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Early History of St. Stanislaus Parish in Buffalo, N.Y.
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Early History of St. Stanislaus Parish in Buffalo, N.Y.


Polonia Music
Pope John Paul II Shrine
"Do Not Be Afraid" - "Nie Lękajcie Się"
History of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Parish (1873-1966)
123 Townsend Street, Buffalo, New York
Founded: June 8, 1873

Among the millions of immigrants who reached the shores of America in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Polish people constituted a considerable group. They settled mainly in the large cities of northeast United States. According to the 1870 census, there were no less than 135 natives of Poland within the bounds of Buffalo, New York. About 30 families lived in the vicinity of Saint Mary’s Church on Broadway and Pine.

The majority of these settlers in Buffalo attended services at St. Mary’s Church where they dared not occupy the pews but stood shyly in the rear. When their numbers increased, Father James Nagel, CSSR, the assistant pastor, directed them to St. Michael’s Church where, on Sunday, a Mass was said for them in the side chapel. On December 8, 1872, the Society of Maria Gartner, a Bohemian priest, arrived in Buffalo and for several days held church services, administered the sacraments, and preached in broken Polish to the congregation. With his advice and under his direction, on December 12, 1872, the Society of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, the nucleus of the future parish, was organized. Father Gartner then left for Rome, Italy.

 On May 12, 1873, John Pitass arrived at the suspension bridge, the present site of Niagara University. At the beginning of June, he received all his minor orders and became a subdeacon and deacon respectively. June 7, 1873, Bishop Stephen Ryan ordained him to the holy priesthood and on the following day Father John Pitass said his first Mass in the St. Michael’s Church in the presence of the Polish people. That very afternoon, Father Pitass attended the St. Stanislaus Society meeting during which he organized St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr Parish. Eighty-two families enrolled.
 In the meantime, Joseph Bork, a member of St. Mary’s Parish and a real estate speculator, owned large tracts of land behind St. Ann’s Church. Observing in 1871 and 1872 that Polish immigrants in large numbers were passing through Buffalo to their destinations in the West, he reckoned that some of these immigrants might be induced to stay in Buffalo. Father Elias Fred Schauer, CSSR, rector of St. Mary’s Church, suggested to Mr. Bork that a church and a priest of their own nationality would attract Polish immigrants. Accordingly, early in 1873, Bork deeded to the Catholic Diocese, land on Peckham Street as a site for a church for the Polish people. The blessing of the cornerstone on this site took place August 24, 1873.

Thus on January 25, 1874, a small frame church, the first for the Polish people in the Diocese of Buffalo, was dedicated by Bishop Ryan. Erected on the corner or Peckham and Townsend Streets, it was a simple structure combining a church, school and rectory.

St. Stanislaus B.M. School opened in April of 1874. Until 1881, registration averaged 170 pupils taught by three laymen. From 1880 to 1881 so many Polish immigrants arrived in Buffalo that parish membership doubled. The original church could not accommodate the Sunday worshiper and Father Pitass made plans to erect a large church and to merge into one large parish the entire Polish settlement in Buffalo. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place August 10, 1883. The lower level of the church was completed September 30 of the same year and opened for services. Built of flint stone with Lockport trimmings, the upper level church was completed, except for the towers, and dedicated October 17, 1886.


The Felician Sisters arrived in Buffalo from Polonia, Wisconsin December 27, 1881 and undertook at first the teaching of girls only at St. Stanislaus parish. It wasn’t until 1887 that it was decided to build a new school to accommodate all the pupils who wished to enroll in the school. The new school was built and dedicated on October 5, 1890. In order to have a burial ground for the parishioners of St. Stanislaus Parish, twenty acres were purchased in 1889 on Pine Ridge Road, and blessed in 1891.

On May 29, 1894, Father John Pitass was named Dean over the churches of Polish settlers in the Diocese of Buffalo. After many fruitful years in the priesthood, Father John Pitass passed away on December 11, 1913. To him undeniably belongs the title of the founder and patriarch of the Polish colony in the Diocese of Buffalo and the neighboring dioceses of Rochester and Erie.

On January 12, 1914, Rev. Dr. Alexander Pitass became the second pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish. He built a cut stone rectory, renovated the interior of the church and had electricity installed in the church. In 1916 construction began on the sisters’ convent which was completed and blessed September 30, 1917. 

