About Divine Mercy Parish
A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
The Nineteenth Century found people leaving their respective homelands for many and variety reasons to start life anew in the New World. In the Palmer area, the Irish were first to arrive about 1831; French-Canadiens about 1855; and the Polish beginning in 1886. These groups brought with them their indomitable faith and deeply-ingrained Catholic traditions. The first Mass in Three Rivers, MA, according to tradition, was celebrated in late 1832 or 1833 by Father James Fitton of East Boston.
1895 - The St. Joseph Men's Society of Thorndike was formed in April of 1895. Father Franciszek Chałupka of Chicopee was instrumental in getting the Polish settlers of Three Rivers, Thorndike, and Bondsville to unite and form this society. Such unification served as an incentive to form a parish for the increasing number of Poles in the area.
St. Joseph Society of Thorndike
1899 - The St. Joseph Society members chose representatives to explore the possibility of a Polish-speaking church. In the meantime, individuals traveled to Chicopee when their needs necessitated ministry in their native tongue. Occasionally, visiting priests of Polish descent ministered to their spiritual needs.
1900 - Among some of the early settlers instrumental in soliciting funds and forming the parish were Stanisław Zięba, Wincenty Roman, Dominik Motyka, Szymon Jorczak, Franciszek Kosinski, Albert Świst, Jan Bielski, Józef Kania, Albert Rusek, Stanisław Zerdecki, Kazimierz Sakowski, Michał Pelczarski, Franciszek Salamon, Michał Motyka, Marian Włodyka, Karol Godek, Albert Kolbusz, Antoni Wilk, Walter Pietryka, Andrzej Krolik, and Michał Frydryk.
1901 - Sixty-three Polish baptisms were recorded at St. Mary's Church in Thorndike and only ten Irish baptisms - thus highlighting the need for a Polish-speaking church.
A young attorney (later judge) David Dillon of Palmer greatly assisted the first Polish settlers and was influential in getting permission from Bishop of Springfield, Most Rev. Thomas Daniel Beaven, D.D. to establish a new parish.
The St. Stanislaus Polish Men's Society was formed in the village of Three Rivers.
St. Stanislaus Polish Men's Society of Three Rivers
1902 - Father Wacław Lenz was appointed by Bishop Beaven as the first Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish.
Fr. Lenz, Pastor 1902-1911
Polish Roman Catholic Congregation Committee, Inc., which had been formed for the purpose of collecting funds and seeking permission from the bishop to establish a Polish-speaking parish, was dissolved, and all records were turned over to Fr. Lenz when Bishop Beaven named him first pastor. According to records of Michał Pelczarski, one of the incorporators, the parish debt was $1.87.
Through the efforts of a committee, which had been gathering funds from among the Polish settlers, eleven acres of uncleared land were purchased at Four Corners for $1,000 from the Talmadge family. In the meantime, St. Anne's Church in Three Rivers was rented for use to have Mass celebrated there. Mass was also celebrated at St. Mary's Church in Thorndike and at a chapel in Bondsville.
Construction of SS. Peter and Paul Rectory began in late 1902.
SS. Peter and Paul Rectory, on which construction began in 1902.
The first Baptism recorded by Fr. Lenz was that of Wiktoria Miga on August 16, 1902. The first marriage was recorded on August 23, 1902 - Jan and Julia Kmon.
1903 - Pope Leo XIII died (Reigned from 1878-1903). Pius X became the new Pope.
The SS. Peter and Paul Holy Rosary Sodality was formed. Katherine Kosinska and Tekla Pobudzynska were the organizers.
Construction of SS. Peter and Paul Church began.
SS. Peter and Paul Church and Rectory, 1905, with a portrait of founding Pastor Father Wacław Lenz.
1905 - Construction of SS. Peter and Paul Church, Rectory, and barn were completed.
On September 24, the cornerstone was laid and SS. Peter and Paul Church was dedicated. Attending was a delegation from a Polish society in Ludlow, dressed in Krakowiak style, with long white coasts and four-cornered hats adorned with peacock feathers. The new parish numbered nearly one thousand members.
Isaiah 56:7 "Mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people"
Some interesting statistics are as follows:
Cost of church (including furnishings) and barn - $60,000
Stations of the Cross - $3,500
Organ - $1,600
Individual windows - $50
Mortgage on all property at this time totaled $35,000
Ignacy Paderewski Band, established 1906, pictured with Fr. Lenz.
1906 - Urged by Father Lenz, the Parish organized the Ignacy Paderewski Band. The band played for local and area parades, particularly as a marching band for the Polish organizations participating in church and community functions.
1908 - The Polish Citizens Club of Thorndike was formed to participate in civic and political affairs. This group later disbanded; nevertheless, its counterpart - the Thorndike Women's Club, organized much later, flourished for a number of years.
1911 - Because of turmoil within the Parish, Father Lenz asked for and received a transfer to Sacred Heart Parish in Easthampton, MA. At the time of his departure, the mortgage had been reduced to $28,500. Father Władysław Kiełbasiński was assigned the second Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.
Fr. Kiełbasiński, Pastor 1911-1913
Children of Mary Sodality was formed under the leadership of Anna Kruczek and Mary Szczepanek. The Sodality members gave religious instruction, maintained, and beautified the church sanctuary, and assisted financially in community affairs.
1913 - Father Kiełbasiński was in ill health during most of his two-year pastorate. In 1913, he retired and returned to his native Poland. At the time of his departure, the church debt has been reduced from $28,500 to $21,250.
Father Andrzej Krzywda was assigned as the third Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church. Before his lengthy pastorate was completed, all indebtedness of SS. Peter and Paul Parish had been discharged.
Fr. Krzywda, Pastor 1913-1947
Sacred Heart Society was formed. Membership included both men and women who worked energetically for God and Country.
Statistics show that of seventy-five students attending Palmer High School at this time, only one was of Polish descent.
1914 - A Meneely bell, weighing 1,225 lbs. was shipped to the Parish. The bell consists of 78 parts copper and 22 parts tin. These metals constitute a genuine cast bronze bell. This was proudly installed and began to toll its message to the community.
Pope Pius X died (Reigned from 1903-1914). Benedict XV was elected the new Pope.
1916 - Because of the resignation of the pastor of St. Adalbert Parish in Bondsville, Fr. Krzywda also directed the building of St. Adalbert Church and headed this mission parish until 1918, when a new resident pastor was assigned.
SS. Peter and Paul Church, Rectory, and St. Adalbert Polish Mission Church, Bondsville
1917 - The United States entered World War I on April 6.
Parish completed payment of mortgage due on church properties.
Fr. Krzywda proposed building a parochial school and was met with resistance from some parishioners. In spite of those objections, a building fund was established for this purpose.
Mary Motyka (Kapinos) became the first Polish girl to graduate from Palmer High School. That Sunday, in keeping with his philosophy, Fr. Krzywda devoted his sermon to the importance of education and urged others to seek as much learning as possible as the only way to progress and prosper.
Fr. Alfons A. Skoniecki, newly ordained, was assigned as assistant pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish.
1918 - On November 11, an Armistice was declared ending World War I. Much joy was felt in the Parish at the conclusion of the "war to end all wars."
After a short tenure as assistant, Fr. A. A. Skoniecki was assigned to serve in another parish.
1919 - Our founding fathers had forethought to plan for the acquisition of a house that was later to become the convent for the Sisters of the Franciscan Congregation. A twelve-room house owned by Philomena and Rose Smith was considered. During the negotiations, one of the Smith sisters died, and the other sold the home to the Parish for $3,312 to memorialize her sister.
The Convent of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, at 2358 Main Street. Fr. Krzywda purchased the convent in 1919.
The parish now had $10,000 available, and construction of the parish school began. Bruno Wozny of Springfield was the architect; John Topor of Easthampton, the contractor.
Construction of the Parish School in 1919.
1920 - Bishop Thomas Beaven, second Bishop of Springfield, MA passed away. (Bishop 1892-1920.)
1921 - A one-story school building containing eight classrooms and an auditorium was completed in August at a cost of $70,000. Outstanding debt was $45,000.
In September, classes began for approximately four-hundred students. Eight sisters of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, a teaching order, staffed the school. Under the direction of Sister M. Aloysius, Principal, the first teaching staff included Sisters M. Victoria, M. Amalia, M. Eusebia, M. Agnes, M. Fabiana, M. Germana, M. Euphrasia, and M. Leandra.
On June 16, Thomas Michael O'Leary was appointed by Pope Benedict XV as the third Bishop of Springfield, MA. On September 8, Bishop Thomas O'Leary was consecrated and installed.
On December 25, Father Jan Oszajca, native of Poland, celebrated his First Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Church. This marked the first time in the parish history that a newly ordained priest had celebrated his First Mass in our church.
Fr. Jan Oszajca about to celebrate his First Mass, a Solemn High Mass on Christmas Day, 1921.
1922 - Pope Benedict XV died on January 22. (Reigned 1914-1922.) Pope Pius XI assumed the papacy on February 6.
On March 11, Fr. Franciszek J. Wilk, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Antoni Wilk of Three Rivers, celebrated his First Holy Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Church. He was the first parishioner to be ordained a priest and spent his life in God's service in the Diocese of Providence, RI.
Fr. Franciszek Wilk about to celebrate his First Mass, a Solemn High Mass on March 11, 1922.
1924 - Polish Women's Citizens Club of Three Rivers was formed to teach, sponsor, and provide financial assistance to those Poles - particularly women - seeking to become citizens of the United States.
