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St. Valentine Parish - Hawthorne IL

A short parish history from the 1961 Jubilee Book

In the year 1911, a group of Poles belonging to St. Mary of Czestochowa, located in Hawthorne, who resided in the Grant Works area, decided that because of transportation difficulties, it would be desirable to establish a new parish in Grant Works. Lack of adequate transportation not only affected the parishioners on Sunday, but was a daily problem insofar as the children getting to and from the St. Mary school.

The idea of establishing a new parish was accepted enthusiastically by many families in Grant Works. An initial meeting was held in one of the local halls at which time ninety families and 100 single persons attended. All expressed a willingness to cooperate toward the fulfillment of such a venture. An initial offering was made which totaled $760.00.

Permission to establish the new parish was granted by His Grace Archbishop James Quigley. At a later meeting it was decided to arrange for the purchase of property on 13th Street, between 49th Court and 50th Avenue for the site of the new church and school. The Rev. Anthony Halgas was appointed the first pastor and the new parish was designated to be known as St. Valentine's.

Bishop Paul Rhode officiated at the laying of the corner-stone in October 1911. The first Mass was celebrated in the new church on Easter Sunday, 1912.

The first residence of the pastor was in a rented house adjacent to the church. This house, along with two adjoining vacant lots, was later purchased and has since become the location of the Sister's convent.

The Sisters selected to conduct the school are of the order of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Sisters Fidalia and Germana, the first nuns, arrived at St. Valentine's to take up their duties as teachers in September of 1912. One hundred children of various ages of Polish, Irish, and Italian descent enrolled in the schooL As recorded, the Sisters found them very receptive and although each nun had several grades to teach, they found it a pleasure to undergo the task.

Prior to the erection of St. Valentine's Church, the center of all parish activities - bazaars, dances, benefits, society meetings -. was the White Eagle Hall, located at 1461 Street and 52nd Avenue, which was owned by one of our pioneer parishioners, Mrs. Estelle Sujak.

Father Halgas was transferred in July 1915 and was succeeded by the Rev. Theodore Langfort, who remained until 1918, and was in turn replaced by the Rev. Stanley Radniecki. Father Radniecki remained for six years performing his duties to the eminent satisfaction of all parishioners and leaving many pleasant memories.

In March 1924, the Rev. Bernard K. Szudzinski was appointed pastor. During his tenure a new rectory, convent, and gymnasium were added which completed adequate building facility.

In 1932, because of the growth of the parish, the first permanent assistant was assigned to St. Valentine's. Until that time it was necessary for priests to come from the monastery to assist at Sunday Masses.

In December 1948, His Eminence Samuel Cardinal Stritch, appointed our present pastor, Rev. Walter W. Kozlowski, the former pastor of St. Simeon of Bellwood, Illinois. During his pastorship, numerous improvement and modernization projects throughout the parish buildings have been inaugurated and completed. With God's help, may he be blessed with an abundance of good health and strength to carry on for many more years.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2011