding to. the parish. The parishioners, now eight-hundred families strong, influenced by his administrative talents and winning personality, exerted an intense effort at fund raising. In a very short time Father Banach systematically reduced the accumulated debts and liquidated the mortgage. The burning af the mortgage in 1953 was a crowning moment in the life of the parish.

It was with sad hearts, therefore, that the parishioners accepted Father Adolph's transfer to. Massachusetts in 1960. One year later, in April, 1961, they were shocked to. hear about his sudden and untimely death. Together with Father Fabian Zator, who succeeded Father Adolph as pastor af Saint John Kanty Church, the people prayed for their former pastor who had endeared himself so much to them.

Traumatic moments play a great part in the growth and development of a parish; however, each year the joys of the first years are renewed as the parishioners celebrate First Holy Communion, Confirmation and Graduation ceremonies. The fruit of their labors is evident in the children who are being nurtured in the traditions af the Catholic Faith.

A New School

In 1938 a parcel of land on Speer Avenue (known as Speers Vineyard) was purchased for $2,400 with the intention af eventually erecting a school and a convent. With this in mind, Father Adolph and his zealous parishioners began a fund raising campaign ($200,000) in September, 1957. The campaign, with Emil Wiatrak as Chairman, included a pledge program and many lawn festivals, picnics and dances. The going was slow but the people did not lose hope; they trusted the Lord to. help them realize their dreams.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new school was held in February, 1958. The formal dedication and laying of the corner stone took place two months later on April 19, 1958. The new ten classroom structure, designed by Alexander Knowlton, a Clifton architect, was built by the Mahoney- Troast Construction Company of Clifton at the cost of $350,000.

The opening af the new school coincided providentially with the Feast of the Birthday of Our Lady, the Mother of God, on September 8, 1958. Together with their parents, thirty-one first graders and twenty-seven second graders rejoiced because they no longer would have to use the makeshift classrooms. With each year a new grade was introduced culminating in June, 1965, with the first graduating class of thirty-four students.

As the years went by the education af the children was enhanced through the opening of the school Library on October 24, 1967. A Library Science course was also introduced. A few years later, in 1971, Gloria Kolodziej set up a gym program utilizing parents as teachers. In September, 1974, a Pre-Kindergarten program was initiated. Mrs. Patricia Wyka, the first teacher, is still capably conducting the class as she has done for the past eleven years.

The Felician Sisters

From its inception in 1958 Saint John Kanty School has been staffed and administered by the Felician Sisters whose Provincial House is in Lodi, N.J. At first a two-and a half story brick building an Alfred Street was purchased to serve as their first convent. It was blessed an April 19, 1957. On February 3, 1968 Father Aloysius Balcerak provided them with a new residence - a renovated family house. The convent chapel, an exclusive feature, lends an attractive and conducive atmosphere far prayer and aoaration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Felician Sisters, who follow the Rule of Saint Francis, were founded in 1855 by Mother Mary Angela Truszkowska in Warsaw, Poland. At present, besides staffing forty parish elementary schools, three high schools, The Felician School for Exceptional Children and Felician College, the Felicians of the Lodi Province also administer two hospitals - Saint Mary's Hospital in Orange, N.J. and Saint Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. They also actively participate in parish religious education programs, pastoral ministry and counseling services. Our Lady of Lourdes Infirmary in Lodi houses the elderly and infirm sisters who devotedly served their Congregation and the Christian Community for many years. They contribute to our contemporary society in a special and unique way as witnesses to Christ.

Since their arrival at Saint John Kanty Parish in 1958, the Felician Sisters have shown a dedicated and edifying concern for each individual student. The first sisters who taught at Saint John Karity School were Sister M. Azaria, Principal, and Sister M. Pancratia (at present, Sister Rita Marie). Sisters Eusebia and Ludmilla served as aides. The past principals of the school were Sisters Azaria, Rita Marie, Euphrosyne (deceased), Cherubim and Lenore Marie. At present, Sister Mary Lorene, Principal, and Sisters Mary Lois and Mary Bernardine staff our school. The parishioners extend their grateful appreciation to the Felican Sisters for their dedicated and noble service throughout these fifty years.

