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History of St.Hedwig Parish, Dunkirk, New York (1902-1966)
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History of St.Hedwig Parish, Dunkirk, New York (1902-1966)

In 1902, when over 200 families inhabited the new section of Dunkirk, namely: the “Gorki” (hills of Dunkirk), a committee from the settlement presented to Bishop Charles Colton, on behalf of the community, a request for the establishment of a new parish. The Bishop gave his consent and delegated Father Hyacinth Fudzinski to organize the parish He collected petitions and signatures. When the plan for the formation of the parish was definite, the Bishop appointed in August 1902, Father Peter Szulc the first pastor.

From a local farmer, Mr. Hayman, Father Szulc purchased a large tract of land between Roberts Road, Tonwsent and Doughty Streets and built a temporary frame church in which on Christmas Eve that same year he celebrated Midnight Mass, the first Mass in the new parish. Bishop James Quigley

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 dedicated the church on January 11, 1903. The parish membership by that time rose to three hundred families.

In April 1903, Father Thomas Stabenau became pastor. He immediately began the construction of a combination church and school. The ceremonies of the laying of the cornerstone took place on July 4, 1904. On May 30, 1905, the new structure was dedicated by Bishop Charles Colton. In September of that year, two Felician Sisters undertook the teaching or 153 pupils in St. Hedwig’s school.

The structure was completely destroyed by fire on December 29, 1905. That same year the pastor began construction of a combination building with the school on the lower floor and a church on the upper floor. The building was completed and dedicated on June 9, 1907.

During the following years various building projects were undertaken by the pastors of the parish. Father John Klimek who served the parish from 1930-1958 inherited a learge debt from his predecessors at the time of a nationwide depression. It was only through the ingenious and unselfish efforts of a group of interested parishioners who aided him in his various enterprises to raise funds, that the parish was saved from bankruptcy.

As the national economy improved and employment returned, the parish encome increased. Father Klimek reinitiated the parish building program. The pastor constructed in 1939 a new convent and reconverted the former sisters residence into a rectory.

Upon the death of Father Klimek, the present pastor, Father John Hrycyna, was installed on March 8, 1959.

 - Source: "Millennium of Christianity of the Polish People, 966-1966, Buffalo Diocesan Observance"
Editor: Rev. Milton J. Kobielski; Associate Editor: Rev. Stanley J. Ogorzaly
 St. Hedwig Parish, (Renamed "Blessed Mary Angela R.C. Church)
103 East Doughty Street, Dunkirk, New York
Blessed Mary Angela Parish
324 Townsend St
Dunkirk, NY 14048-3131

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In 2008, the parishes of St. Hyacinth and St. Hedwig were merged, and the parish renamed “Blessed Mary Angela R.C. Parish of Dunkirk, N.Y.” in honor of Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowski, founder of the Felician Sisters