1925 - An Alumni Association of SS. Peter and Paul School was formed by Fr. Jan Oszajca, assistant pastor.
1926 - On January 29, the Parish was visited by Archbishop Jan Feliks Cieplak of Poland who, at one time, was sentenced by the Bolsheviks to die as an enemy of the regime. Archbishop Cieplak, the Metropolitan of Vilnius, a venerable arch-priest and martyr for his faith and homeland, visited our parish on his tour of America. He died in New Jersey on February 17, and his body was transferred to the Cathedral of Św. Kazimierz in Vilnius.
Archbishop Jan Cieplak, Servant of God, visiting our church during his 1926 trip to the United States. He passed away nineteen days later in New Jersey.
A singing group called "Echo" was formed to foster the tradition of singing Polish songs.
1927 - Fr. Andrzej Krzywda continued his pastorate with Fr. Józef Sitkowski serving as his assistant.
Just one decade after the first Polish student had graduated, one hundred and one graduates of the Parish school were now attending Palmer High School.
On October 23, our parish observed its Silver Jubilee. Bishop Thomas O'Leary celebrated a Pontifical High Mass (Missa Solemnis Pontificalis) at 11 a.m. with Rev. Msgr. John Conlin as Archdeacon; Fr. Józef Tomikowski and Fr. Edward Fitzgerald - Honorary Deacons; Fr. Wawrzyniec Cyman - Deacon of the Mass; Fr. Stanisław Feresz - Subdeacon; Fr. Robert Ahearn - Master of Ceremonies; Fr. Antoni Cyran - Homilist. At 4 p.m., the Bishop confirmed 400 children.
The Parish School in 1927. Pictured in front are the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph with the entire student body.
1929 - The Stock Market crashed on October 29, marking the end to postwar prosperity as stock prices plummeted. The United States entered the Great Depression that was to last almost a decade. Severe economic economic hardship curtailed Parish activity, but the faith and devotion that had always characterized the Polish spirit never wavered, bringing people closer than ever to the Church.
1931 - On January 31, a play, "The Polish Wedding", was presented by the Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers. The cast included parishioners only and was directed by Michał Olearczyk. It was one of the most successful productions presented and later played in several nearby towns.
1932 - Fr. Józef Szczepaniak arrived as assistant, serving our Parish for many years and later as administrator, in 1947, after Fr. Krzywda's death.
1935 - Fr. Władysław S. Golas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paweł Golas of Three Rivers, was ordained to the priesthood on June 6. After attending the local elementary school, he attended St. John Cantius High School in Erie, PA. Following the completion of studies at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, MI, Fr. Golas was ordained in Detroit by Bishop Michael Gallagher. After celebrating his First Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Church, he remained on assignment in Michigan during his priestly life.
1936 - Because of the severity of the economic crisis, the Church played an important role in the social life of the Parish during this decade. A tennis court, adjacent to the church, provided exercise and a meeting place for the young. Basketball games were played at the Old Town Hall, and local baseball teams were supported enthusiastically. Picnics and lawn parties on the church grounds were an integral part of the summer scene.
1939 - Pope Pius XI died on February 10, 1939. (Reigned 1922-1939.) On March 2, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli assumed the Papacy and took the name Pope Pius XII.
On September 1, Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II.
1941-45 - A state of war was declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt one day after the infamous attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7. On December 10, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and Congress replied in kind. World War II had encompassed us all. Wartime conditions curtailed the activities of the Parish. Men and women joined the various service branches, while those at home were concerned with victory gardens, mock air raids, war bond sales, and swing-shifts to accelerate war production. Prayers were said for the safety of those at war, but soon a scroll appeared in church, listing the young men of our Parish killed in action. These included:
Paul P. Bobowiec Joseph S. Konopka Augustine F. Smoła
Joseph J. Brożek Stanislaus J. Kuliś Adam J. Topór
August F. Dominik, Jr. Albin W. Leś Stanislaus Wilk
Frank Frydryk John S. Mosio Stanislaus J. Wrzesień
Joseph P. Giza Ignacy S. Pobiegło Walter B. Zaleński
Frank A. Hryniewicz Joseph A. Roman
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine: et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
("Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them.")
1944 - On June 3, Fr. Eugene Dranka, M.S., son of Albert and Mary (Mikowski) Dranka, was ordained to the priesthood in Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Albany, NY. He attended local schools and continued his studies at LaSallette College in Altamont, NY. After celebrating his First Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Church on June 4, 1944, Father Dranka served various parishes in TX; NH; Westfield, MA; and Bondsville, MA, where he remained until his death in 1974.
1945 - On May 7 (Victory in Europe [V-E] Day), Germany surrendered, marking the conclusion of the war in Europe. With the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, the world entered a new era - the Atomic Age. Soon after, V-J Day was declared on August 15, marking an end to the war in Asia. The joy within SS. Peter and Paul Parish was compounded as family members were finally reunited, some after several years of separation.
1946 - Eight acres of land were purchased, at a cost of $5500, from the Strycharz family for use as a cemetery in Bondsville, near Crystal Park. The balance of land and a home were purchased by Fr. Krzywda, who then left it as a retirement home for Mrs. Pasierb, his maid for many years.
1947 - On March 29, 1947, Mrs. Apolonia Kincius was the first parishioner buried at this cemetery.
On December 18, 1947, Father Andrzej S. Krzywda, Pastor, died. His body lay in state in the parish church where he had served for 34 years. Parishioners paid their respects and gave tribute to a man whose stewardship had successfully weathered periods of prosperity and depression, including two World Wars.
1948 - Fr. Józef Szczepaniak served as administrator until he was assigned to Our Lady of Częstochowa Parish in Turners Falls.
Father Alfons A. Skoniecki became the fourth Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish with Fr. Kazimierz Świtalski assigned as his assistant. Fr. Skoniecki came from Turners Falls, where he had directed the construction of Our Lady of Częstochowa Church, dedicated in 1929.
Fr. Alfons Skoniecki, Assistant Pastor 1917-1918 and Pastor 1948 to 1972.
During the year, repairs to church properties were undertaken. Over 10,000 hours of free labor were donated by parishioners to clean, paint, and repair the various church properties. When school opened in September, hot lunches were served to students for the first time due to the efforts of the Mothers' Club.
The December 31 financial report showed that the Parish was now mortgage-free with a total of $7,139.94 in the savings and checking accounts. At this time, the assessment of all church property was listed at $203,000.
1949 - Fr. Konrad Daugiełło, native son, was ordained to the priesthood by Most Rev. Thomas O'Leary at St. Michael's Cathedral, Springfield, on June 11. The following day, Fr. Daugiełło celebrated his First Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Church, followed by a reception at St. Stanislaus Hall in Three Rivers.
Fr. Henryk Kreczko replaced Fr. Kazimierz Świtalski as assistant pastor.
Bishop Thomas O'Leary passed away at age 74. (Bishop 1921-1949.)
1950 - On January 28, 1950, Christopher J. Weldon was appointed the fourth Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts by Pope Pius XII. His episcopal consecration took place on March 24 by Cardinal Spellman, Cardinal Cushing, and Bishop Stephen Donahue serving as co-consecrators.
On June 27, President Harry S. Truman ordered the U.S. Air Force and Navy to Korea. This "police action" lasted for several years, with members of our Parish serving in this conflict.
Renovations and improvements to Parish buildings continued; sidewalks were repaired and church grounds were improved.
The decade began with a total of $30,474.79 in savings and checking accounts.
1952 - Fr. John Aubertin replaced Fr. Kreczko as assistant pastor.
1953 - Through the efforts of the Mothers' Club, the kitchen and dining room in the school were equipped with many needed items.
Some interesting statistics of this year follow:
Census - 1,538 adults; 306 children
Parochial school students - 203
Baptisms - 43
First Communion children - 25
Total savings and checking account - $78,514.94
1954 - New altars (St. Mary and St. Joseph) were donated by the Rosary Sodality and St. Joseph Society. Further church improvements were undertaken, including the painting of the church interior and new lights. A new Communion railing and pulpit were installed.
On April 17, Fr. Skoniecki was honored by the Legal Polish Government in exile in London, England with the title "Commander of Polonia Restituta," the highest honor bestowed by the Polish Republic. He was commissioned a colonel in the Polish Armed Forces by General W. Anders, Chief of Staff. On November 20, a testimonial dinner was held at St. Stanislaus Hall to acknowledge these new honors.
1955 - The Fiftieth Anniversary of our Parish was formally observed on September 11, with a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Most. Rev. Christopher J. Weldon, Bishop of Springfield. On September 25, a banquet observing the Fiftieth Anniversary was held in a tent erected on the Parish grounds.
Coincidentally, the One Hundredth Anniversary of Catholicism was celebrated in the town of Palmer.
The Pontifical High Mass celebrated on September 11, 1955 by the Bishop of Springfield in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Saints Peter and Paul Parish.
1957 - On June 2, the Fortieth Anniversary of Fr. Skoniecki's ordination to the priesthood was observed with a High Mass in SS. Peter and Paul Church, followed by a banquet that evening at the Ware Armony, Ware, MA.
Valuation of all church property at this time was set at $365,477.21. Total savings and checking accounts amounted to $175,428.30.
Fr. Skoniecki, during the "Ecce Agnus Dei", at his 40th Anniversary Mass in 1957.