In 1920, after a fire destroyed a hall located on the fourth floor of the school, Father Pitass purchased a brick building on Peckham Street which he converted into an auditorium-hall and club rooms for societies.

In 1923 the parish and Polonia celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation. May 25, 1925, Father Alexander Pitass was named domestic prelate with the title of monsignor. In May 1928, Monsignor Pitass purchased a site on the corner of Peckham and Townsend Streets for parish youth activities. A lifetime of invaluable services to his beloved parish marked the career of this beloved pastor. Monsignor Alexander Pitass succumbed July 30, 1944.

For one year thye parish remained under the administration of Father Stanislaus Kulpinski. During this time, June 14, 1945, a fire damaged considerably the hall in the old social center.

Then on July 2, 1945, Rt. Rev. Peter Adamski was installed as the third pastor. Since one of the main concerns of Monsignor Adamski was the fostering of higher education among the youth, he initiated in September 1945, a high school program for his parish school. A year later two diocesan high schools in Buffalo's East side evolved from this endeavor, namely Bishop Colton High School for the girls and Bishop Ryan High School for the boys.
St. Stanislaus B & M Parochial School, Buffalo, N.Y.
A View of St. Stanislaus Church and Surrounding Homes
A drop in parish membership resulting from the shift of people to the suburban areas made the lower level church facilities superfluous and plans were made to reconstruct the area to serve parish club needs. However, in the latter part of 1950, this are was converted into the Bishop Colton Annex. Four year later, Monsignor Adamski relinquished his parish garden and the present Bishop Colton High School was built on this site. The school opened its doors to the students September 7, 1955.

After making various improvements in all the parish buildings, the crowning achievement of Monsignor Adamski’s administration was the erection of the new parish social center which opened April 18, 1960.

 - Source: "Millennium of Christianity of the Polish People, 966-1966, Buffalo Diocesan Observance"
Editor: Rev. Milton J. Kobiski; Associate Editor: Rev. Stanley J. Ogorzaly
Monsignor Peter J. Adamski 
St. Stanislaus School - Class of 1962
Polish Singer's Alliance 2010 Festival Concert
St. Stanislaus Cemetery  
Pine Ridge Road, Cheektowaga, N.Y.






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Rev. Dean John Pitass 
June 8, 1873 to Dec. 11, 1913
St. Stanislaus B & M Church 
123 Townsend St 
Buffalo, NY 14212 
Phone: 716-854-5510
Pioneer St. Stanislaus Families Recall Early Days of Parish

Memories of old St. Stanislaus fall thick as hail when families of the two oldest parishioners get together.
For years, these two seniors of St. Stanislaus -- seniors in point of years -- lived together in a house at 49 Townsend Street. Albert Stachowski, one of them, died a year ago soon after he celebrated his 100th birthday. 
But the other, Mrs. Elizabeth Rogowska, now 107 and the oldest resident of Buffalo, is hale and hearty. She remembers as if it were yesterday, how St. Stanislaus church received here into its membership when she came here 46 years ago. The big church was just completed then, Broadway was a cobble-stone street, and the neighborhood was still young. She was 61 when she came here from Silesia, where she was born in 1827.


STACHOWSKI HERE FIRST
Mr. Stachowski had preceded her here. He came from Poland 63 years ago, and was one of the group that founded St. Stanislaus. All the rest of his life he attended the church, even after he moved to a farm in Orchard Park. That recalls the story of Father John and the pet crow.
Frank Stachowski, on of the sons (he's 63 now) tells the story.
"On the farm I found a crow's nest, and in it a young crow, which I took home." He said, "It became a pet. It could talk and would follow me anywhere. Several times I sold that crow. It was easy money, because the next day the crow would come flying back home."

"One Sunday when we drove in to church -- these were horse and buggy days, remember -- the crow rode in too, sitting on the backs of the horses."
Father John saw it, and he took a fancy to it. He wanted to buy it but I only grinned. It would have been a good joke to sell it to him, but I didn't want to play a joke on Father John. He offered me $5 for it -- a lot of money for a crow, especially for one that would come flying back like a homing pigeon.

