The next Buffalo Mass Mob will take place on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 for Saint John Gualbert Church’s noon Mass.
Some history of Saint John Gulabert from PoloniaTrail.com:
The creation of St. John Gualbert is the product of a happy accident. In 1888, Dean John Pitass of St. Stanislaus Church was informed by the United German and French Cemetery that Poles would no longer be able to be buried in their graveyard. Pitass began looking for a property that could be turned into a cemetery for the Poles. He found a 22-acre farm in rural Cheektowaga and paid a $5,000 deposit. Shortly after making the down payment, Dean Pitass learned that the city of Buffalo passed a law prohibiting new cemeteries within five miles of the city center. With the center of Pittass’ land at 4.8 miles from downtown, the priest decided to buy the farm himself and look for another location for the parish cemetery. For 26 years the Pitass Farm sat and in 1913 Dean Pitass passed away. His parish’s successor was his nephew Father Alexander Pitass.
Father Pitass wanted to fullfill his uncle’s wishes and in 1914 the land was divided up and sold as lots for houses, with the exception of the center lot which he planned to make into a church. With readily available land, some Polish families moved into the area and by 1917 there were enough to transform the center lot into St. John Gualbert’s parish. Named after Dean Pitass’ patron saint, St. John Gualbert’s would become the center point for the Poles living in the area.
Since the congregation was small, architect Wladyslaw H. Zawadzki presented the parish a simple church plan that was reminiscent of the original 1873 St. Stanislaus Church in Buffalo. To save money the school was attached to the back. For further savings on decorating the church, the walls of the interior were painted white so the stained glass could provide the color. With the parish fully established Father Peter Adamski was installed as the first resident pastor in 1918.
As Cheektowaga developed, so too did St. John Gualbert. In 1921 a large influx of Polish families moved into the area and forcing an addition to the school. By 1925, Father Adamski had 450 families in his care and needed help managing the church. Relief came for the priest when he was assigned first Father Bronislaus Kowalewski and then Father Vincent Cyman. When the school had to be added to for the second time, Father Adamski knew a large footprint would be needed for the parish.
On May 13, 1928, in front of a crowd of 4,000, ground was broken for a modern parish church. The Tudor Gothic inspired edifice with seating for 1,200 would cost the parish $200,000. One of the most striking features of the church is the stained glass. These windows of saints and blesseds were made by the S.G. Zelenski Studio of Krakow, Poland and are the only known set by the firm in the United States.
After a 2016 decree by Bishop Richard Malone, Saint John Gualbert Church is also a Diocesan Shrine now. The reason for the designation was the donation of over a 1100 religious relics by current pastor Father Michael H. Burzynski.
The church is also celebrating its 100th anniversary year.
We will have more details in the coming weeks on Mass Mob XXIII. Please share with your family and friends.
Here is our Facebook event page for the Mass Mob XXIII:
Here is Saint John Gualbert’s Facebook page:
Saint John Gualbert is located at 83 Gualbert Ave, Cheektowaga, NY 14211.