– the parish is organised; first pastor: Rev. S. Guzik (1928-1930)
– Christmas Day – the first Mass is celebrated
– the ground for parish cemetery is purchased
– the lot for a new church building is purchased
– the church of St. John the Baptist is built
– second pastor: Rev. Piotr Latas (1930-1935)
– the church bell is purchased and blessed
– the rectory is built
– canonical visitation & the sacrament of Confirmation by Rt. Rev. J. Lesniak
– the organ is purchased
– the chapel at the cemetery is built
– new pastor: Rev. Zygmunt Jan Szczepkowski (1940-1945)
CLICK HERE for the list of the pastors throughout the parish history.
St. John the Baptist PNC Church historical draft…
In the early 1900’s our parents and grand parents left Poland to come to the United States of America to find a better life. Some of them came first to Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts, then eventually settling in Manchester, CT – on Union Street, on North Street or on Kerry Street (known as „the village”). They first attended the local St. Bridget’s Roman Catholic Church.
But, as Polish-speaking people, they wanted to participate in Masses that included their native language and traditional Polish religious devotions, all conducted by priests who shared the same culture, and appreciated Polish history. They also wanted a more democratic church, where they could voice their opinions and influence decisions made about the church property and the use of church funds.
The birth of our parish happened in 1929, after being conceived at an organizing meeting December 19, 1928. It began with the determination of our parents and grandparents to establish a Christian Catholic church with the true meaning of religious freedom. Today, the fruits of their tireless faith, labor, and sacrifices, make us proud of our heritage. The first movement towards organizing St. John’s Church was led by Bishop Walenty Gwrychowski and Very Rev. Leopold Dombrowski. Encouraged by their inspiring words, working in the spirit of our founder Bishop Francis Hodur, and mindful of the words in the symbol of our PNC Church – „with Truth, Work and Struggle” – the organizers strived to realize the church of their heart. In the words of Prime Bishop Hodur, „we believe with our being, that God created the Polish National Catholic Church, so it might be the source of truth and sound faith; the guardian of the oppressed; and in seeking the goal of our life on earth and for life beyond earth.”
Our first parish Masses and 8 baptisms in 1929 were celebrated in Turn Hall on North Street by Fr. S. Guzik. In 1930 our present church was built and the first Mass there was celebrated by Fr. Leopold Dombrowski, but Fr. Piotr Latas became the pastor by mid-year. Several pastors served short terms until Fr. Szczepkowski came in 1940; Fr Stryjewski in 1948; Fr. Hyszko in 1958; Fr. Loncola in 1983; and Fr. Kaszubski in 1997. The years were full of numerous bingos, dinners, plays, minstrel shows, raffles, bazaars and other functions to help raise money to continue to build and beautify our church. The 30’s, 40’s and 50’s saw the development of a drum and bugle corps, a baseball team, a Lutnia choir with 30+ members, and the St. Lucia’s children’s choir. Our pastors over the years led us through new challenges until now. We see the past and present efforts of our parishioners in the beauty and personal warmth of our church. May the Lord continue to lead us into our future, guiding us by His Holy Spirit in today’s „truth, work and struggle”.