A GOOD JOKE
"So I had to tell him why I would not sell. How he laughed then."
Where Fillmore Avenue now runs, with thousands of cars streaming through it, the muddy creek ran when Stachowski sons and daughters were children.
"We used to skate on it in winter and swim in it in the summer," Frank continued. "In the spring we would hop on big ice cakes and go floating along on them. How that used to distress Father John. He would run along the shore, scolding us, but ready to jump in to our aid if anything happened."
"And at last something did, sad to say. One boy slipped from the ice cake and was drowned. His body was carried into the sewer into which the creek emptied and later recovered in the Buffalo River."
Frank recalled a humorous story about the building of the first wooden school house. While it was still incomplete, the youngster climbed in, jumping from rafter to rafter. Finally one of the boys got up on a chimney stub that looked like a pulpit, and began to preach in imitation of Father John.

DISCOVERED
"It was so good that we were in hysterics," he said. "Very solemn and he made gestures just like the Father. Imagine how we felt when we looked up a discovered Father Pitass himself looking on."
"The young orator made a dive and just escaped Father John's strong, clutching hand. In after years, the Father with a twinkle, used to was that the sermon was good, but that the gestures and intonations were exaggerated."
The oldest of our Stachowski children, now Mrs. Apolonia Burzynska, 67, of 119 Hirschbeck Street, recalled another aspect of the good priest.
"As the oldest child, I was entrusted to pay the shool dues," she said. "I was very proud when I marched into Father John's office with the money. And then he would say to me, "I hear you trounce your little brothers and sisters."
"I would indignantly deny this, and then with a smile he would take a bag of candy from his desk and give it to me, saying, "Here, this is for being a good girl."
Mrs. Burzynska remembers the parades and processions as high points of her school days.

GIRLS HONORED
"Certain girls were picked out, and we dressed in white," she said laughing. "How grand we thought we were in our finery. And after the parade, Father Pitass would serve us ice cream with strawberries and cake in the rectory."
There were problems for the children too. The Stachowskis lived near Walnut and Cedar Streets and had to cut across lots on the way to school. Near St. Ann's Church was a big sand hill and behind it children of the neighborhood would lie in wait to fling stones and call names.
"They got plenty back." said Mrs. Burzynska with a smile. "But some of the more timid would wait till a grown-up walked past and they would then go by the sand hill under guard."
The Stachowski children have seen the Broadway-Fillmore section grow from a desolate mudflat and marshland to the second busiest business center of the city, and have watched St. Stanislaus grow from a  rural parish to the biggest urban parish.
Another family of old parishioners is the Johnson family, who for more than 60 years have been associated with the music and teaching of St. Stanislaus.

JOHNSON FOUNDER
Jacob Johnson was founder of the family here and one of the organizers of the church. He graduated from Cornell University, and taught English and mathematics in the school. He married one of the pupils, Miss Eva Stopinska, now living at 341 Peckham Street.
Mrs. Johnson once had another partner than her husband. It was Father John, when she was a member of the parish's first communion class.
"All the rest of the class were boys, and they teamed up, leaving me alone." She said. "But Father John saw my predicament, and he walked with me to the communion rail. How proud I was, in my white dress and white shoes and stockings, with the wreath of white wax blossoms on my head.
After her marriage, she became soloist in the church choir. For 24 years her voice rang through the big auditorium. One of their sons, Victor, taught in St. Stanislaus School after his graduation from Canisius College. Some 30 years ago he became organist in the lower church, and now plays the big organ in the upper church. His sister, Miss Ursula Johnson, succeeded him in the lower auditorium. She is secretary to Stanley Czaster, president of the Polish Union of America and lives with her mother.

SON IS PASTOR
Another son is Rev. James Johnson, assistant pastor of St. Lawrence church in Detroit, where a third son, Stanley, is in the real estate business.
Two grandsons, Victor Jr. and Harry are accomplished pianists. Victor is now in Africa, doing research work for the Buffalo Library.