1958 - A new vigil light was donated to the church by Frank Salamon of Thorndike, one of our first parishioners. Altars and statues, as well as Stations of the Cross, were repainted.
In thanksgiving for successful surgery and recuperation, Fr. Skoniecki endowed the Chapel of Our Lady of Częstochowa in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. Consecration of this chapel was held on June 1, 1958 at the Vatican.
Fr. Skoniecki celebrates a Low Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of Częstochowa in the Vatican Grottoes - the chapel which he endowed.
Pope Pius XII died on October 9. (Reigned 1939-1958.) Pope John XXIII became the next Pope on October 28.
Fr. Skoniecki with Pope Pius XII
In late 1958, Pope John XXIII bestowed the official title of “Prelate of Honor of His Holiness” on Fr. Skoniecki, with the spoken title of Monsignor.
Msgr. Skoniecki with Pope John XXIII in 1961
1959 - New confessionals, tabernacle, and monstrance were included in the continuing renovation project. Parish statistics indicated further growth and prosperity:
Census - 1488 adults; 594 children First Communion children - 46
Parochial school students - 249 Total savings and checking accounts - $222,452.09
Baptisms - 29
1960 - Fr. Aubertin was transferred as Pastor of St. John Cantius Church in Northampton after serving our Parish for more than eight years. Fr. Zygmunt Kwiatkowski replaced Fr. Aubertin as assistant pastor. At this time, several gifts were donated to the church including a ciborium, a crucifix for the altar, and a candelabra.
In early December, the United States announced support of rightist rebels in Laos, marking the beginnings of United States involvement in what became the Vietnam War. Again, members of the Parish left to serve in this conflict.
1961 - A new boiler was installed in the school, which now had 233 students. A set of sedilia was given to the church by Edward and Wiktoria Lech.
1962 - The Second Vatican Council opened during the year, and continued until 1965. The many changes of the Council have had far reaching consequences.
The Parish observed the Sixtieth Anniversary of its organization with a Mass of Thanksgiving.
1963 - Pope John XXIII died on June 3. (Reigned 1958-1963.) Pope Paul VI became the next Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ.
1964 - In August, Msgr. Skoniecki met with Pope Paul VI in a Private Audience.
Msgr. Skoniecki in a Private Audience with Pope Paul VI in 1964
1965 - Sixty years had now elapsed since the cornerstone was laid and our church consecrated.
1966 - Msgr. Skoniecki submitted plans for approval by the Bishop for church renovation, sanctuary enlargement, new flooring and rugs, sacristy enlargement, new pews, and aluminum siding for the exterior. Cost for the project was estimated at $100,000.
On May 6, Msgr. Skoniecki attended the Holy Mass for the Freedom of Poland celebrated by Pope Paul VI during the 1000th anniversary of Poland's conversion to Catholicism. This Mass was celebrated in the Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, the chapel funded by Msgr. Skoniecki.
1967 - The Fiftieth Anniversary of Msgr. Skoniecki's ordination to the priesthood was celebrated with Mass and a banquet at the Ware Armory on June 11.
Parochial school enrollment began to decline - 183 students were registered.
Rev. Msgr. Skoniecki processes to church to celebrate his 50th Anniversary Mass
1968 - In September, the Bishop granted permission to undertake renovation plans requested two years previously. A new church roof, steeple repairs, new siding, stained glass window repairs, new pews, carpeting and lighting were among the main projects.
Fr. Kwiatkowski was given a new assignment and Fr. Eugene Ozimek replaced him as assistant pastor.
1969 - Fr. Eugene Ozimek was transferred from the Parish as assistant pastor.
The church interior was partially painted.
The Novus Ordo Missae (the New Order of Mass) was promulgated by Pope Paul VI. On September 25, 1969, Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci sent a document to Pope Paul VI entitled "Short Critical Study on the New Order of Mass", which had been prepared by Catholic theologians under the direction of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
1970 - Because of declining enrollment and shortage of teaching Sisters, a decision was reached not to build a new school. The money reserved for this purpose ($154,307.02) was included with regular church funds.
St. Joseph Society celebrated its Seventy-fifth Anniversary with Mass and a banquet on September 5.
Painting of the church interior was completed.
During the summer, the mensa was regrettably removed from the high altar and Mass changed from being celebrated ad orientem/ad Deum (to the East/towards God) to versus populum (facing the people). Statistics continued to show a decline:
Census - 1385 adults; 365 children First Communicants - 13
Parochial school students - 158 Marriages - 10
Baptisms - 13 Deaths - 22
1972 - Fr. Władysław Golas, native son and Pastor of St. Helena Church in Wyandotte, MI, died on March 15. He had spent his lifetime serving in various parishes in the Detroit area.
On October 22, Rev. Msgr. Skoniecki retired from his Pastorate of SS. Peter and Paul Church. "Father Pastor" Skoniecki, at age seventy-eight, had served SS. Peter and Paul Parish almost 25 years and was honored by the parishioners at a reception and tea.
Father Robert J. Ceckowski was assigned as the fifth Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.
Fr. Ceckowski, Pastor 1972-1997
1973 - On April 29, a reception was held at St. Stanislaus Hall to welcome Fr. Ceckowski as Pastor of our Parish. A $1,000 check was presented to Fr. Ceckowski who, in turn, established a burse to be used in scholarship aid to those pursuing a religious vocation.
With deep regret, the parochial school was closed in June due to a lack of teaching Sisters. Sisters Cecilia Nadolski, Superior, and Sisters Edna and Mary Jane were assigned to other areas. To show their appreciation and deep admiration, the Parish honored the Sisters at an open house and coffee hour. The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSSJ) left our parish.
Sisters Joanna Pelczar and Jadwiga Skalec of Little Servant Sisters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception (LSIC) arrived in August to work in the Parish. The Mother Home of this order is located in Stara Wies, Poland, while the Provincial Home in the United States is in Woodbridge, NJ.
1974 - On March 24, twelve adult members of the Parish, as well as two junior members, were elected to the first Parish Advisory Council. The membership included: Fred Brozek, John Dyl, Louise Church, Raymond Church, Boguslaus Grzywna, Edwin Olearczyk, Joseph Marchelewicz, Robert Dranka, and Mary Jajuga; Junior members were Mark Lech and Thomas Zelazo; John Garstka, Horace Tippett, and Frederick Tyburski were appointed by Fr. Ceckowski. At an organizational meeting of the council, Joseph Kszepka was elected chairman; Stanley Światłówski, vice-chairman; and Anna Krulig, secretary.
The Parish was offered the first opportunity to purchase the 31 acres of land and home of the Pasierb estate, adjoining the Parish Cemetery. The land was considered valuable for future expansion, and the Parish Council voted to acquire the property at a cost of approximately $35,000.
Fr. Ceckowski presented plans and sought permission from the Bishop to enlarge the sacristy, with a new addition to include a room for the altar boys and restrooms. Repairs made to church property included a new roof at the rectory, new furnace in the convent, and interior refurbishing of the rectory and office. Fr. Robert Ceckowski also announced his plans to install an icon and a painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa at Mary's altar within our church.
1975 - In January, the Bishop of Springfield approved preliminary sketches for the sacristy addition. Final drawings and specifications were prepared for bids with approximate cost of the project set at $225,000 with the architectural firm of Tessier Associates.
Parish Council approved the purchase of robes for choir members. Parish Council Chairman Joseph Kszepka spoke at all Masses on June 28-29 to stress the need for consistent weekly giving by all parishioners to maintain and upgrade the Parish.
Seminarian Raymond Soltys, parishioner, completed preliminary studies and was accepted at the University of Louvain in Belgium for four years of theological study in preparation for the priesthood. Parishioner Michael J. Wostena attended school with the Franciscan Fathers in anticipation of entering religious life.
On July 26, former Pastor Rev. Msgr. Alphonse A. Skoniecki died. His legacy of deep devotion to our Lord and great love of Poland is remembered by many.
In October, the Parish observed a "Week of Remembrance" in commemoration of Polish lives taken during WWII. Rev. Canon Bronislaus Szymański and Rev. Father Chaplain Stanislaus Wójcik, who had been prisoners in various concentration camps, took part in the observance.
1976 - In January, a replica of the altar in Częstochowa, Poland was under construction at the side altar of St. Mary. SS. Peter and Paul Church was awaiting a replica of an icon and painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa in progress by an artist in Poland. The formal unveiling and dedication of the Our Lady of Częstochowa altar took place on May 23. Eight elderly parishioners were honored to participate in the historic unveiling. These included: Mrs. Agata Frydryk, Mrs. Franciszka Bukowska, Mrs. Teofila Kostrzeba, Mrs. Józefa Gryszówka, Mr. Feliks Misiaszek, Mr. Władysław Gruszczyński, Mr. Antoni Kempesty, and Mr. Wojciech Wójtowicz.
Historical Parish records, photographs, and other pertinent data was placed in a time capsule and buried in the yard of the Town Administration Building. The material, prepared by Anna Kulig, is to be uncovered in 2076.
Fr. Ceckowski announced that a new organ was donated to the Church in memory of George and Nelli Motyka by their four children - Chester, Mrs. Constance Kucewicz, Mrs. Dorothy Luzi, and Mrs. Alice Amell. The new organ, known for its rich tone and quality, was built by Casavant-Frères of Quebec, the world's largest organ manufacturer. Installation of the organ finished in 1977. Our organ is as follows:
Casavant-Frères pipe organ, opus 3339:
22 ranks. 1,172 pipes. 3 divisions. 2 manuals. 20 stops. 16 registers.
