Early History of St. Josaphat Parish in Cheektowaga, New York (1905-1966)
Although the majority of Polish immigrants arriving in western New York at the turn of the twentieth century continued to settle within the limits of Buffalo, thickly populating the city's eastern section, numerous families, to avoid congested city living conditions, began to establish their homes in the uninhabited or sparsely settled suburban areas. Genesee, Walden, Bailey and William Streets, originating in the heart of Buffalo and cutting through the Polish settlement, directly across Cheektowaga, were natural avenues of expansion. As more families settled in the Harlem-William vicinity they planned to organize a parish. Bishop Charles Colton, in a written statement, dated October 16, 1905, formed the new parish of St. Josaphat and appointed Father Andrew Garstka its first pastor. When Father Ladislaus Hordych became pastor in 1906, he purchased a building for school purposes near William and Helen Streets. One Felician Sister commuted daily from the nearby Motherhouse to teach about fifty pupils. Church services were held at this time in the Felician Sister's Motherhouse on William and Kennedy Streets. In 1907, Father Hordych purchased a site near William and Mansion Streets. Here on June 16, 1907, Bishop Charles Colton blessed a cornerstone for a new combination church-school building. The structure was completed and dedicated on December 29 of that same year. On January 2, 1908, the school opened in the new building with a registration of about 150 pupils in three classrooms. The vacant rooms served as living quarters for the pastor. In 1924 the building was completely destroyed by fire. The pastor, Father Mioduszewski, immediately began a building program which was carried on by his successor, Father Stanislaus Kroczek, who added the building of a new rectory and convent to the project. Father Kroczek's health soon failed and in 1949 Father Francis Wlodarczak was appointed administrator of the parish. An able and zealous priest, Father Wlodarczak spared no efforts to make the necessary repairs, renovations and reconstructions in preparation fro the apparent forthcoming expansion of the parish. On November 5, 1950, groundbreaking ceremonies for the new parish took place. The church was completed and dedicated on November 23, 1952, by Bishop Joseph Burke. Father Francis Wlodarczak then was formally installed as pastor on February 15 1953.
- 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. Josaphat Parish
20 Peoria Avenuer
Cheektowaga, New York