Early History of St. John Gualbert, Cheektowaga, New York (1917-1966)
As a founder and organizer of the Polonia in Buffalo, Father John Pitass watched the rapid expansion of the settlement and visualized new Polish parishes rising ultimately in the suburbs of Buffalo. It was therefore, according to the last will of Father John Pitass, that after his death on December 11, 1913, his farm on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga was divided into lots for sale with a section on Doat and Gualbert Streets designated for a future parish in honor of his patron saint. In 1916, Father Alexander Pitass, who succeeded Father John Pitass at St. Stanislaus Parish, began to organize the new parish. The beginnings were difficult, for as yet, very few Polish families resided in the new vicinity. However in spring of 1917, Father
Alexander Pitass had a small frame combination church and school building under construction. On June 3, 1917, Bishop Dennis Dougherty dedicated the new church. Father Pitass was administrator of the parish and every Sunday, either he himself or one of his assistants commuted from St. Stanislaus Parish to say Mass for the parishioners. In 1917, a new school was established and two Felician Sisters began to teach 128 pupils.
On January 15, 1918, Bishop Charles Colton appointed Father Peter Adamski as the first resident pastor. Only sixty families belonged to the parish then, but when in 1921 new houses were constructed in the vicinity, many more families moved to the neighborhood from Buffalo. Both the parish membership and school registration increased. In 1921 and again in 1927, Father Adamski built additions to the school When the frame church became too small to accommodate the parishioners, ground was broken for a new church on May 13, 1928. The first services were held in the new church on May 13, 1928..Monsignor J. Nash officiated at the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone on August 26, 1928. The first services were held in the new church on Easter of 1929. For his many services to God and the Church, Father Adamski was made a domestic prelate in 1943. In 1945, after twenty-eight years of untiring service to his parish Monsignor Adamski was transferred to St. Stanislaus Parish. The parish continued to prosper both materially and spiritually under the next pastor. Monsignor Michael Biniszkiewicz, who for twelve years ministered to the needs of his people. He has been primarily solicitous for the spiritual welfare of the parish. He did not, in any way neglect the material growth of the parish.
- 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. Hyacinth's Cemetery, Dunkirk, New York
(Lake Erie can be seen on the horizon.)
St. John Gualbert Parish
83 Gualbert Avenue
Cheektowaga, New York
Recent Photos of St. John Gualbert Church in Cheektowaga, New York