Under the guidance of Charles DiMascola of the Palmer High School Art Department and with the assistance of Parish Council Chairman Joseph Kszepka, 29 students from CCD classes volunteered to prepare a float that was entered in the Town of Palmer Bicentennial Parade on May 2. The float won second prize in the religious category.
1977 - In March, work began in the basement area underneath the sacristy addition to be converted into a chapel and meeting room. The chapel was dedicated to St. Maximillian Kolbe who sacrificed his own life at Auschwitz so that a fellow prisoner, Franciszek Gajowniczek, might live.
On June 5, dedication of the new Casavant pipe organ was held. Dr. W. Raymond Ackerman, a member of the music faculty of Bromfield School at Harvard College, played at the dedication. A varied program was chosen to display the power and versatility of the organ. Later, choir members hosted a reception at the school.
On August 21, Mr. Charles DiMascola, Palmer High School art teacher and CCD teacher at our Parish, was presented with a gift from the Parish burse in recognition of his work with the youth of the Parish and community. He entered St. John Seminary for Delayed Vocations in Weston, MA to study for the priesthood.
On October 15, Bishop Weldon resigned as Bishop of Springfield. (Bishop 1950-1977.) Bishop Joseph Maguire was named the fifth Bishop of Springfield, and installed on November 4.
Following votes which failed to garner a 2/3 majority in 1975 and 1976, the USCCB, under the leadership of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, voted again, and barely passed an indult allowing reception of Holy Communion on the hand for the first time. Though Holy Communion reception on the tongue remains the ordinary means, Communion in the hand was now permitted too.
On November 30, an organ recital was given in our Church by Jean-Guy Proulx, Organist of the Cathedral of St. German, Rimouski, Canada.
1978 - On May 5, Most Reverend Joseph Maguire, Bishop of Springfield, confirmed 47 individuals.
The St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel was dedicated on June 8 at 4 p.m. The new facilities include a complete, new kitchen with major appliances and custom-made cabinets. In the Chapel area - custom carpentry, tabernacle, pulpit, and altar were styled after those in Zakopane, including a hand-painted ceiling executed by Charles DiMascola. A new bathroom was installed; all areas were air-conditioned; and there is a motorized projector, movie screen, stereo, and ceiling speakers.
Fr. John Aubertin, former assistant pastor, suffered a fatal heart attack.
On September 24, a Day of Prayer for our infirm and elderly parishioners was held, with Mass at 4 p.m., followed by a reception.
Pope Paul VI died on August 6. (Reigned 1963-1978.) Albino Cardinal Luciani was elected as Pope John Paul I on August 26; he died on September 28, having occupied the Chair of St. Peter for only 34 days. Pope John Paul II was elected as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ on October 16. He was Karol Cardinal Wojtyła, Archbishop of Kraków, Poland, the first pope of Polish heritage and the first non-Italian pope in 450 years.
1979 - On January 15, the first Mass was celebrated in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel by Fr. Ceckowski at 6:45 a.m.
Renovation of the school began with installation of a kitchen and a library at a cost of $58,000.
On September 8, Fr. Raymond Soltys was ordained to the priesthood by Most Rev. Joseph Maguire, Bishop of Springfield, in our Church. This was the first time an ordination was performed at SS. Peter and Paul Church. The following day, Fr. Soltys celebrated his First Mass, with a reception following at Pathfinder Regional Vocational High School. The entire Parish shared in the joy and blessings of the two-day celebration.
On September 24, a Day of Prayer and Tribute to our infirm and elderly parishioners was observed with Mass at 4 p.m. followed by a reception.
On October 1, Pope John Paul II visited Boston, the first stop in his historic visit to the United States. Two buses filled with parishioners and local friends journeyed to Boston to attend the Mass celebrated the Pope at Boston Common.
The first organizational meeting of interested parishioners was held on October 10 to lay the groundwork for the observance of the 75th Anniversary of the Parish. Genevieve Janosz and Charles Pelczarski agreed to serve as chairpersons.
The church sanctuary was enlarged and remodeled. An altar table was donated by Joseph Kszepka and installed. Carpeting was removed in the sanctuary to expose again the beautiful parquet floor. The entire interior of the church was repainted in anticipation of the Jubilee celebration. The contractor was William Twarog of Holyoke, well-known artist and church decorator. Anthony Amato was commissioned to paint two murals - one, of the conversion of Poland to Christianity (in 966 A.D.) - and the other, of our early parishioners starting construction of the church building seventy five years prior (in 1905).
Construction started on a new outdoor fieldstone grotto dedicated to the Divine Mercy.
Fr. Stanislaus Wójcik, retired, came to reside at SS. Peter and Paul Rectory. Fr. Wójcik had come to the United States after World War II during which he had been held prisoner in various concentration camps.
1980 - The Diamond Jubilee Year (75th anniversary) of SS. Peter and Paul Parish lived up to its promise of being one of the busiest and most enjoyable years for the parish. Numerous functions were planned throughout the year - occasions which united the parish in prayer as well as play.
To begin the Jubilee celebration, on January 12th a Jasełka Bożonarodzeniowe (Nativity play) was presented by students from the CCD classes, joined by several adult parishioners. After the performance, traditional foods of the Wigilia were served, followed by the old Polish custom of breaking opłatki and exchanging best wishes ("health, wealth, and happiness").
On February 9, the Ladies Guild sponsored a highly successful Mardi Gras at St. Stanislaus Hall
In early March, a Parish Mission was conducted for a week by Fr. Sylvester Makarewicz O.F.M., who reaffirmed the need for unwavering spiritual and moral values in the life of every healthy parish.
On April 2, Fr. Zygmunt (Sigmund) Kwiatkowski, former Assistant Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church (and later pastor in Housatonic, MA) passed away.
On April 20, the parish was privileged to host the highly acclaimed St. Paul's Boys Choir of Cambridge, MA in concert. The St. Paul's Boys Choir is a product of the only Roman Catholic boys' choir school in the United States.
From September 19-21, the parish observed the Forty Hours Devotion, giving parishioners an opportunity to renew their interior lives by spending time with our Eucharistic Lord.
On September 21, the year-long Jubilee celebration culminated in a Mass of Thanksgiving, celebrated by Very Rev. Joseph Maguire, Bishop of Springfield. Approximately thirty priest, monseignori, and canons attended in choir. The procession was formed by various parish groups including the choir, parish organization delegates, and children in traditional Polish dress who greeted the Bishop. Rose and Fred Tyburski, representing the parishioners, presented the Bishop with a statue of St. Joseph made by Polish artists in Kraków.
Flowers and banners filled with newly-painted church. Particularly beautiful and meaningful were the two paintings added to the church by Fr. Ceckowski - one, depicting Poland's conversion to Christianity with Mieszko I in 966 A.D. - and the other showing the dedication of SS. Peter and Paul Church in 1905. The inspired singing of the choir and soloists, the joyous sound of the new organ, the eloquent homily, and the fervent voices of the congregation raised in prayer and thanksgiving contributed to making the Mass a most moving experience.
That evening a gala banquet took place at Pathfinder Vocational/Technical High School with Fr. Eugene Ozimek, former Assistant Pastor, serving as master of ceremonies. Among the attendees were clergy, sisters, elderly pioneers of the church, local and state government officials, as well as honored guests and speakers Bishop Maguire and Congressman Edward Boland. Soloist Beverly Martowski presented musical selections and an orchestra provided a varied program of musical selections.
On October 5, SS. Peter and Paul Parish witnessed the blessing of the Divine Mercy Grotto by Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, M.I.C., then-rector of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy (Stockbridge, MA) and vice-postulator for the Canonization Cause of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. The mosaics which decorate the grotto interior were made by artists in Rome.
Of particular interest are the stained glass windows which portray St. Faustina, to whom Christ appeared in a convent chapel in Kraków; Pope St. John Paul II, who canonized Sister Faustina in 2000; Dismus, the penitent thief who, while he hung on a cross beside Christ, knew His Divine Mercy; and St. Kateri Tekawitha, the first of the Mohawk people to reach sainthood - who shows that the Divine Mercy calls all souls to be saints in the One True Church, the Roman Catholic Church.
Fr. Ceckowski thanked the parishioners for their generous financial support of this project, as well as those who contributed hours of labor, particularly Frank Zabawa and Stanley Majewski, who did much of the masonry work.
On October 12, the blessing and formal opening of the SS. Peter and Paul Nursery School was held in the renovated Parish School. Sisters Mary Nowicka and Elizabeth Potuczko L.L.S. of the Immaculate Conception conducted classes for young children from the age of 3-5 years.
On the night of December 28, tragedy struck Three Rivers when the neighboring St. Anne Church was destroyed by arsonists. Fr. Levesque and his parishioners gratefully accepted Fr. Ceckowski's offer to use SS. Peter and Paul Church until St. Anne Church was rebuilt.
1981 - A Lenten Mission was held on March 11th, 12th, 13th with Fr. Jerry Rohrer, S.J.
The Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima came to our parish on April 6th.
Parishioners join decent people the world over, first in shock, then in fervent prayer for the recovery of Pope John Paul II after the Pontiff was seriously shot in a failed assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square on May 13th, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
During the month of May, 1981, a large number of chrome student desk & chairs used in our former parochial school (brand new in 1968) were offered for sale.
