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St. Mary Parish - Ware MA

A brief parish history from the 1930 Jubilee Book

In the South central part of the state of Massachusetts, in Hampshire County, in a scenic region, lies the town of Ware, surrounded by wooded hills.

The town numbers about 8,000 inhabitants.

The Ware River, flowing through the town, furnishes water power to the local industries, chief among them being the three large textile manufactories.

The town of Ware with its time-honored buildings makes a very pleasing impression on newcomers who visit the town. It was in the olden days a famous stopping place for the stage coaches.

In front of the Town Hall stands a large monument with a plaque on which is engraved the names of all who served in the World War. Among them are the names of many Poles.

Ware has three Catholic Churches. One of them, an imposing edifice, is the Polish church of St. Mary's, dedicated September 8, 1907.

St. Mary's Parish was organized in the year 1905. The church, built of red brick, measuring 60 by 130 feet, with a tower 130 feet high, was built at a cost of 137,000 dollars.

On the 22nd of December, 1904, there came to this settlement two missionary Fathers, the late Father Joseph Fux and Father Oswald Loretan, the present pastor of a neighboring parish in Bondsville, Mass. The late Father Fux was named the first pastor of' the local parish.

The first religious service for the Poles was conducted on January 1, 1905, in the lower part of All Saints' church and for the subsequent two years the religious services took place there. Funds were soon being collected for the construction of a new church. The first collection for this purpose netted 300 dollars, the second campaign brought in 2,000 dollars for the new structure.

On the 16th of May, 1906, excavations were begun on a lot near South Street and on the 27th of October of the same year, the ceremony of the blessing of the corner-stone took place with a large number of the faithful from Ware and the neighboring localities taking part.

In 1907, the church structure, built in the Roman-Gothic style, was completed.

In 1923 there were three large bells purchased and installed in the central tower. In the same year the lower church was remodeled and made into eight class rooms. The Poles of Ware at present number about 2700 people.

The immigrants, for the most part, came from the Southern part of Poland, from the counties of Dabrowa, Tarnow, Rzeszow and Jaslo.

The newly organized parish was under the able leadership of the zealous Father Fux.

The great strain of the work, however, soon began to tell on the health of this zealous priest and he was forced to take a few months' rest in Europe in 1909. After this he resumed his work in the parish but it was not to be for very long. His health again gave away in 1912, and he again sought to regain his health in Europe. The surgical operations which he underwent did not restore him to health and after several months' illness he died in Europe on September 6, 1913.

News of the death of the well deserved and affectionately endeared pastor filled the hearts of the parishioners with grief. They had lost in the person of Father Fux their best spiritual protector.

In 1913, Father Oswald Loretan was named pastor of the parish and remained in that position until 1926. During his administration the parish purchased three dwelling houses in the vicinity of the church at a cost of 6500 dollars, with the intention of possibly utilizing these buildings for school purposes. At present, two of these houses are occupied by the Sisters in charge of the school and one of them is rented.

Under the direction of Father Loretan, there was raised for patriotic purposes in the year 1916 the sum of 13,000 dollars.

Among the most noteworthy donations were those of 500 dollars each of the Otis Company and the Geo. H. Gilbert Manufacturing Co. and the donation of 1,000 dollars of Matthew Paige, former director of the Ware Trust Company.

About 30 Poles enlisted in the American Army during the War and a few volunteers went to the Polish Army in France.

In the year 1923, Father Michael Kolbuch, M. S. a missionary, came to this town from Poland. He founded here the monthly magazine entitled, "The Messenger of the Blessed Virgin of LaSalette" which at present numbers over 25,000 subscribers throughout the country.

Father Michael Kolbuch through his untiring labors has endeared himself, not only to all of parishioners, but he also has very many friends in other circles.

In 1924 Father Joseph Piszczalka came to these shores from Poland and for two years acted as assistant pastor in this parish.

In 1926, when Father Oswald Loretan was appointed pastor in the parish in Bondsville, Father Piszczalka succeeded him as pastor in this parish.

In November 1927, Father Michael Kolbuch was made pastor of St. Mary's Parish.

His first assistant was Father Anthony Lozinski, at present assistant to Father Ladislaus Sajek in Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada.

The present assistant pastor is Father Peter Jaworski, M. S.

There is found here the administration office of "The Messenger" and "The Almanac of the Blessed Virgin of La Salette."

"The Messenger" is edited by Father Michael Kolbuch M. S. and Father Francis Slusarz M. S.

Father Michael Herbut, M. S. when not engaged in his missionary work resides in the parish. The parochial school, founded in 1924, is housed in the lower part of the church.

The parochial school has eight grades and is attended by 300 children.