Parish Societies

The zeal and interest of our parishioners is especially evident in our active societies. Since the 1930's the Saint John Kanty Society, the Altar Rosary Society and the members of the Church Choir have initiated many events thus fostering a family spirit in the parish. At present there are seventeen parish societies as compared to the three original ones.

The Holy Name Society was one of the first societies organized in our parish. This group of men has been a great encouragement to the pastors since they responded to every need at a moment's notice. Annual picnics at Vistens Grove, breakfasts, suppers and all sorts of outings constituted only a small part of their response. The Holy Name Parade was an annual highlight, when decked out in high hats, they evidenced a pride in their parish and a visible symbol of unity.

The members of the Holy Name Society, a very active organization to this very day, adhere to the purpose af their founders, namely, to. honor the Holy Name of Jesus. They carry the motto with themselves as they pray and when they fulfill their duties as Ushers, Commentators or Choir Members. Their spiritual director is Father Hilary Brzostowski.

Guard of Honor (Parish Ushers) has been in existence since the time when Saint John Kanty was a mission. Alex Sniatowski, a member and president of the society for many years, recalls being an usher at School No. 13 with Paul Pass. The Parish Ushers are a group af men who courteously seat everyone and assist at Holy Mass during the Offertory Procession. With a willing and generous spirit they take care of unexpected needs which arise during the Eucharistic liturgy.

The Altar-Rosary Society composed of women exists from the inception af the parish. They are responsible for the laundering of the church linens, cleaning and decorating the church and preparing the altar for the Eucharistic liturgy.

In an ethnic community comprised mainly of Polish immigrants, the need for an English branch became a necessity. Eight years later (1943) after the establishment of the parish, Father Michael Sionecki and five young ladies, among them Mrs. Arthur Mecklenburg, founded the English branch. Mrs. Walter (Ann) Kasica was elected as the first president of the group which quickly increased to thirty-five members. Today the group has one-hundred and ten members. In their concern far the sick, fifteen members formed the Cancer Group. These dedicated ladies meet monthly to prepare cancer wound pads far cancer patients.

Reminiscing about the "good aid days," Margaret Chesebrough, a charter member, recalled the Merchandise and Blanket Clubs, Cake Sales, Calendar Parties, Card parties, Market Research Surveys, Chinese Auctions, A&P Donation Days as well as Tupperware, Cosmetic and Jewelry Demonstrations. The Botany Village Bazaar and the Fish and Chips Dinner (a Lenten Tradition) have become annual fund raisers. A variety af other social events were held to raise funds which helped to. furnish the church kitchen and the newly built school. In 1944 a mural in the church transept, representing Saint Francis presenting a robe to the Blessed Virgin was mounted as evidence of their continuing spirit of dedication and charity.

To enhance the spiritual aspect of the parish they have planned numerous pilgrimages to. different shrines in Washington, D.C., Connecticut and Massachusetts. They have also participated in Holy Hours, Nocturnal Adorations, Days of Recollection and Retreats. Their monthly meetings always begin with the Eucharistic liturgy followed by the recitation of the rosary. Since 1982, through the encouragement of Father Joseph Grzybowski, their present Moderator, they recite the rosary daily at 7:30 a.m. preceding the 8 o'clock Mass and an Sundays at 8:30 a.m. prior to the 9 o'clock Mass.
in 1983, the ladies celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the existence of their society. Through the efforts of these energetic women the church community has grown materially, but especially spiritually.

The Youth of Saint John Kanty Parish. We look with pride on the long list of young men who. have served as altar bays in aur parish. Among the first ones were Benjamin Mendyk, Henry Gala and Martin Fucia. Under the guidance of their spiritual director, Father John Krzyzanski, a new group is prepared each year far altar service.

The T.A.G. Group, previously known as the CYO, plays an important part in the development of our youth. In former years it sponsored a variety af youth oriented programs such as: socials, dances, outings, basketball and baseball teams (bays and girls) as well as cheerleaders. In 1977, with the advent af CYO soccer, our teams were the Diocesan Tournament champions for many years.