Fr. Charles Jan DiMascola, friend of the parish, former Palmer High School and Polish teacher, former CCD teacher in our teacher in our parish, former moderator of the Society of the Holy Teacher, was ordained a priest on May 16th. He offered his First Mass on May 17th at his home parish of the Immaculate Conception, Indian Orchard.
A Living Rosary at the Grotto was presented by the Tri-Village Knights of Columbus, group #5956, on Wednesday, May 20th at 7:00 pm.
The Parish Picnic was held on Sunday, August 9th at Pulaski Park under the co-chairmanship of James Duke and Marion Kozlik.
The Blue Army of the Blessed Virgin Mary held a five-hour vigil in our church beginning on First Friday, September 4th was Mass at 7 pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament continued after Mass (with a coffee break at 10 pm in the Bl. Maximilian Kolbe Room). The vigil concluded with a midnight Mass on First Saturday, September 5th.
Forty Hours Devotion was held September 18-20, with Fr. Casimir Ciczek (St. Vincent De Paul Society) of Utica, NY as guest preacher.
The Sunday, November 22th bulletin stated "on a trial basis, an additional Mass will be celebrated on Saturday (starting Nov. 28th) at 4:00 pm. The 5:15 pm Mass will continue as scheduled."
Expenses in the Financial Report from July 1, 1979 to June 30, 1980 showed completion of the cafeteria (kitchen); renovation of two more classrooms, lavatories and the nursery classroom, all in the former school; repainting and decorating of the church interior, renovation of the altars, upgrading of lighting and P.A. system, and refinishing of the sanctuary parquet floor.
1982 - The Parish Picnic Committee began the first in a series of dinners with a Boneless Chicken Breast Dinner on Saturday, April 24th, serving from 4-7 pm in the Parish Hall.
The Sacrament of Confirmation was administered on Wednesday, May 5th at 7:00 pm by Bishop Joseph F. Maguire.
The annual Parish Picnic was held on Sunday, August 1st from noon to 8:30 pm at Pulaski Park with two polka bands.
Forty Hours Devotion took place Friday to Sunday September 17-19.
Polish Conventual Franciscan Maximilian Mary Kolbe was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II at a Mass in St. Peter's Square on October 10th, 1982.
A Christmas Play, "Jaselka", with the Nursery School children was performed on Sunday, December 12th at 3:00 pm in the Parish Hall.
1983 - The Conventual Franciscan Friars (students) sold tickets for their annual "Garden Party" in Granby after the weekend Masses, Saturday and Sunday, June 4th and 5th.
The annual Parish Picnic, co-chaired by Fred Tyburski and John Vdovjak, was held on Sunday, August 7th at Pulaski Park with two polka bands.
Forty Hours Devotion took place Friday to Sunday September 16-18. Guest homilists: Fr. Raymond Soltys (Friday) and Fr. Charles DiMascola (Sunday).
A Christmas Play, "Jaselka", with the Nursery School children was performed on Sunday, December 11th at 1:30 pm in the Parish Hall.
1984 - The Picnic Committee presented a "Polish Supper" on Saturday, March 31st from 4-6 pm in the Parish Hall.
A "Living Way of the Cross" with CCD students participating was held during the Fridays in Lent: March 9, 16, 23, 30; April 1, 6, 13 at 7 pm.
The Most Rev. Leo E. O'Neil, Auxiliary Bishop of Springfield, conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on our students on Wednesday, April 11th at 7:00 pm.
Graduation for our Nursery School children was held on Sunday, June 3rd at 1:30 pm.
Our friends, the Conventual Franciscan Friars again sold tickets for their "Garden Party" after the weekend Masses, Saturday and Sunday, June 9th and 10th.
The Ladies Guild prepared and hosted a "Strawberry Festival" Supper on Saturday, June 23rd from 4-6:30 pm.
Sister M. Eucharia (Wielkiewicz) F.S.S.J., native daughter of our parish, observed her Golden Jubilee of religious life as a Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph with a special 11:00 am Mass on Sunday, August 5th.
The annual Parish Picnic, was held at Pulaski Park on Sunday, August 5th with two polka bands (Bay State IV and the Melody Stars).
Fr. Henry Banach of Southbridge was guest preacher for the annual Forty Hours Devotion, Sept. 14-16.
The 4th annual Christmas Play, "Jaselka", with the Nursery School children was performed on Sunday, December 9th at 1:30 pm in the Parish Hall.
Edward J. Tenczar, Jr. was ordained a Deacon for the Diocese of Springfield on Saturday, December 15th. A parish celebration took place on Sunday, December 16th with Mass at 2:00 pm and a reception that followed in the Parish Hall.
1985 - A second annual "Living Way of the Cross" with CCD students was held on the Fridays in Lent: Feb. 22; March 1, 8, 15, 23, 29 at 7:00 pm in the church.
Parishioner Wojciech Wójtowicz celebrated his 100th birthday on March 27th.
"Garden Party" tickets were once again offered for sale from the Conventual Franciscan Friars after the weekend Masses, Saturday and Sunday, May 18th and 19th.
Nursery School Graduation, directed by Sisters Mary and Elizabeth of the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, took place on Saturday, June 1st at 1:30 pm.
A Spaghetti-Strawberry Supper, courtesy of the Ladies Guild, was held on Saturday, June 29th from 4:00-6:30 P.M. with tickets at $4.00 apiece.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, foundress of the Missionaries of Charity, spoke at UMass Amherst on Saturday, June 22 at 1:00 P.M. (tickets were free of charge).
The annual Parish Picnic, under the co-chairmanship of Fred Brozek, Fred Tyburski, and John Vdovjak, took place on Sunday, July 29th from Noon to 8:30 P.M. at Pulaski Park with two orchestras.
Forty Hours Devotion was held September 13th, 14th, 15th with Fr. Henry Banach as guest preacher.
Reverend Mother M. Emily, Provincial Superior of the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (LSSIC) transferred Sister Elizabeth (Potuczko), stationed in our parish since 1979. She was replaced by Sister Agatha (Golis) to work with Sister Mary (Nowicka).
The Parish Picnic Committee held a Boneless Breast of Chicken Dinner on Saturday, November 4th from 4 to 6:30 pm in the parish hall.
Free coffee and doughnuts were offered in the parish hall by the Picnic Committee on Sunday, November 17th from 8:30 to 11:30 am.
The Rosary Sodality sponsored a Pierogi and Bake Sale on Saturday, December 7th starting at 9 am until sold out in the parish hall.
The 5th annual Christmas Play, "Jaselka", with the Nursery School children was performed on Sunday, December 21st at 1:30 pm in the Parish Hall.
1986 - Another Breakfast Buffet was offered by the Picnic Committee on Sunday, Feb. 23rd from 8:30 to 11:30 am in the parish hall. Tickets: $4, adults; $2, children under 12.
A second annual "Living Way of the Cross" with CCD students was held on the Fridays in Lent at 7:00 pm: Feb. 14, 21, 28; March 14, 21.
An area Lenten Penitential Service with Bishop Maguire was held at St. Mary Church in Ware on Friday, March 7th at 7:00 pm.
A combined Confirmation of our students, grades 11 & 12 (with St. Adalbert's CCD) was held on Sunday, May 11th at 10:00 am in St. Adalbert Church, Bondsville with Bishop Thomas Manning, OFM.
Nursery School Graduation took place on Saturday, June 14th at 1:30 pm.
The annual Parish Picnic was held on Sunday, July 20th from Noon to 8:00 P.M.
The Financial Report for 1985-86 listed 16 baptisms, 11 marriages, 15 First Communions, 54 Anointings, and 25 deaths. Total in savings and checking accounts: $97,749.96.
Bishop Edward Samsel from the Diocese of Łomża, Poland visited the parish on Monday, August 4th. He offered Mass at 7:00 pm which included a procession with parishioners, societies, and friends.
Mrs. Beverly (Martowski) Weaver resigned on August 10th as parish organist, soloist, and choir director. She served in that capacity for eight years (1978-1986). The parish began seeking two or more part-time weekend organists.
An appreciation social for picnic workers was held on Sept. 9th at 6:00 pm.
Forty Hours Devotion with guest preacher Fr. Henry Banach of St. Hedwig Church, Southbridge, was held Sept. 12, 13, 14.
The Bingo workers and kitchen staff sponsored an "Oktoberfest" on Sunday, Oct. 19.
Fr. Matthew Swizdor, OFM Conv., conducted healing Masses in our church on Sunday Oct. 19th and the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
The Rosary Sodality presented its first Arts & Crafts Fair in the parish hall on Sat., Nov. 1 and Sun., Nov. 2.
The Parish Picnic Committee held a Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner on Saturday, November 8th from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in the parish hall. Tickets: $4.50, adults; $2.50, children under 12.
A two-day trip to New York City and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, was planned by parishioner Irene Grzywna.
A notice in the Nov. 16th, 1986 bulletin: "Until further notice, please use the side entrance to the rectory office ('Thorndike side') instead of the front door."
Dec. 7th, 1986: Last of the Titans, a book by Daniel S. Buczek, is the biography of the life and great accomplishments of Rev. Msgr. Alphonse A. Skoniecki, fourth pastor of our parish. The book includes world events regarding Poland, the Church, and our local community. Copies at $10 were sold by phone and at the rectory office.
Dec. 7th, 1986: Reverend Mother Marietta, LSSIC, transferred Sister Mary Nowicka from our parish. She was replaced by Sister Ursula Trela.
A new organist and choir director was hired for our parish: Mr. Francis Davis.