Source: The Buffalo Times, October 19, 1934
Courtesy of Laurel Myszker Keough 
PGSNYS – Polish Genealogical Society of NYS
The Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Piekary Slaskie, Poland (near Katowice) was the inspiration for St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr R.C. Church in Buffalo, New York. Piekary is one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in the country, boasting a tradition that goes back to the 17th century, and as one of the most frequented it sees several thousand people making pilgrimages annually.
Unveiling and Dedication of 
Divine Mercy Painting
June 30, 2013
Pastors and Administrators of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr R.C. Church 
Buffalo, New York
  • Rev. John Pitass, (July 3, 1844 - December 11, 1913)
Pastor: June 8, 1873 - December 11, 1913
  • Rev. Msgr. Dr. Alexander Pitass, Ph.D, D.D., (February 20, 1875 - July 30, 1944)
Pastor: January 12, 1914 - July 30, 1944
  • Rev. Stanislaus Kulpinski, (March 24, 1909 - December 10, 1985)
Administrator: August, 1944 - July, 1945
  • Rev. Msgr. Peter J.  Adamski, P.A. ( August 2, 1891 - September 21, 1982)
Pastor: July 2, 1945 - December 8, 1973, Thereafter, Pastor Emeritus
  • Rev. Msgr. Chester A. Meloch, (Born December 7, 1917)
Pastor: January 1974 - February 1, 1978
  • Rev. Msgr. John R. Gabalski, P.A. (July 9, 1922 - October 9, 2003)
Pastor: February 26, 1978 - October 9, 2003
  • Bishop Edward Grosz (Born February 16, 1945)
       Pastor: October 21, 2003 - December 1, 2009
  • Rev. Thaddeus M. Bocianowski (Pastor since 2009)
  • Rev. Marius Dymek (Pastor/Rector since 2015)

CLICK HERE to read about Fr. John Pitass & the Crow
CLICK HERE to read about my family's early connection to St. Stan's.
  The year 1874, the year the Felician Sisters left Poland and settled in Polonia, Wisconsin, has a special significance for me and for my family which I think is worth noting. It was in that year that Father John Pitass, a recently ordained priest and the first pastor of Buffalo’s St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church, talked my grandfather into leaving his studies at Cornell University and to use his talents instead for the betterment of Buffalo’s growing Polish community. Fr. Pitass, even as a young man, must have been a very persuasive individual, and surely had a keen eye as a recruiter of Polonia’s future leaders.

  Although I never met the man, I have always been extremely proud of my grandfather, Jacob Johnson. Jakób Jasiek came to America from Piaseczno (north of Bydgoszcz, Poland) in 1857 with his father (Amboży), his stepmother and two younger siblings, Ewa and Theophile. (Theophile died shortly after the family’s arrival in New York City.) They settled in Dunkirk, New York where his father hoped to find employment. At that time, there were no more than three other Polish families living in Dunkirk*. It took a while for my great grandfather to secure employment, so eleven-year-old Jacob was sent to work as a farmhand for Duane L. Guernsey of Fredonia, New York. Jacob’s father eventually found work with the railroad yet Jacob continued to work hard to help bring in money for his struggling family and to better himself by doing well in school. With the help and encouragement of Mr. Guernsey, my grandfather – who by this time spoke excellent English – completed his studies at Fredonia Normal School and soon after enrolled as a student at Cornell University’s newly established College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ithaca, New York. 

  In August of 1874, while my grandfather was in Buffalo en route from Dunkirk to Ithaca, he was approached by Father John Pitass, who at the time was searching for qualified teachers for the parish’s new school. So with a little arm twisting, the young priest managed to convince my grandfather to abandon both his studies and his career (managing his former employer’s estate in Pittsford, New York) for the opportunity to educate the ever increasing numbers of Polish immigrants settling in Buffalo’s East Side. I believe my grandfather accepted Fr. John’s challenge with great resolve, and together with Fr. Pitass and another colleague, Francis Gorski, took on the task of educating the parish's children. According to the parish Jubilee publication**, the nickname "Johnson" was given to Jacob by Fr. Pitass and it remained with him for the rest of his life. The truth is Jacob's classmates had already given him the name shortly after their arrival in Dunkirk, but Fr. Pitass was responsible for making it stick.

  At St. Stanislaus School, Jacob Johnson taught English and mathematics to Buffalo’s earliest Polish immigrants for sixteen years. Personally I feel the early students of St. Stanislaus greatly benefitted from having had access to a teacher so fluent in English. (My father used to say grandpa could even speak with an Irish brogue when he wanted to.) It is also written in the parish Jubilee book that Jacob Johnson “was an extraordinarily gifted teacher, especially in his favorite subject, arithmetic, and was successful in providing his students with the foundation they needed to excel academically and do well in their examinations" and "as a teacher, was able to help his countrymen with financial matters, ... they in turn went on to start businesses of their own." (my translations from the original Polish). In 1881, the Felician Sisters took over teaching responsibilities at St. Stanislaus School, although initially they taught only the girls. It wasn’t until 1887 that it was decided to build a new school to accommodate all pupils. The new school was built and dedicated on October 5, 1890. 