Scout Groups. A comprehensive scouting program, begun in 1946 has also been a significant addition to 0ur youth program. Even though the number af young people has fluctuated, the efforts and the energy of the adults in the parish on behalf of this group has been exemplary. We are deeply indebted to them. The parishioners shared their jay with Mrs. Joan Checkan when on March 9,1985, the Mast Rev. Frank Radmer, Bishop of Paterson, presented her with the Saint Francis of Rome Award for fifteen years of continuous and dedicated service to. parish scouting. At present the program numbers forty-five Bay Scouts and eighty-four Girl Scouts in the fallowing categories: Cub Pack #34, Boy Scaut Troop #34, Daisy Girl Scouts #1007, Brownie Girl Scouts #414, Junior Girl Scouts #327, Cadette Girl Scouts #634 and Senior Girl Scouts #78.

The Girl Scouts very ably conducted the latest contribution to the parish - the Blood Drive. The first of its kind in the parish, it drew out thirty-one people who. donated their blood to begin the Parish Blood Bank.

Home School Association. Forty parents attended the first organizational meeting of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) on March 26, 1959 at which Father Adolph Banach introduced the first Principal, Sister M. Azaria and Sister M. Pancratia, the first and second grade teacher.

Known as the Home and School Association since 1971, its constitution emphasizes mutual interest and cooperation which is essential to the continuity of the school and its tradition of excellence. At monthly meetings, the parents meet with the faculty, are introduced to new teaching techniques, and become acquainted with some of the present problems facing parish schools.

The members have launched many fund-raising activities such as: Cake Sales, Fashion Shows and Dinner Dances. A Children's Fun Day, introduced in 1960 is still held annually. A hot lunch program forthe school children, still in effect, was also begun in 1960.

Throughout its history, the Home School Association has provided a spirit of enthusiasm and much needed revenue for school support. These dedicated parents provided the needed item, whether it was a book for the library or a station wagon which' was presented to Sister M. Pancratia, second principal of Saint John Kanty School. Mrs. Matthew Trella, Chairperson of the "Sisters' Car Fund" at that time together with her Co-Chairperson, Mrs. Chester Pritch, made the presentation. At present, Mrs. Peter (Charlotte) Newarski is the president. Father Joseph Grzybowski is the Moderator.

Leisure Club comprised of senior citizens of the parish was founded in 1974. The members meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the church auditorium. The aim of the club is to tend to the spiritual and social needs of the members. The special and varied programs include: trips to dinner shows and places of interest, annual week-long vacations in Wildwood Crest, the Catskills or the Poconos. An important annual event is the "Chinese Auction" as well as the baking of cookies for the elderly at Saint Joseph's Home in Totowa, N.J. The limited membership of two hundred resulted in a long waiting list. This precipitated a new senior citizens' group which was organized in 1984 by Mr. Thomas Smacziasz. Known as the Golden Circle, it is open to those who have reached the "golden age" but would have to wait too long for acceptance into the Leisure Club. They hold their meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month and arrange similar events as the members of the Leisure Club. Under the energetic direction of their officers they have accomplished much. Father Hilary Brzostowski is the Moderator of both senior groups.

The Bread of Life. The spiritual enthusiasm of the parish was made visible in this "Prayer Group." The first healing Mass, celebrated on January 19, 1983, was organized by Mary Beth Kokora and Deacon Steve Rodack; it was attended by a large number of interested parishioners. On two occasions Father Matthew Swizdor, a Franciscan, conducted a weeklong healing service and celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy. Each day brought out a significant number of parishioners to the services. In April, 1985, a multimedia healing service titled God So Loved was conducted for the entire parish. The presenter was the renowned, Jane Wacka.

Church Music. Good music has always played an important part in worship at Saint John Kanty Church; the parishioners, therefore, like to refer to themselves as the "Singing Parish." The adage: "He who sings, prays twice" is evidenced at the Polish liturgies on Sundays, at Lenten Devotions and at Eucharistic Days. This harmonious and active participation in the singing of hymns and responses is a most meaningful and concrete showing of the communal praise of God in our parish.

