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St. Susanna Parish - Harvey IL

A parish history from the 1958 Anniversary Banquet Booklet

To the west side of Harvey there came to live a fine group of Catholic families who went to Church on Sundays to St. Stanislaus Church in Posen and St. John the Baptist Church in Phoenix. It didn't take long for them to send a request to the Archbishop of Chicago for a Church of their own. Due to the religious zeal of the members of the Citizen's Club under the name of Joseph Piisudski, a meeting was called in the hail of Mr. Joseph Babon. At this meeting a Committee was chosen to present a petition for the establishment of a Parish. The members of this Committee were Mr. Joseph Babon, Mr. Stanley Janik, Mr. Andrew Klaczynski, Mr. Peter Spiewak, Mr. Walter Tychewicz, Mrs. Sophie Grzesik, Mrs. Julia Szczerbuk (Spiewak) and Mrs. Pauline Zeleznik. This Committee went to Msgr. T. Bona with their request. After they presented a list of 125 families as future Parishioners and a map of West Harvey, Msgr. Bona informed the Archbishop of Chicago of this petition.

The Archbishop appointed the Rev. Thomas Smyk as the founder and first Pastor of St. Susanna's Parish on Dec. 2, 1927. The first Mass, in the newly established Parish, was said at 5:30 A.M. on Dec. 8, 1927 in Makarek's Hall, 14901 Lincoln Ave. The first Ushers were Mr. Joseph Babon, Mr. Stanley Janik, Mr. Peter Spiewak and Mr. Albert Sypien.

As a Rectory, a private home was purchased and this serves as a Rectory to this day.

To begin the construction of a Church and school as soon as possible, the Citizens' Club purchased 9 lots and donated them to the Parish. The Archbishop purchased an additional 13 lots. May 17, 1928 the Ground-breaking Ceremony took place. Also on this day 31 children received their First Holy Communion. .June 10, 1928 the Blessing of the Corner Stone ceremony took place. Msgr. A. Halgas of officiated, assisted by Rev. Theodore Czastka as Deacon and Rev. Vincent Nowicki as Subdeacon. Rev. Albert Olszewski rendered the sermon.

Sept. 11, 1928 classes were held in the parish school with an attendance of 270 children. The teachers were the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Sister M. Laurenta, grade 7-8, Sister M. Annina, grade 5-6, Sister M. Tacjana, Mother Superior, grade 3-4, Sister M. Fidencia, grade 1-2. Sister M. Sergia was the cook for the nuns.

Oct. 14, 1928 the first Mass was said in the new Church. Oct. 21st Most Rev. Bishop B. Sheil blessed the Church and school. Assisting him were Rev. Leon Sychocki as Deacon and Rev. Valentine Belinski as Subdeason. Rev. Joseph Karbasz rendered the sermon. The first Trustees of the Parish were Mr. Andrew Klaczynski and Mr. John Kozik.

In 1932 Rev. Thomas Smyk was transferred and in his place came Rev. Ignatius Renklewski who was Pastor until 1944. There was a depression and the times were very difficult. During his pastorate, a parish hall was built.

In 1945 Rev. Ignatius Renklewski was transferred and in his place came Rev. Paul Sobota. Thanks to his zealous and energetic labors, the greater part of the parish debt was liquidated.

In 1948 Rev. Paul Sobota was transferred and in place came Rev. Steven Kowalski. His stay in the parish was a short one, for two years later Fr. Kowalski passed away.

In 1950 Rev. John M. Ostrowski accepted the Pastorate of St. Susanna's Parish. At first he liquidated the remaining parish debt. Then he improved the parish buildings and added four rooms to the Rectory. When his health began to fail in 1956, he applied for an Assistant. His Eminence, Samuel Cardinal Stritch sent him Rev. Walter J. Zmija.

All these years, the Sisters' living quarters were in the school. Now came the time to build a Convent. Thanks to the generosity of the Parishioners, a beautiful Convent was built and in 1957 the Sisters moved into their new quarters. Their old quarters in the school were converted into two class-rooms.

In 1958 the heating system was converted from coal to oil, new confessionals were installed in Church, and the Church and school were remodeled and redecorated. In this latter work, the Holy Name Society members were a great help. Today all the classes in school are filled to capacity and in the Parish there are 450 families. St. Susanna's Parish continues to grow for the greater honor and glory of God.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2011