  Although a devoted teacher, my grandfather was simultaneously an enterprising realtor (his office was located at 341 Peckham Street, my boyhood home) and a political activist who strongly believed that Polish Americans needed to make their voices heard politically in order to claim their rightful place as full-fledged Americans. A man of action, Jacob Johnson co-founded the Polish Democratic Club (Klub Polsko-Demokratyczny) together with K. Binkowski and J. Gosielewski, and was a huge supporter of fellow democrat, Mayor Grover Cleveland. When President Cleveland married, my grandfather was invited to the White House for the President’s wedding. (Not bad for an immigrant!) A photograph of the ceremony graced our Peckham Street home for many years.

  In 1891, one year after surrendering his teaching responsibilities to the Felician Sisters, Jacob Johnson ran for the office of alderman the same year his friend and colleague, Jacob Rozan, ran for supervisor. Both won their respective bids for office and in 1892 became the first Poles to have the honor of serving in local government. My grandfather was also a member of the St. Stanislaus Society for 30 years, an organizer of the Moniuszko and Lutnia singing circles, and also served on the National Board of Directors of the Polish Union of America, to which he was elected Chairman of the Board by parliamentary vote in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to the parish Jubilee publication, my grandfather "served as (Polish Union) president for many years and ... was a vigorous and energetic contributor". In 1895 he was appointed Chief Deputy of the Internal Revenue, a position which he held for two and one half years.

  As a businessman, Jacob Johnson was a great success and one of the wealthiest Poles in the city. (Source: p. 3-17) He was not by any stretch of the imagination a Rockefeller or a Carnegie, but when Polish American businessmen were asked to contribute to the 1901 Pan American Exposition, my grandfather was among those who had the means to help finance the event. His financial contribution to the Exposition was both a matter of civic pride and a desire to send a strong message to Buffalo's leadership that Polish Americans are a valuable asset to the community and are here to stay. Jacob Johnson also contributed generously over the years to the parish (church property/stained-grass windows/ the organ) and throughout his entire life helped his fellow Poles -- immigrants, who like young Jacob and his family, had to struggle for their bread and their honor. He must have been an inspiration to the new arrivals.

   The reader might find it interesting to note that my grandfather married a former student of his, Ewa Stopinska, who had the distinction of being the first girl to have made her first Holy Communion at St. Stan’s. That first year she was the only girl among her classmates to receive the sacrament and Father Pitass, seeing that none of the boys wanted a girl for a partner, volunteered to escort her to the altar. Needless to say, my grandmother thought the world of Fr. Pitass. Later, my grandmother became a soloist in the choir and is said to have had a beautiful, booming voice. Ten children blessed the union of Jacob and Ewa, and each made their mark in life. Jacob’s son, my Uncle Victor, was the first organist at St. Stan’s, and my Aunt Ursula, was the music teacher and parish organist; Victor played the pipe organ and Ursula the chapel organ. My father, Frank, was the youngest of the children, was also active in the community. Here served as a longtime committeeman of the Republican Party and President of the Fillmore-Peckham Taxpayer's Association when I was a boy. I am Frank’s youngest child. I apologize for not having written anything about my mother’s side of the family (Adamski/Skrobacz). My maternal babcia, a very gentle woman by all accounts, is said to have kicked Leon Trotsky out of their Fillmore Avenue tavern with a stern warning never to return. I am sure she had the full support of her husband, Jan, on this matter. I might also add that my mother’s brother, Anthony J. Adamski, in 1924 became the first Polish Eagle Scout in New York State. (Tony and younger brother John were both Eagle Scouts and members of Troop 1.) 

The Adamskis -- that's another story for another day.

