Thank you for the coverage
I want to thank you for your coverage of the 10/1/20 closure of St. Stanislaus church in Chelsea and for reprinting history of the church from previous issue. The church has been in Chelsea for over 115 years serving the religious, cultural and other needs of the Polish parishioners. Thought its 115th year history, this church was build and maintained by its parishioners. The names of parishioners who contributed financial support to build and maintain the St. Stanislaus church building are listed inside on the walls and ceiling. Now that the church is closed and most likely will be sold that history and memory will be lost.
To me St. Stanislaus was and is more than just a church, it is the center of my family history and culture. Growing up in Chelsea it was my ‘Polish Village’. My grand-uncle William was the first to arrive in Chelsea after WWI from then ‘Russian Poland’. He brought his two brothers and their wives. My family can trace its membership at St. Stanislaus church for around 100 years.
This passed Memorial Day, my Aunt Helen passed away at the age of 92. She was the 3rd youngest of 6 in her family. All were born into this parish, attended St. Stanislaus grammar school. At St. Stanislaus school she learned to speak and write fluently in Polish. She along with her late husband Stephen lived their whole lives in Chelsea and were life members of St. Stanislaus church. All 7 of their children also graduated from St. Stanislaus grammar school.
To me and my family St. Stanislaus church was a place where we could celebrate not just religious holidays but also all the Polish holidays and keep up on our traditions. Unlike people in Poland under the rule of Soviet Union, we would celebrate Polish Constitution day of May 3, 1791 (First one in Europe second to US). Also we could have memorial masses to remember the over 25,000 Polish WWII prisoners who were killed by the Russians at Katyn in Ukraine.
We celebrated all the veterans holidays with the participation of Polish American Veterans of Chelsea. We had many social events such as bazaars and holiday parties. Thought the years, we hosted visitors from Poland such as basketball students and judo teams. We were also a resource and hosts a crew of stranded Polish fishing vessel due to an accident at sea.
We celebrated the church’s 100 anniversary in 2005. We also celebrated when Karol Wojtyla became John Paul II and with sadness his passing. To the Polish Community he was not just the pope, he was “OUR POPE’.
The Polish members of the St. Stanislaus parish are my extended family. We would help celebrate each other’s family events such as weddings, christenings, graduations, birthdays and funerals. They are my family which is now homeless.
To the Archdiocese of Boston, they are just closing a church. They are telling the parishioners they can just join another church. To me closing St. Stanislaus church is getting rid of my ‘Polish village’ and my ‘family’.
The personal associations and contacts cannot be as easily transplanted as the Cardinal O’Malley or Bishop O’Connell propose. Bishop O’Connell would not listen to any other options suggested by the parishioners at 9/8/19 church meeting. The decision to close the building was already made before that meeting. Our families build this church but we had no say in its disposition.
Thank you for your attention.
Member of St. Stanislaus Church
56 years and family members for over 100 years