The Conventual Franciscan Friars from St. Hyacinth's extended and invitation to attend the "Greccio Experience" (re-enactment of a live nativity) on Friday, Dec. 19th at 7 pm in Granby.
The 6th annual Christmas Play, "Jaselka", with the Nursery School children was performed on Sunday, December 20st at 1:00 pm in the Parish Hall.
1987 - The new year began, declared a Marian Year by Pope John Paul II.
Starting Monday, March 2, 1987, the time for daily Masses changed from 7:00 am to 6:50 am (M, W, Th, F, Sat). This remained in effect until June 22, 1991, when the time reverted back to 7 am.
A Boneless Breast of Chicken Dinner by the Picnic Committee was served on Sat., March 7th from 4 to 6:30 pm. Tickets: $4.50, adults; $3.00, children under 12.
The fourth annual "Living Way of the Cross" with CCD students was held on the Fridays in Lent at 7:00 pm: March 6, 13, 20, 27; April 3, 10.
Graduation of our Nursery School was held on Sat., June 13th at 1:00 pm.
The annual Parish Picnic was held on Sunday, Aug. 2nd from Noon to 8:30 P.M. at Pulaski Park with the Happy Louie & Julcia Orchestra providing music for dancing and listening.
The parish hall was the setting for an Appreciation Social for picnic workers and the committee took place on Tuesday, Sept. 1st at 6:00 pm.
Fr. Joseph Sielski, MIC of the Marians Congregation in Stockbridge was guest preacher for the Forty Hours Devotions on Sept. 18-20.
The Financial Report for 1986-87 reported: 20 Baptisms, 12 Marriages, 12 for First Holy Communion, 55 Anointings of the Sick, 24 deaths, total in savings and checking accounts: $156,615.07.
The Rosary Sodality organized a Living Rosary for the Marian Year on Sunday, Oct. 11th at 3:00 pm with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Parish Picnic Committee presented a Schnitzel Supper on Saturday, October 17th from 4 to 6:30 pm in the parish hall.
Workers, helpers, and kitchen staff were treated to a Bingo Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 25th at 4:00 pm in the parish hall.
The 2nd Arts and Crafts Show, sponsored by the Rosary Sodality, was held on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31st and Nov. 1st in the parish hall.
Fr. Henry Karwel, O.F.M. Conv., Assistant Pastor at St. Mary Church in Ware, was conducting Polish language classes at St. Mary's School beginning Nov., 1987.
A Pierogi and Bake Sale was hosted by the Rosary Sodality on Saturday, Dec. 5th at 9 am.
The 7th annual Christmas Play, "Jaselka", with the Nursery School children was performed on Sunday, December 21st at 1:30 pm in the Parish Hall.
1988 - News in January from the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (LSSIC): The Mother Provincial transferred Sr. Agatha Golis from our parish. Sr. Agatha was replaced by Sr. Theresa Partyka. Sisters Ursula and Theresa now resided in our convent, teaching in our Nursery School, working as sacristans.
The fifth annual "Living Way of the Cross" with CCD students was held on the Fridays in Lent at 7:00 pm: Feb. 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 25.
Four parishioners were elected to the Parish Advisory Council in March: Frank Lachowski, Mark MacDougall, John Skowronek, and Rose Tyburski.
Bishop Joseph Maguire administered the Sacrament of Confirmation in our church on Sunday, April 17th at the 9:30 am Mass.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Society observed its 75th Anniversary on Sunday, June 26th with a special Mass at 11 am, followed by a Banquet in the parish hall at 1:00 pm. Tickets for the chicken dinner: $10 apiece.
In the desire to accommodate more people, the time for the monthly First Friday Mass change don Fri., June 3rd from 6:45 am to 5:30 pm.
On July 18, 1988, Pope John Paul II founded the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a traditional Catholic order dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the Traditional Latin Mass.
In July, the parish publicly thanked Mr. Joseph A. Kszepka for funding the 5,000 brochures advertising our upcoming annual Parish Picnic, which was held at Pulaski Park on Sunday, August 7th from Noon to 8:30 pm.
The Diocesan Closing of the Marian Year was held at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge on Sunday, August 7th at 4:00 pm.
At Forty Hours Devotions, Sept 16-18, Fr. Walter Pełczyński, MIC, of Stockbridge, was guest preacher.
The parish publicly thanked Mr. and Mrs. John Łukaszkiewicz for their cleaning work in the Nursery School (tile floor, applying finish; carpeting)
The 3rd Arts and Crafts Show, sponsored by the Rosary Sodality, was changed from a 2-day to 1-day event and was held on Saturday, Nov. 5th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
A Christmas Cantata, directed by Mr. Fran Davis, was performed by our St. Cecilia Choir on Friday, December 16th at 7:00 pm in our church.
CCD Students participated in an Advent Penitential Service on Sunday, Dec. 18th at 10:15 am in the church. Later that same day, the 8th annual Christmas Play, "Jaselka" with the Nursery school children was performed at 1:00 pm in the parish hall.
The Financial Report for 1987-1988 reported: 19 Baptisms, 13 Marriages, 16 for First Holy Communion, 50 Anointings of the Sick, 24 deaths, total in savings and checking account: $157,766.17.
1989 - Weekly Bingo as a source of income for the parish continued in the parish hall, Thursdays at 7 pm with doors opening at 5:30 pm.
Lenten Confessions with guest priests were heard on Palm Sunday, March 19th, at 7:00 pm.
The Parish Picnic Committee hosted a Ham & Beans Supper on Sat. April 15th from 4:00 to 6:30 pm. Tickets: $4.00, adults; $2.00, children under 12.
A monthly Holy Hour of Reparation, led by the Sacred Heart Society, began on First Friday in April at 4:30 pm, leading to the First Friday Mass at 5:30 pm.
Fr. John Schlug, OFM Cap., fellow Capuchin friar and author of two books on the life of Padre Pio, was guest speaker at the Rosary Sodality's First Saturday Mass and breakfast meeting on Saturday, May 6th in the parish hall.
The annual Catholic Stewardship Appeal received $8,935.00 from our parish.
The Nursery School graduated 20 children on Sunday, June 11th at 1:00 pm.
Another annual pierogi "work bee" (for the Picnic), directed by Mrs. Edna Pytka and Mr. & Mrs. Julian Toczek was held in the parish hall on Monday, July 17th at 9 am.
Pulaski Park was again the setting for the annual Parish Picnic, under the co-chairmanship of Fred Brozek and Edward Strempek, on Sunday, July 30th from Noon to 8:30 pm.
The Church Bell Shrine, erected on the front lawn, right side of the church, was blessed on Sunday, September 17th after the 8:00 am Mass. The shrine was provided by Michael and Anna Kulig, dedicated in memory of Wojciech & Rozalia Wójtowicz, Anna's parents. The bell was originally in the church steeple from 1914 to 1989. The plaque reads: "This bell, consecrated in the name of Saint Ann in 1914 A.D., for many years thereafter called the faithful to glorify God in the Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, Three Rivers, Mass."
Forty Hours Devotions were held Friday through Sunday, Sept 15th-17th with Dominican Father Peter Nowacki, O.P., as guest preacher.
The 4th annual Arts and Crafts Show, sponsored by the Rosary Sodality, was held on Saturday, Oct. 21st from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Picnic Committee prepared a Braised Sirloin Tips Dinner on Saturday, November 4th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm in the parish hall.
The Happy Louie and Julcia Orchestra played at the Polka Festival, St. Stanislaus School, Chicopee from 4 to 8 pm on Nov. 12th. Also featured was a Polish and American kitchen.
The Financial Report for 1988-1989 reported: 10 Baptisms, 7 Marriages, 12 for First Holy Communion, 35 Anointings of the Sick, 22 deaths, total in savings and checking account: $167,771.74.
New entrance gates to the parish cemetery were donated: by Stanley Topór for the main gate in memory of Joseph Bogacz, Bertha & Daniel Crepeau. The two columns at the right side entrance were provided through a bequest from the late Julia & Rudolph Drzal (Nov. 12th).
A letter dated Nov. 28th, 1989 was received from Mother M. Febronia, Provincial Superior of the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (LSSIC). In the letter, Mother Provincial wrote with regret that after the last 16 years, a decision was made to withdraw the Sisters from Three Rivers in June 1990. This was due mainly because of the great distance of only two Sisters from the Provincial Motherhouse in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the need for these Sisters in other apostolates of their community. Fr. Robert began to make plans to find another religious congregation to take the place of the LSSIC.
The 9th annual Christmas Play, "Jaselka" with the Nursery school children was performed on Sunday, December 17th at 1:00 pm in the parish hall.
On December 31st, it was announced that audio cassettes of the Parish Choir (with Polish and English hymns) were available for purchase at the rectory, at Dominick's Restaurant, Tenczar's Food Town, or from any member of the St. Cecelia Choir at $7.00 apiece. This was the first cassette produced under the direction of Mr. Fran Davis, organist.
1990 - A Breakfast Buffet was served on Sun., February 5th from 8:30 to 11:30 am in the parish hall. Tickets: $5.00, adults; $2.50, children under 12.
As of March 18th, the following were members of the Parish Council: Fr. Robert, Deacon Edward Tenczar, Mary Besko, Joseph Kszepka, Grace Kulpa, Frank Lachowski, Mark MacDougall, Joseph Marchelewicz, Lydia McKee, Donna Olearczyk, Thomas Schultz, John Skowronek, Edward Strempek, Stanley Światłowski, Joseph Topór Jr., Fred and Rose Tyburski.