Thank you for reading.
Robert J. Johnson
PoloniaMusic.com
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*According to "Out of the Wilderness", a book on local history written by Leslie F. Chard, "There were Polish people in Dunkirk as early as 1848, although the so-called "Polish immigration" from Prussia did not commence until 1850. First Polish families were those of Ambrose Johnson, Anthony Pogorzelski, Joseph Fleming and John Winkler.” p. 71

**Księga Pamiątkowa Złotego Jubileuszu Osady Polskiej i Parafji Sw. Stanisława B. i. M. w Buffalo, New York 1873-1923
   Although I never met the man, I have always been extremely proud of my grandfather, Jacob Johnson. Jakób Jasiek came to America from Piaseczno, Poland in 1857 with his father (Amboży), his stepmother and two younger siblings, Ewa and Theophile. (Theophile died shortly after the family’s arrival in New York City.) They settled in Dunkirk, New York where his father hoped to find employment. At that time, there were only three other Polish families in the area*. It took a while for my great grandfather to secure employment, so eleven year old Jacob was sent to work as a farmhand for Duane L. Guernsey of Fredonia, New York. Jacob’s dad eventually found work with the railroad yet Jacob continued to work hard to help bring in money for his struggling family and to better himself by doing well in school. With the help and encouragement of Mr. Guernsey, my grandfather – who by this time spoke excellent English – completed his studies at Fredonia Academy and soon after enrolled as an agriculture student at Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences  in Ithaca, New York. ​
Jacob Johnson
Meet the Johnsons
Agnes, Sophie, Frank, Eva, Stanley, Agatha, Helen
Ursula, Rev. James, Eva (mother), Victor
circa 1930

Born in Szczepanów on July 26, 1030, details concerning the early life of Stanislaus remain relatively unkown. Sources do indicate, however, that he came from a family of some political or social stature being that he was able to pursue an education in both Gniezno as well as Paris. 

He was appointed Bishop of Kraków by Duke Boleslaus II in 1071. Boleslaus became King of Poland in 1076, his cognomen being Boleslaus Largus, i.e., Boleslaus the Bountiful. According to historical sources the two men, Stanislaus and Boleslaus became engaged in a conflict which resulted in the death of the former and the political demise of the latter. Stanislaus was martyred at the order of Boleslaus on April 11, 1079. He was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in the basilica of St. Francis of Assisi on September 8, 1253. 

CLICK HERE To Visit St. Stan's Web Site


CLICK HERE To Visit St. Stan's Web Site


On June 30, 2013, hundreds gathered at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church in Buffalo, New York to celebrate 140 years of glory, praise, and wisdom.
1873-2013
More


View of the altar from the choir loft before Mass.
Bishop RIchard J. Malone before Mass
Left to right: Bishop Edward M. Grosz, Bishop Richard J. Malone, Bishop Emeritus Edward U. Kmiec
Mrs. Nancy Smardz doing the first reading
LEFT: The stole Fr. Thaddeus Bocianowski (3rd from left) is identical to the stole presented to Bishop Malone by Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Pitass. Fr. Czeslaw Krysa is to his right. 
BELOW: Presentation of the stole to Bishop Malone. Artwork on the stole was done by he same artist who painted Divine Mercy.
Buffalo, New York – The Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo celebrated the 140th Anniversary of the founding of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church during a special mass on Sunday, June 30, 2013.

St. Stanislaus is located at 123 Townsend Street, corner of Peckham in Buffalo’s Historic Polonia District. Concelebrants during this special mass  included Bishop Emeritus Edward U. Kmiec and former St. Stanislaus Parish Pastor and current Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz. Liturgical music was performed by Buffalo’s Chopin Singing Society under the direction of Dr. Thomas Witakowski.

Immediately, following the mass, Bishop Malone joined parishioners, friends, invited dignitaries and members of Western New York’s Polish Community at a gala reception  held at the Millennium Hotel on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. Founded in 1873, St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church is regarded as the “Mother Church of Buffalo Polonia.” It was established to serve the spiritual needs and offer temporal guidance to what was once the second largest Polish-American colony in North America. The parish has the distinction of being the oldest Polish parish in the Diocese of Buffalo and is the oldest in New York State.

Today, under the leadership of Pastor Thaddeus Bocianowski, the Parish serves a diverse population while maintaining its rich Polish heritage and customs through daily liturgy and cultural, educational and social activities. In 2012, with the securing of a rare relic of the former Pope, St. Stanislaus Church was named an official shrine to Saint John Paul II. 

Cześć Tobie, naszej krainy Patronie, 
Ziomku nasz święty, synu naszej ziemi,
Gdy Kościół w smutku, a lud we łzach tonie,
Módl się za nami rodakami swymi.

Tyś nieuklękły, jak Prorok Jordanu,
Bronił czci Bożej i dobra Kościoła.
Tyś i przed gromem, jako cedr Libanu,
Nie chciał poodważnego czoła. 

