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Farewell to New Haven

Farewell New Haven 1

Exactly 120 years ago, on December 28, 1901 Most Rev. Michael Tierney, the 6th Bishop of Hartford erected the parish of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr in New Haven, Connecticut. His decision met the needs of Polish immigrants in the area organized in the Society of Saint Stanislaus. At the beginning the parish didn’t have their own place of worship.

Bishop Michael Tierney of Hartford and the beginnings

Two years later, bishop Tierney met in New York City three Vincentian missioners who have just came to Hoboken, NJ from Kraków, Poland. Those missioners were looking for new mission, ministry as their original plans to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin failed. Meeting Bishop of Hartford was a blessing for missioners. He invited them to New Haven where the young St. Stanislaus parish needed new pastor (the first pastor, Fr. Musial was assigned to develop another parish in Connecticut).

Exactly 118 years ago, on December 29, 1903 three Polish sons of St.Vincent de Paul, Fr. George Glogowski CM, Fr. Paul Waszko CM and Fr. Francis Trawniczek CM arrived to New Haven by train welcomed by Bishop Tierney himself at the Union Station. Immediately, the bishop passed the care of Polish parish of St. Stanislaus to Vincentian Fathers and Fr. George Glogowski CM was appointed the new pastor and his associates became parochial vicars. On New Year day of 1904 he took the office. At that moment, the Vincentian mission in Connecticut and New England begun.

Their first activity was a popular mission which was not only the great success but that was a realization there were much more Poles in the area than they first expected. It turned out the temporary place of worship located in the former grocery shop on Dwight Street site was too small. In a short while, the old Swedish church on St. John Street was acquired. Bishop Tierney blessed it on Memorial Day in 1905, under the patronage of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr.

The parish continued to grow very rapidly and by 1910 it was evident that they had outgrown both the church and the parish school. Father Antoni Mazurkiewicz CM, the fourth pastor looked for a property that would be more centrally located in the city of New Haven. He found an abandoned church on the corner of State and Eld Streets. This the place were the present St. Stanislaus, the Bishop and Martyr parish is located.

By 1911, the property was cleared and the foundation for the present church was laid. On Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day, last Monday of May) in 1912, Most Reverent John Joseph Nilan, the 7th Bishop of Hartford, blessed the cornerstone of the new church. Just a year later, on April 27, 1913, the first Mass was said in the new church. A solemn Mass of dedication was celebrated by Bishop Nilan on May 30, 1913.

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Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford and his Pastoral Plan

108 years later, on July 28, 2021 Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, the Saint 8th successor of Bishop Tierney, addressed a letter to Very Rev. Marek G. Sadowski CM, the Provincial Superior of the Vincentians in New England. In Archbishop’s letter we read:

“As we explained, the present Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese calls for the parishes of Saint Joseph and Saint Michael the Archangel to remain independent and staffed by the Vincentian Fathers as long as it is possible for your Province to do so. We hope that both in Ansonia and Derby there will be even greater cooperation among all the clergy in these two municipalities to ensure the strength of the Church and the fraternal support of one another. [...]

Thank you again for the fine work also done by the Vincentian Fathers [...] at Saint Stanislaus Parish in New Haven. However, as we explained, the Archdiocese has to press ahead with Pastoral Planning to ensure vibrant parishes in the face of the two-fold challenge of dwindling numbers of clergy — both diocesan and religious — and shrinking numbers of practicing Catholics as well.

In New Haven the “municipal model” that we are implementing for the Archdiocese will be effective January 1, 2022. As of that date a new municipal parish will be erected which will include the parishes/churches of Saint Mary (and Saint Joseph), Saint Stanislaus, Saint Michael, Saint Martin de Porres, Our Lady of Guadalupe (Saint Francis and Saint Rose of Lima), and Saint Anthony, as well as the Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale.

Perhaps the Vincentians Fathers wish to continue ministering to the Polish community at Saint Stanislaus, not as Pastors but rather as parochial vicars of the municipal parish in concert and fraternity with the other priests assigned to that municipal parish. I realize that this represents a significant change in the long history of your ministry in New Haven, but it is one that I am confident will bring all the Catholic people in the community to a stronger and more vibrant parish life. [...]

I thank you most heartily for your ministry in the Archdiocese and the wider Church and pray that the transition I have described, while perhaps unanticipated and disappointing, will nonetheless encourage you to participate as a blessing to both the Church in New Haven and your religious community.”

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Once planted charism lives on against all odds

In this situation instead of thinking of parish / mission anniversary celebrations we were fostered to prepare for moving out from the place we built, brought up and cared of for almost 120 years. We are witnessing the saddest situation the Vincentians of New England Province have been in all our history. We are talking about our roots, our beginnings.

In our history we won and lost many times. Times change and we are changing with them, as the old Roman proverb says. Erie, Bow, Whitestone, Utica, Wethersfield, West Hartford, Stamford, Concord, Pelham, Naugatuck. But this time is different. This time we are almost speechless… This lost hurts…

The first Polish Vincentians in Connecticut built this place, developed, redecorated and cared for. The church and school at State Street and the rectory, religious community house at Eld Street are our origins. More then 120 confreres started their American Vincentian journey in New Haven. Almost every missioner coming in to the Polish mission in the USA first came to New Haven. It was a peaceful shelter and harbor for the Confreres, missionaries expelled from China missions after 1947 revolution. The house at Eld Street was our Mother House as we usually call the first location of the Congregation in any Province. (As Our Lady of the Barrens, Perryville, MO is for Western Province and St. Vincent Seminary in Germantown, Philadelphia, PA is for Eastern Province). From this place the Vincentians were able to expand their mission across Connecticut, New York State, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine and more.

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Farewell

Now, we would like to give thanks to all the people of New Haven, those who joined us for prayer and worship in St. Stanislaus church and those who came for confession here or in other purposes and occasions. Thank you very, very much. You will be in our thoughts and prayers always.

At Christmas of 1903 Fr. George Glogowski CM brought the charism of Saint Vincent de Paul, our Founder, to this land. He and his companions planted this charism in. After 118 years we witness and experience how much this charism grew up and spread all around. It would not be possible without engagement, loyalty, openness and continuous support from your, our parishioners, the people of New haven and Connecticut. Thank you very much for your presence. We will never forget you. We will always miss you.

Today we are leaving this place. But we believe the charism of Saint Vincent de Paul, the legacy of all the fifteen Vincentian pastors and of St. Stanislaus parish and their associates will live on.

We are leaving New Haven, but as you know, we are not leaving you. It’s only ten miles westward to Derby or Ansonia were you can find us. Always, you are welcomed at St. Michael’s in Derby or St. Joseph’s in Ansonia. we are waiting for you there.

We are leaving New Haven, but our mission continues. The charism which brought us here 118 years ago impels us to continue preaching the Good News to the people of Connecticut and New England.

May Almighty God bless you all.

Farewell New Haven 5

Post Scriptum
The current pastor of St. Stanislaus parish, Fr. Tadeusz Maciejewski CM, and Fr. Stanley Miekinia CM have left the parish grounds on December 28, 2021. According to Archbishop’s Blair decision, Fr. Sebastian Kos assigned as new parish administrator starting on January 1, 2022.

 

 

 

 

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