The Solemn Dedication & Blessing of the Risen Christ Shrine and entrance columns at the parish cemetery was held on May 6th at 3:00 pm. Hymns were provided by the St. Cecilia Choir. Homily was delivered by Rev. Canon Bronisław Szymański.
Congratulations were offered to the give Grade 12 CCD graduates: Carol Brozek, Caroline Motyka, Michael Pelczarski, Kristin Stolgitis, and Jeremy Zelazo.
A combined Confirmation Mass with St. Adalbert, Bondsville, took place on Sunday, June 3rd at St. Adalbert Church.
Peter Krasinski was the featured organist at an Organ Concert in our church on Sunday, June 3rd at 3:00 pm. This was followed by a reception in the parish hall.
Nursery School Graduation was held on Sunday, June 10th at 1:00 pm.
Following the Nursery School Graduation, a Farewell Appreciation Social for the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception was held on Sunday, June 10th at 3:00 pm in the parish hall. The parish was grateful to the Sisters for 17 years of service since their arrival in the summer of 1973. The following seven Sisters served in our parish over the years: Sr. Joanna Pelczar, Sr. Jadwiga Skalec, Sr. Mary Nowicka, Sr. Elizabeth Potuczko, Sr. Agatha Golis, Sr. Theresa Partyka, and Sr. Ursula Trela.
The Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI), a new congregation formed shortly after the canonization of St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1982, contracted to assign Sisters to our parish. A welcome took place on Monday, July 2nd at the convent from 10 am to 3 pm for all girls of the parish, grades 3-12. Free hot dogs, punch, and dessert were provided. The SMMI took over the Nursery School, served as teachers of religious education, and performed sacristan work in the church.
The Oratorium Singers from Radom, Poland, under the direction of Fr. Lech Gralak, sang at the 5:30 pm Novena Mass on Tuesday, July 24th.
The annual Parish Picnic is held on Sunday, July 29th from Noon to 8:30 pm at Pulaski Park.
A change in language at daily Mass: beginning the week of August 5th, the morning Mass (6:50 am) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would be 1st reading in Polish and the Gospel in English. Mass on Thursday & Saturday mornings, and Tuesday afternoon would be celebrated all in English. Up to that time, the daily Masses were offered in Polish (since the change from the Traditional Latin Mass in the mid-1960s).
The Nursery School opened School Year 1990-91 with new teachers, the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) on Wednesday, Sept. 5th for Group B (4 year olds) and Thursday, Sept. 6th for Group A (3 years old).
Investiture in the religious habit of Sister Raphael, SMMI (Patricia LaManche) was celebrated on Sunday, Sept. 16th at the 9:30 Mass, followed by a reception.
An appeal from Francis Davis, organist & choir director appeared in the September 16th bulletin for persons to join the choir. Senior choir rehearsals were held on Mondays at 6:30 pm and junior choir rehearsals on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm in the choir loft.
The week beginning Sunday, November 11th listed Eucharistic Adoration in our church Monday-Friday, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.
Sunday, November 25th was the date for a Concert of Organ & Brass in our church featuring Fran Davis, organist and the Converse Brass, under the direction of David Bussell, performing works of Marcello, Bach, Clarke, and Stanley.
A Christmas Cantata, "The Glory of the Lord", featuring parish choirs and the Converse Brass, was held on Sunday, December 16th at 7:00 pm in our church.
In the December 16th bulletin, sincere thanks were offered to Louise Church and Helen Grzywna for ten years of service as president and vice president of the Rosary Sodality. Congratulations were extended to new co-presidents, Susan Hurley and Penny Przybycien, and co-vice presidents, Jeannie DiChristopher and Lynne Riendeau.
The Financial Report for 1989-1990 showed $222,029.50 in savings and checking accounts. That year, the parking lot was repaved at a cost of $29,590.00.
1991 - Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continued in the new year, Monday through Friday, general from 3:00 to 6:00 pm in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel.
The Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) sponsored a Vocational Weekend for girls and women seeking the religious life from Feb. 15-17 in Chicopee.
The Rosary Sodality sponsored its 3rd annual Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Canada from July 29-August 2 through the efforts of Louise Church, Helen Grzywna, and Jeannette Tenczar.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe (1941-1991), services were held on Friday, April 19th from 7:00-8:30 pm in our church. Guest preacher Fr. James McCurry OFM Conv., also celebrated Benediction.
Sister Denise Marie, SMMI professed her final vows on Saturday, April 20th at the 5:15 pm Mass.
Novi Cantori, a choir of chamber singers in concert, performed in our church on Sunday, May 5th at 7:00 pm, with a reception following in the parish hall.
The time of daily Mass reverted to 7:00 am (from 6:50 pm) except for 5:30 pm on Tuesdays as of Mon., June 24th, 1991.
The annual Parish Picnic was held on Sunday, July 28th from Noon to 8:30 pm at Pulaski Park.
Fr. Henry Banach of Southbridge preached again at the Forty Hours Devotion, Fri.-Sun., Sept 13-15.
A Parish Float was entered for the Town of Palmer Founders Day Parade (Sept. 1991). The float committee members were: Steve Lebida, chairman; Gen. Janosz, co-chairman; Fran Davis; Mr. and Mrs. Chester Dymek; Frances Godek; Sophie Lebida; Barbara Marcinkiewicz; Penny Przybycien; Stephanie Putz; and Steve Sawicki.
After 5-and-a-half years as a deacon in our parish, Deacon Edward Tenczar was transferred by Bishop Maguire to St. Thomas Parish, Palmer.
Sunday, November 3rd concert series featured a piano recital by Marek Zebrowski at 3 pm.
New red-covered Polish hymnals, produced by Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, were purchased for the church by the Rosary Sodality ($2,000), the Ladies Guild ($2,000), Stella Misiaszek ($50), and Peter Topor, Sr. ($50).
A Christmas Carol Worship Service was held on Sunday, Dec. 8th at 7:00 pm featuring parish choirs and staff.
Among the items listed in the 1990-91 Financial Report were: repairs & painting of the choir loft, ceiling, vestibule, and windows - $33,786.73 / church lighting & new ceiling fans - $12,828.03. Total in savings & checking accounts: $212,075.36.
Succeeding in the annual Christmas "Jaselka" from the last nine years, a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" celebration with all CCD students was held on Sunday, Dec. 15th after the 9:30 am Mass in the parish hall.
1992 - Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel continued in the new year with the following schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 3 to 5 pm; Tuesday: 3-4:30 pm.
A Marian Prayer Group, stemming from the Militia Immaculatae founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe, began in our parish on Jan. 6, 1992 at 7:00 pm in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Room.
A Concert of Double Brass & Organ, featuring the Converse Brass, Chapel Fall Brass, and Fran Davis was held on Sunday, Feb. 2nd at 3:00 pm with reception afterwards.
Succeeding the retired Bishop Joseph F. Maguire, the Most Rev. John Aloysius Marshall, previously Bishop of Burlington, VT, was installed as the 6th Bishop of Springfield on Feb. 18, 1992 in St. Michael's Cathedral, Springfield.
Parishioner John Lessard-Thibodeau was ordained a transitional deacon on Saturday, March 7th at an 11 am Mass in St. Thomas Church, Palmer. The new deacon preached at the 4 pm anticipated Mass in our church that day, with a reception following in the parish hall.
A Parish Lenten Mission led by Rev. Msgr. George Tomichek from the Philippines took place from Sat. March 21st to Wed., March 25th at 7:00 pm each evening.
The Immaculata (Marian) Prayer Group met weekly on Mondays at 7 pm in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel.
Confirmation for our students was celebrated on Sunday, March 22nd at St. Adalbert Church with Bishop Thomas L. Dupre, auxiliary of Springfield.
Celebrating the 15th anniversary of our Casavant Frères pipe organ (installed April 1977), Brian Aranowski in Concert was presented on Sunday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm.
The Picnic Committee hosted a Boneless Breast of Chicken Dinner on Saturday, May 23rd from 4 to 6:30 pm. Tickets: $6.00, adults; $3, children under 12.
Our parish was notified in May of the death of Mother M. Arcadia, FSSJ, former Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph and a former teacher in our parochial school.
Our parish offered congratulations to Fr. John Pickowitz, MS, pastor St. Adalbert Church, Bondsville upon his Golden Anniversary of Priestly Ordination (May 31st, 1992).
The annual Parish Picnic was held at Pulaski Park on Sunday, July 26th from Noon to 8:30 pm.
The annual Forty Hours Devotion, held Sept. 11-13, was on an abbreviated schedule in 1992 with the Solemn Closing after the 9:30 am Mass on September 13th. Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, was guest preacher.
Deacon John Lessard-Thibodeau was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John A. Marshall on Saturday, September 12th in St. Michael's Cathedral, Springfield.
Fr. John Lessard-Thibodeau offered his first Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, September 13th at 2:00 pm in our church, with a reception for the new priest in the parish hall.
October 4th: Rev. Mother Elisabetta, SMMI announced the transfers of Sr. Denise to become Mistress of Novices, Rome; and Sr. Raphael to become Superior of Holy Name Convent, Stamford, CT. Sr. Carolyn was appointed Superior of our Convent, and she would be assisted by Srs. Amanda and Donna Marie (postulant from Turners Falls).
