Early History of St. Adalbert Basilica and Parish, Buffalo, New York
As a result of the great immigration wave to America in the 1880’s, so many Polish people were coming to the East side that St. Stanislaus Parish could not accommodate the expanding congregation. Some of the parishioners decided that a new parish for the Poles was needed on the East side. After surmounting various difficulties and setbacks, this group eventually was able to establish a new parish for themselves. Father Anthony Klawiter was assigned as the first pastor of the new parish in September of 1886. He purchased twenty-seven lots on Kosciuszko and Stanislaus Streets. A temporary chapel was completed by September 8, 1886, and the first Mass was offered in the four day later. During the day, the chapel served as a school. In the meantime, the parish property was increase to sixty-four lots and on September 8, 1886, construction of a combination church and school began. The building was completed and dedicated by Bishop Stephen Ryan April 24 1887. Four Felician Sisters came in 1887 to teach school, the registration of which totaled 413 pupils. Before 1889, a rectory and a two-story school house were erected. On the remaining property, Father Klawiter planned to have within: a park, a home for the aged and infirm, as well as an Immigration House.
However, when a fire on January 26, 1889 completely destroyed his new church, Father Klawiter's plans were shattered.
On March 10, 1895, Father Thomas Flaczek began the longest and most eventful pastorate in St. Adalbert Parish history. He had the church, which was built in 1891, redecorated and built a new rectory in 1901. School registration then totaled 930 pupils taught by fifteen Felician Sisters and one lay teacher. The highest registration occurred in 1926 when the enrollment totaled 1148 pupils.
In 1907, His Holiness, Pope Pius X, by an authenticated document, adjoined the Church of St. Adalbert to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, so that "all the faithful who visit St. Adalbert's Church, when rightly disposed, enjoy the same indulgences, privileges and spiritual favors as if they personally came to the Vatican Basilica."
Father Thomas Flaczec died August 23, 1926, and was succeeded by Father Francis Kaluzny, D.D., who assumed his duties September 11, 1926. During his administration, a new main altar of marble and mosaic was installed in the church. He devoted much of his time to writing books of a devotional nature and to reading. From 1922 until his death, he a diocesan "Censor librorum".
With the coming of Father Stelmach in 1961, the parish was entering its fourth quarter of a century of existence. It was his initial responsibility at this time to guide the Parish Diamond Jubilee Committee in celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the parish with main events carried out from December third to tenth, 1961.
- Source: "Millennium of Christianity of the Polish People, 966-1966, Buffalo Diocesan Observance"
Editor: Rev. Milton J. Kobiski; Associate Editor: Rev. Stanley J. Ogorzaly
St. Hyacinth's Cemetery, Dunkirk, New York
(Lake Erie can be seen on the horizon.)
St. Adalbert Basilica
212 Stanislalus Street
Buffalo, New York
Aerial View - 1950s - photo taken by
Rev. Thaddeus Glowacki