The school is in charge of eight Sisters of the Order of Immaculate Conception of New Britain, CT.

The parish numbers 400 families. The appraised value of the church property is over 500,000 dollars.

The present rectory is the former residence of the manager of the Otis Company. It was purchased in 1927 for 22,000 dollars.

In the rear of the rectory is a large building formerly a spacious garage and at present remodeled into a parish hall. This hail has a stage and can seat an audience of 400 people

It has a heating system and serves as a gymnasium as well

The rectory is surrounded by a beautiful lawn and flower beds

The estimated value of this property is about 60,000 dollars.

The parish cemetery was procured during the administration of the late Father Fux at a cost of 800 dollars and comprises about 20 acres of land. At present Father Kolbuch M. S. began to improve the cemetery grounds. The plans for the improvement of the cemetery extend over a period of ten years at a cost of 16,000 dollars.

Father Kolbuch is untiring in his priestly efforts. He has already organized many societies. The societies founded by him are: The Polish Women's Alliance, the Polish Roman-Catholic Union, the Society of Falcons, the Society of St. Stanislaus Kostka, the Drum Corps and St. Mary's Alligators.

Among the persons of note who have visited this parish in Ware are the late Archbishop John Cieplak of Poland, who preached an impressive sermon to the Polish people on the twentieth of January, 1926 and Senator David 1. Walsh who delivered a speech in the Town Hall on the occasion of the celebration of the Tenth anniversary of the Independence of Poland.

Reverend Michael Kolbuch, M. S.

Father Michael Kolbuch was appointed pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Ware, MA. in 1927.

He first saw the light of day on November 14, 1889 in Busk, near Lemberg, Poland.,

He made his elementary studies in the local schools there and then entered the college of the La Salette Fathers.

He made his high school and college course in the years 1904 to 1911 in the College of La Salette Fathers, Belgium.

The Congregation did not yet have any educational institution in Poland. After completing his college course, he had a year of novitiate in Italy, in the town of Suza, near Turin, in the international novitiate house of the La Salette Fathers. In 1913 he made a brief visit to his native land after which he went to Rome to take up his philosophical and theological studies in the Gregorian University at Rome.

During these studies from 1913 to 1919 he had an opportunity to become acquainted with the life and customs of the different nationalities of Western Europe.

While yet a student, he visited Belgium, and as a seminarian he visited Italy and other European countries.

He was ordained a priest in December 2, 1917. He remained in Rome till 1919 to complete his studies and prepare himself more thoroughly for his missionary work.

In May 1919, Father Kolbuch came to Poland for a brief sojourn after which he again returned to Rome with nine Polish students from the College of La Salette and was there made assistant master of novices.

After one year of the arduous task of preparing candidates for the holy priesthood and the hardships of a missionary life, he returned to Poland.

For a time Father Kolbuch remained in Dembowiec, near Jaslo, where he was prefect in the College of the Missionary Fathers of LaSalette for three years.

During this he exerted his efforts to acquaint the Poles with the then little known in Poland history of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Mount La Salette in France and of the founding of the new order of the La Salette Fathers in the Catholic Church as the result of this apparition. Father Kolbuch has the distinction of being the first Polish Missionary to belong to this order.

In order to better make known this history of La Salette and to spread the honor and praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary of La Salette Father Kolbuch began to publish in Poland a monthly magazine, entitled "The Messenger of the Blessed Virgin Mary of La Salette" which at present has a circulation there of about 20,000 copies.

In 1923 Father Kolbuch was sent to America by his Superiors to do missionary work.

During first four years of his stay on American soil, he preached many missions in Polish parishes and at the same time brought to these parishes the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary of La Salette.

In order to supplement his missionary labors Father Kolbuch began to publish in America also a monthly magazine entitled, "The Messenger of the Blessed Virgin Mary of La Salette."

In 1927 he was appointed pastor in Ware, MA. by his Superiors and by the Bishop of the diocese.

As a pastor, Father Kolbuch is untiring in his work for the good of the parish, in organizing societies and in other ways trying to keep aflame in the hearts of the 2700 Poles the fire of faith and patriotism.

He is also Superior of the local house of the Missionaries of La Salette.

The following are the societies that exist in the parish:

1. The Society of the White Eagle
2. The Altar Society
3. The Rosary Society
4. The Third Order of St. Francis
5. The Society of the Children of Mary
6. The Society of St. Stanislaus Kostka
7. The Polish Roman-Catholic Union
8. The Polish Women's Alliance
9. The Polish Falcons
10. Drum Corps
11. St. Mary's Alligators

The last named six societies have been organized by Father Michael Kolbuch.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2011