Wzorze Pasterzów, co w Twych wiernych sprawie
Głowę swą Bogu dałeś na ofiarę,
Bądź naszym wodzem, święty Stanisławie,
A my i na śmierć pójdziemy za wiarę.

Krew Twa męczeńska i Twych cnót znamiona
Kwitną na niebie jak palma zielona.
Tam święty ziomku, proś Boga za nami,
Niech się naszymi da przebłagać łzami. 

A gdy nad nami albo nad Kościołem
Chmury się zbiorą i burze zagrożą,
Okaż się wtedy Stróżem i Aniołem,
Swoją przyczyną odwróć karę Bożą.

Twoja opieka niech nas w każdej chwili
Wesprze i łaską niebieską zasili,
W smutku, w chorobie, w życiu i przy zgonie
Módl się za nami, święty nasz Patronie!
Cześć Tobie, naszej krainy Patronie 
Click photos to enlarge.
Parafii  św. Stanisława B & M
"Matki Kościołów Polonijnych"

POLES PAY FINAL TRIBUTE TO JACOB JOHNSON

    Impressive services marked the funeral of Jacob Johnson yesterday morning from the residence No. 341 Peckham street and St. Stanislaus church. A throng attended the church services at which the Rev. Alexander Pitass, pastor, officiated, assisted by the Rev. Ladislaus Hordych, the Rev. Francis Kasprzak, the Rev. Cezary Krzyzan, the Rev. Stanislaus Szymanski, the Rev. L. Wasik, the Rev. L. Bartkowski and others.
    After the services the Rev. Alexander Pitass paid tribute to Mr. Johnson, who was one of the oldest Poles in Buffalo and the first Polish alderman. 
    The pallbearers were James Rozan, Bernard Pitass, Vicent Kwiecikowski, Vincent Buczkowski, Frank S. Burzynski and Maryan Brzezicki. Among those present were Dr. Francis E. Fronczak, Melichor Tondrewski, S.S. Nowicki, A. Walkowiak and Frank Kwitalski. Many flowers were sent.
    The Moniuszko and Lutnia singing circles, of which Mr. Johnson was one of the organizers, sent delegations. St. Stanislaus society also sent a delegation. Interment took place in the family lot at Pine Hill. 
-Page 6
Buffalo Courier
December 25, 1914

BUFFALO’S FIRST POLISH ALDERMAN CALLED BY DEATH

    Jacob Johnson, Looked Upon by Poles as Leader in Political and Fraternal Affairs, Dies at Age of Sixty-two.
    Jacob Johnson, aged sixty-two years, the first Polish alderman to be elected in Buffalo, died at his home, No. 341 Peckham street, yesterday morning from cirrhosis of the liver. His widow, six daughters and four sons survive.
    The Poles looked upon Mr. Johnson a leader in educational advancement, political thought and fraternal association and his death will be mourned by thousands.
Settled in Dunkirk.
    In 1856 Mr. Johnson’s parents emigrated to the United States and settled in Dunkirk, where the youngster received his first education. He was a bright scholar and acquired a thorough knowledge of English while attending Fredonia Normal School. Later Johnson went to Cornell college at Ithaca, where he further pursued the study of grammar.
    Returning to Buffalo, Mr. Johnson accepted the position as instructor in English at St. Stanislaus parochial school, and many of the Polish citizens of Buffalo today owe their knowledge of the English language to the tutorship of Mr. Johnson. The late Father John Pitass was pastor of the church during the sixteen years of Mr. Johnson’s administration of the English department of St. Stanislaus and the two became friends. Later Mr. Johnson organized the first Polish political club in Buffalo, and he and his followers strongly advocated Democratic principles. In 1891, Mr. Johnson was elected alderman of the old ninth ward, bounded by Broadway, William, Fillmore and Adam streets, and held office one term.

Was Deputy Collector
    Following the term of alderman, Mr. Johnson filled the position of deputy collector of internal revenue during the late President Cleveland’s second term, and in 1897 he ran for overseer of the poor, being defeated. At the end of his official duties Mr. Johnson became engaged in the real estate and insurance business.
    The funeral will be held from St. Stanislaus church, Peckham street, Thursday morning at 10 ‘o clock. Interment will be at Pine Hill.
-Buffalo Courier
Page 7
December 22, 1914