At first our parish had two choirs - The Saint Teresa Choir, an adult group, under the direction of Mr. Benjamin Okulski, our first organist, and the Saint Bernadette Junior Choir under the direction of Father Adolph Szelagowski. Today, we have only one choir under the direction of Miss Florence Malkiewicz. Sister Marilyn Minter, Director of the Felican Sisters Choir in Lodi, N.J., prepared a group of thirty school children who sang with the adult choir during the Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass on May 19, 1985.

Folk music with guitars was performed for the first time at the Saturday night liturgies during Father Martin Dombrowski's term as pastor. The favorable reaction of the congregation to the dignified and edifying manner of the young peoples' performance has continued to the present. Father John Krzyzanski, their Moderator, offers capable direction and  encouragement to this young group.

The Vatican Council and the Parish

Father Angelus Zator succeeded his brother Father Fabian but his pastorate was shortened by falling health. Father Aloysius Balcerak immediately introduced the changes proposed by the Post-Conciliar Church. He also held prayer services for visiting clergymen of other denominations following the guidelines set forth by the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission. At present the English group of the Altar-Rosary Society invites guest speakers from the interdenominational churches for the Thanksgiving Day services each year. They cooperate with them in recognition of the dignity of each person and his/her unique commitment to Christ.

Religious Education

The religious education of our children is very important to our parish. In the early days of 1935 the Felician Sisters of Lodi traveled from Saint Joseph's Parish in Passaic to prepare the children for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. They did this faithfully in makeshift classrooms in the Public School. In 1959 the opening of the new parish school provided the facilities which gave the religious program a much needed boost. The priests and the sisters have developed a fine religious program (one of the finest in the Diocese of Paterson) which prepares the children for the reception of the sacraments and stresses Christian living. It also enables them to participate in Eucharistic liturgies and special religious services, one such example is the memorable and beautiful Bicentennial Program held in February of 1976.

At present, Sister Mary Lorene is the CCD Coordinator. Father John Krzyzanski directs Pre-Baptismal instructions and the new program for the sacrament of Confirmation as well as the Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.).

Turbulent Years

Due to the Second Vatican Council, the Church, in general, experienced significant changes. To conform to the newest decrees of the Council, Saint John Kanty Church and the Sisters' convent chapel were renovated. Father Balcerak, the current pastor, patiently guided his flock, who, understandably, were affected by the changes and helped them to accept the recommendations of the Council.

At this time the Parish Council was also established. This group has as its purpose: to enable the parishioners expend more initiative in Christian living and participation in church services. One such example of their influence culminated (1968) in the introduction of lectors at Sunday Eucharistic liturgies.

Renovations at Saint John Kanty Church

Father Balcerak was succeeded by Father Martin Dombrowski in 1973. During his pastorate a public address system was installed in the church hall. He also remodeled the washroom facilities.

The parishioners once again said farewell to their pastor when Father Dombrowski was assigned to Danbury, Conn. In 1979 Father Joseph Grzybowski took over the reins of the parish. Father Joseph's main concern, like that of the pastors before him, was and remains the spiritual life of his parishioners. His material contributions to the parish include the remodeling and brightening up of the parish auditorium and the purchase of new tables and chairs. He also landscaped the church grounds with new shrubbery. Constantly aware of the practical and economical aspect of the school, he painted the classrooms and updated the lighting system, thus adding comfort to learning for the children he loves so much.

As part of the Golden Jubilee observance of the parish, the Most Rev. Bishop Frank Rodimer granted permission to paint the interior of the church. The work was done in a motif as dictated by Roman design. The graceful rib-vaults are decorated in gold leaf and the ceiling as well as the walls are painted in chapel silver-dawn. The sanctuary was recarpeted, the pews were refurbished, the public address system was updated and new electrical wiring was added with improved and more efficient fixtures. In addition, one of the confessionals was updated to meet the new 'requirements of Vatican II. In 1984 new electric votive stands were added according to Diocesan regulations. The roof was repaired and new copper gutters replaced the original ones. The church steeple was refurbished; the crowning feature was the gilding of the steeple with gold leaf in preparation for the Golden Jubilee festivities.

