St Hedwig's Church Dunkirk NY
Polish Roman congregation of Dunkirk's (Gorki Hills) 4th ward. Established as a Parish in 1902,a temporary wooden frame edifice was built first, this burned to the ground in 1903. The second building, constructed from brick, stone and wood was damaged by fire in 1905.The third replacement building, as shown above was completed in 1907.
In 1902 Bishop Colton delegated Father Hyacinth Fudzinski to organize the new parish.
A school building ran across the end, of the second building, when in December 1905 the Church burned. When rebuilt (1906-1907) the design was altered. Now the ground level became the school and the church occupied the second story. There was a large basement in the old church used for school plays and social functions. In 1972 because of structural deficiencies in the old building, and lower enrollments, it was decided to build a new modern church on land adjacent to the old structure. This was dedicated in 1973, and a Social Center was added in 1975. The old church was demolished in 1976.
Saint Hedwig's was sponsored by an older Dunkirk parish in the First ward-St Hyacinth's. The first pastor appointed to St Hedwigs was the acclaimed and famous Western NY priest who founded Our Lady Of Victory Homes in Lackawanna. Father Nelson Baker, whose cause is now being promoted to be a saint in the Church. Unfortunately because Father Baker could not hear confessions in Polish he was recalled only after 2 weeks. The Felician order of Nuns taught in the elementary school. The Diocese of Buffalo provided priests as pastors for the parish.
Bishop James Quigley dedicated the church on January 11,1903.The membership increased to 300 families. In April 1903 , Father Thomas Stabneau became pastor. He immediately began the construction of a combination church and school. The cornerstone was laid July 4,1904.
The most Rev.Bishop Charles Colton, appointed the Rev.Peter Szulc(1902) as first pastor, under the guidance of Father Thomas Stabneau (1903-1911).Rev.Peter Latocha (1911-1913) Rev.Constantine Sliszewski (1923-1926) In 1926, the Rev. John Slazyk (1926-1930) made necessary repairs at the rectory, had the church renovated and built a new Sisters convent in 1928. All at a cost of $45,000., a legacy of the next pastor Rev. John Klimek(1930-1958). Through succeeding years, all parishioners prayed and worked diligently to pay off parish debts and maintain the buildings. After the death of Father Klimek(1959-1974) on September 22,1958, the Rev. Carl Drew was administrator until the installation of the Rev. John Hrycyna on March 9,1959. As years passed the church structure became weak and finally on May 21,1972 groundbreaking for a new church took place. Father Hrycyna said the first Mass on Easter Sunday in 1973. When the church was dedicated on May 22,1973, it was debt free. The Rev.Hrycyna retired in 1974,and the Rev. Edward Synowiak (1974-1985) became pastor. In 1975 a Social Center was erected and dedicated December 21,1975. Father Synowiak retired in 1985.
In February 1985, the Rev. Thomas Crane(1985-1995) was named Pastor. In 1995 the Rev.Joseph P Janaczek (1995-) was named pastor. Throughout the years the hard work and the generosity of all the parishioners have kept the Church debt free.
St Hedwig's cemetery was established in 1912 on Bennett Rd. (still today)
Breaking Ground for the new Church
The new building today bordering Roberts Rd, Townsend St and Doughty Street.
1954 St Hedwig's Mothers Club
Photo's and information taken from copies of the Evening Observer Dunkirk NY
Back To NY OBITS / Church Index