Sr. Ursuline (Wójcik) FSSJ, a native daughter of our parish, died on September 30th in the Motherhouse Infirmary of the Franciscan Sisters in Hamburg, NY.
The Rosary Sodality's 7th annual Arts and Crafts Show was held on Saturday, Nov. 7th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in the parish hall.
The solemn enthronement of the St. Joseph (Holy Family) icon at the St. Joseph Altar in our church was held on Sunday, November 1st at the 9:30 am Mass. The icon, a copy of the original in Kalisz, Poland, was dedicated in memory of Stanley J. Topór from her children Frederick S. Topór and Elizabeth A. Anderson.
Fr. John Gayton, MIC, of Stockbridge preached at the Advent Vespers Service on Sunday, December 13th at 4:00 pm with Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
1993 - Sister Carolyn Mary (Cossack), SMMI, professed her perpetual vows in the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate at the 9:30 am Mass on Sunday, January 3rd.
At the request of Bishop John Marshall, each parish was to conduct a Self-Study Evaluation. Parishioners who volunteered to work on this project: Constance Garceau, Regina Janosz, Marion Kozlik, Anna Kulig, Mildred Lisak, Cecelia Matera, Del McCloskey, and Stephen Przybycien.
Parishioner Irene Grzywna organized a Pilgrimage to Rome for the Beatification of Sister Maria Faustina, Apostle of the Divine Mercy, April 15-22.
A Parish Youth Mission was conducted by the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate on Sunday, March 13th from 10 am to Noon in the parish hall.
For the second year in a row, Rev. Msgr. George Tomichek conducted our Parish Lenten Mission from Saturday, March 20th to Wednesday, March 24th at 7:00 pm with sermon and Benediction. A solemn procession closed the final night of the Mission.
The Rosary Sodality announced it would financially and spiritually sponsor two young parishioners, ages 16-25, to the World Youth Day gathering with Pope John Paul II in Denver, Colorado from August 11th-15th.
A Lenten Luncheon at St. Thomas Parish Hall, Palmer on Tuesday., April 6th from 11:30 am to 1 pm featured Bishop Marshall as guest speaker.
St. Thomas Church, Palmer was the setting for an Easter Celebration in Song on Sunday, April 25th at 3 pm with the choirs of: Sts. Peter and Paul; St. Thomas; St. Anne (Three Rivers); and St. John the Baptist (Ludlow). Fr. David Caron, assistant pastor of St. Thomas was celebrant and Fran Davis accompanied on the organ.
Organist and Choir Director Mr. Francis Davis left our parish in June after seven years of dedicated and inspiring service. Our parish offered many thanks & God's blessings.
Fr. Anthony Corigliano, CSS, spoke at the weekend Masses, June 5th-6th on the needs of the Stigmatine Father & Brothers' mission in Thailand.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continued Monday-Friday at 3:00 pm in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel.
Pulaski Park was the setting for the 14th annual Parish Picnic (counting since 1980) on Sunday, July 25th from Noon to 8:30 pm.
A statue of Saint Fiacre (670 A.D.), patron of gardeners and cab drivers, was located in an outdoor shrine to the front left of the Divine Mercy Grotto (August 1st).
Dr. Dolores Grier, Vice Chancellor for Community Relations, Archdiocese of New York and outstanding speaker on pro-life issues, spoke at our YMI (MI Youth) gathering Monday-Friday, August 23-27 in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Room. Dr. Grier is well known to viewers of EWTN.
On September 12th, the parish welcomed Michael J. Rheault as new full-time organist and choir director. We also welcomed Daniel Slowick who would play the organ at the Saturday 4:00 pm anticipated Mass.
A Parish Mission was offered Mon.-Thurs., Sept. 13-16 with Fr. Albert Dagnoli of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary Fathers. The retired Navy Chaplain offered Masses at 9:00 am and 7:00 pm.
Forty Hours Devotion was held Sept. 17-19 with Fr. Dagnoli as guest preacher.
Mother Elisabetta, SMMI reassigned Sister Amanda Ross to Stamford, CT. Sr. Therese Marie Kovacs and Sr. Donna Marie Shattell were assigned to our parish, along with Sr. Carolyn Mary (Sept. 26th).
Our St. Cecilia Choir sang for residents of the Polish National Home in Enfield, CT at a program on Sunday, October 10th from 1 to 5 pm (our choir sang at 2:00 pm).
The Rosary Sodality's 8th annual Arts and Crafts Show was held on Saturday, Nov. 6th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in the parish hall.
1994 - As a new year began, Adoration of Blessed Sacrament continued Monday to Friday at 3:00 pm in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel.
On April 10th, 1994, the Financial Report for 1992-93 was released. It showed 18 Baptisms; 16 First Holy Communions; 9 Marriages; 30 Anointings; 27 deaths. Total in savings & checking accounts: $270,133.62.
Sister M. Adele (Chychla) FSSJ, who taught in our parish school from 1947-49, died on April 1, 1994 at the Motherhouse Infirmary in Hamburg, NY.
Confirmation for our students and students of St. Adalbert, Bondsville, was held at the 9:30 Mass on Sunday, May 15th with Bishop Thomas Manning, OFM.
The unveiling of a memorial plaque for Frank A. Hyrniewicz (a parishioner killed in the attack at Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941) was held at Hryniewicz Memorial Park, Three Rivers on Sunday, May 29th at 2:00 pm.
The Most Rev. John A. Marshall, Bishop of Springfield only since February 1992, died of bone cancer at the age of 66 on July 3, 1994.
The Happy Louie and Julcia Orchestra played at our annual Parish Picnic on Sunday, July 24th, held at Pulaski Park from Noon to 8:30 pm.
Fr. Charles Borowski, Pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in West Warren, was guest preacher at Forty Hours Devotion on Sept. 16-18.
A Parish Mission, conducted by Fr. Matthew Swizdor, OFM Conv., a well-known mission parish, was held Monday to Thursday, Sept. 19-22 at 7:00 pm.
Sept. 4th: Sister Donna Marie was transferred by Mother Elisabetta from our parish to the Newman Center at the University of North Dakota. That left the parish with two sisters: Sr. Carolyn Mary and Sr. Virginia Mary.
The celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Diocese of Springfield (1870-1995) opened on Sunday, October 2nd at a 4:00 pm Mass in the Cathedral with Bishop Thomas Dupré, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese as main celebrant.
The Rosary Sodality's 9th annual Arts and Crafts Show was held on Saturday, Nov. 5th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the parish hall.
Our parish welcomed Sr. Anna Maria Mix, SMMI, replacing Sr. Virginia Mary Pagan who was re-assigned to Rome.
1997 - On Christmas Day, Fr. Robert Ceckowski, Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church, passed away.
1998 - Father Stefan Niemczyk was appointed the sixth Pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.
Fr. Niemczyk, Pastor 1998-present
2005 - The One-Hundreth Anniversary of our church was formally observed.
Pope John Paul II died on April 2. (Reigned 1978-2005.) On April 19, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was elected as Pope Benedict XVI.
2007 - On June 7, Pope Benedict XVI published the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, in which he allowed for more widespread use of the 1962 Missal of the Traditional Latin Mass (Tridentine Mass). Each priest may now celebrate the Extraordinary Form without permission from the bishop.
In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Traditional Latin Mass (promulgated by Pope St. Pius V and re-issued by Pope St. John XXIII in 1962) was never abrogated. Pope Benedict XVI also declared the Mass of Paul VI (also known as the "Novus Ordo") as the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the Tridentine Mass the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
2009 - The Bishop of Springfield, Very Rev. Timothy McDonnell, closed St. Anne Church in Three Rivers, MA as part of his "Pastoral Planning" project. SS. Peter and Paul and St. Anne Parishes were merged together and adopted the name Divine Mercy Parish. SS. Peter and Paul Church continues to serve the Roman Catholic faithful in Three Rivers, MA.
2012 - The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Fr. Stefan Niemczyk's ordination to the priesthood was celebrated with Mass and a banquet at the Parish Hall on January 28.
2013 - On February 11, Pope Benedict XVI unexpectedly resigned the Papacy. (Reigned 2005-2013.) His resignation became effective on February 28. On March 13, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, S.J. was elected, and took the name Pope Francis.
2014 - On June 19, Bishop Timothy McDonnell resigned as bishop of Springfield. Upon Bishop McDonnell's resignation, Very Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, was appointed the eighth Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts by Pope Francis. Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski was installed on August 12.
2018 - On June 30, Fr. Michael Kokoszka, native son of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, was ordained to the priesthood at St. Michael's Cathedral in Springfield. In 2020, he joined the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and was appointed at St. Vitus Parish in Los Angeles, CA.
2019 - Fr. Niemczyk oversaw the repainting of the interior of SS. Peter and Paul Church.
2020 - On June 10, Bishop of Springfield Mitchell Rozanski was appointed as Archbishop of St. Louis. Upon this announcement, Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, MA was named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Springfield.
On October 14, 2020, Father William D. Byrne of the Diocese of Washington D.C., was appointed the tenth Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts by Pope Francis. The episcopal consecration and installation of Bishop Byrne took place on December 14 at St. Michael's Cathedral.
Pope Francis announced a special Year of St. Joseph to be celebrated from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021.
2021 - Bishop William Byrne announced a special diocesan Year of the Holy Eucharist to be celebrated from November 21, 2021 to October 7, 2022, to increase belief in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist: His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. During the Spring 2022, the Year of the Holy Eucharist was extended to June 11, 2023.