The Polish Heritage of Saint John Kanty Parish

The parishioners of Saint John Kanty Church are very proud of their Polish heritage. In 1966 they celebrated Poland's Millenium, commemorating one thousand years of Catholicism in Poland with a special Mass at the parish church. Many parishioners also attended the pageant and concert in celebration of the event at Montclair State College.
In 1984 a Polish shrine honoring Our Lady of Czestochowa and Pope John Paul " was given prominence. Another shrine, representing. Saint Maximilian Kolbe, was added and blessed by Monsignor W. Flek of Saint Joseph's Parish in Passaic.

Priests Who Served Saint John Kanty Parish

The parishioners of Saint John Kanty parish raised prayers and sang songs of thanksgiving to God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary on that glorious Jubilee Day, May 19,1985, for their beautiful House of God and for all the priests who served them so piously, devotedly and efficiently throughout the years. Our people will remember them for the liturgies they offered, their sermons, their sick calls, their presence at funerals, marriages, baptisms, conferences, meetings and at countless other gatherings. The list of assoicate pastors who served our parish is as follows:

Rev. Henry Nitz
Rev. Luke Studer
Rev. Henry Kozikowski
Rev. Michael Sionecki
Rev. Adolph Szelagowski
Rev. Ephrem Andraka
Rev. John Swiadek
Rev. Joseph Andrzejewski
Rev. Felix Comeau
Rev. Ira Okraska
Rev. Manuel Wolkanowski
Rev. Camillus Blaszczak
Rev. Titus Wiktor
Rev. Philip Kotlarek
Rev. Vitalis Pedzik
Rev. John Borowik
Rev. Bernard Kuczborski
Rev. Rupert Hajna
Rev. Adam Ziolkowski
Rev. Henry M. Senft
Rev. John Krzyzanski
Rev. Felix Mazur
Rev. Hilary Brzostowski

At present Father Joseph Grzybowski is ass ish in his spiritual and material duties by his Associate Pastors, Father Hilary Brzostowski and Father JohnKrzyzanski.

A perusal of the parish records reveals that since the inception of the parish to the present moment 2,710 children have been baptized, 1127 couples have received the blessing of the sacrament of Matrimony and a total of 2,364 children have received the sacrament of Confirmation. Today, the parish numbers 1100 families.

God has also called two young men from our parish to serve him as priest, namely: Father Allen Stepien, ordained in 1965 and Father Alan Dec, SD It ordained in 1984.


We are a people still on a pilgrimage into the future. We have shared the life of Jesus, yet we are s striving for our salvation. Our search for perfect 10 and total fulfillment is not over. God continues reveal Himself in His Word and the sacraments. He calls us forth into new challenges. He will speak to us the days to come of things we must yet do, and mysteries we still cannot fathom. Saint John Karty parish is young; its future is still being developed in the potential of the present movement. Its story will complete only then when the hearts of all who share in its history are opened before the Lord in the kingdom that is yet to be revealed in it fullness. Our task as a parish is to unite ourselves in charity and to forth together as God's people.

The challenge of the Golden Jubilee for our parish community lies in thanksgiving and hope. It is summed up in the following words of Holy Scripture:

"Today you are making this agreement with the Lord: He is to be your God and you are to walk in His ways and observe His statutes and commandments and decrees, and to hearken to His voice. And today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly His own; and provided you keep all His commandments, He will then raise you on high and you will be a people sacred to the Lord your God." (Deut. 26: 17). "". you shall be my people and I will be your God." (Ex. 36:28)

This is our hope; this is our resolve. we are Willing; God is faithful.

Additional inputs from a parishioner - March 2013

The first "folk Mass" using guitars was actually conducted in 1968 by John Laski and Robert Epsom. Both were Altar Boys and had a small musical group, both attended St John Kanty School, graduating in 1968. The first song played was entitled "Hear Oh Lord."

• The altar boys who after Vatican II carried in and placed the new wooden altar, lectern, etc. were John Laski, Robert Epsom, Tom Shear, and Greg Kowal. These same altar boys spent many hours cleaning the marble altar, using noxon to clean the candle holders, and tops, etc.

• Stanley Halka, the florist from Van Houten Ave provided the large wreaths that were hung over the main altar during Christmas, which was reflected in the special Christmas cards that were made available to spotlight the new sanctuary.

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Last Updated on March 15, 2013