Monday, December 3, 2007

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church,1882

Photo by Ceil Wendt Jensen
Transcribed by Joseph Martin

In 1872 there were only four Polish families and a few single men in Calumet. Total strangers among the other nationalities they naturally sought their own company. Father Jacker was then pastor at the Sacred Heart and in him they found a great friend and protector. He not only had the Jesuit Father Szulak visit them but he himself made an attempt to learn Polish in which he progressed enough to be able to read the gospel to them and in case of necessity make himself understood.

Several changes came, the Poles keenly felt the loss of their friend, so they decided to call upon Bishop Mrak the first time he stepped into town. And when they did, he said: "I have written for a Polish priest and he will shortly arrive here. I intend to leave him here for the Polish and German Catholics."

On the 12th of January, 1875, Rev. Fabian Pawlar arrived and he and Father Brown divided the honors of the pastorate. In October Father Brown was removed and Father Pawlar remained alone in charge of the parish until August 11, 1878. When removed to Houghton he still remained in touch with his countrymen and kept the awakened desire of having a church of their own alive.

A committee was benignantly received by Mr. Alexander Agassiz, president of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company and he gave them two lots on Seventh street and six hundred dollars in cash. With this aid their spirits rose and the church became an accomplished fact. At the end of October Father Pawlar removed again to the Sacred Heart and from there superintended his new church.

It was a frame structure 75x41, with the sacristy and the "traditional few rooms for the priest." The church was dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua on the 5th of November, 1882, by Bishop Vertin. On June 24, 1883, Father Pawlar severed his connection with the parish. After a vacancy of three months, Rev. Aemilius Goch became pastor but remained only one month.

Rancorous disorders convulsed the whole parish and the Bishop placed it under an administrator of non-Polish nationality. Rev. Father Vermare took hold of it on December 30, 1883, and ruled until the following July 30th, when pre-occupied with his own, the French, congregation he withdrew. Then Rev. W. Wingerter attended to it for a month. Finally, September 20, 1884, a Polish priest, Rev. J. Horbaczewski, was again appointed. He stayed until September 18, 1887. To forestall threatening dissension Bishop Vertin sent a German administrator in the person of Rev. Fidelis Sutter, from November 13, 1887, to April 8, 1888.

Although not adverse to non-Polish priests the rejoicing was general when in the beginning of May Rev. August Krogulski became pastor. After his departure to Europe, July 6, 1892, these pastors followed: Rev. Julius Papon, from August 14, 1892, to July 24, 1894. Rev. W. A. Mlynarczyk, from July 29, 1894, to May 12, 1895. Rev. A. Krogulski, second term, from June 2, 1895, to August 22, 1897. Rev. Francis Maciarcz, the present pastor, from August 29, 1897.

The rooms in the sacristy were not long considered suitable accommodation for the pastor. In 1889 they built him a neat residence at a cost of one thousand four hundred dollars. And as the congregation was rapidly gaining in membership the enlarging of the church became a necessity. In 1892, Father Papon lengthened it out twenty-five feet to the rear and at the same time built an addition 42X22 for the purposes of a Polish school, which has an attendance of eighty pupils and is conducted by two lay teachers. The cost of these additions and repairs was in excess of twelve thousand five hundred dollars.

The rebuilt church was blessed by Bishop Vertin, November 27, 1892. The number of Polish families in Red Jacket and neighborhood has grown from four to two hundred of today. Notwithstanding the unfortunate dissensions caused by unscrupulous souls the parish has prospered. With faith deeply rooted in their hearts these sturdy sons of old Poland have more than liberally contributed towards the upbuilding of their church, which today stands without an indebtedness.

"History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette" (Containing a full and accurate account of the development of the Catholic Church in Upper Michigan) by Rev. Antoine Ivan Rezek. (Chicago: M. A. Donohue & Co., 1907), Vol. 2, pp. 282-283.