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Holy Cross Parish Polish National Catholic Church

History of the PNCC and Holy Cross Parish

Beliefs & Principles
PNCC History
Weekly Bulletin
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Priest that have
served faithfully at
Holy Cross Parish
The Very Rev. Leopold Dabrowski 1935-1940
The Rev. Augustine Krause 1940-1943
The Rev. Leon Wiechec 1943-1944
The Rev. Francis Niemiec 1944-1947
The Rev. Jan Toporowski 1947-1950
The Rev. Valentine Grabek 1951-1953
The Rev. Paul Kozlowski 1953-1954
The Rev. Donald Kent Kulawasz 1954-1957
The Rev. Peter Styczynski 1957-1960
The Rev. Albert Pietras 1960-1961
The Rev. Michael Juszczec 1962-1963
The Rev. Donald Kent Kulawasz 1963-1964
The Rev. John Slagowski 1965-1969
The Rev. Stanley Loncola 1969-1983
The Rev. Walter Biedrawa 2000-2011
The Rev. Henry Smolinski 2011-2013
The Very Rev. Joseph Soltysiak 2013-Present

The PNCC Timeline below depicts events that shaped the formation of the church and is not meant to be an all inclusive history lesson.

Year Event
1866 Francis Hodur born in Zarki, Austrian-ruled Poland

1870 Vatican Council 1 - Dogma of Papal Infallibility proclaimed

Old Catholic Churches organize in Germany and Switzerland, linking with Dutch Old Catholics

1889 Declaration of the Union of Utrecht published

1890's Independent parishes and movements in Polish American Catholic Communities: (Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Scranton)

1893 Seminarian Francis Hodur comes to the United States, is ordained a priest at St.Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania and assigned as assistant priest at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Parish in Scranton's South Side.

1894 Fr. Hodur first pastor of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Parish in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.

1895 Founding of All Saints Independent (Old Catholic) Parish under Bp. Anthony Kozlowski who is consecrated by Old Catholics in 1897 in Chicago
Founding of Holy Mother of the Rosary Parish under Bp. Stephen Kaminski in Buffalo. He is consecrated by independent Abp. Joseph Rene Villate.

1896 Rioting by Sacred Hearts Parish parishioners, following a dispute over cemetery funds, parishioners want a say on parish property and funds

1897 Organization of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Parish in Scranton, March 14; March 21 first Mass celebrated by Fr. Hodur
Fr. Hodur's "Kosciol Narodowy" (National Church) program announced; Calling for:
1. Legal ownership of church properties
2. Parish government in secular matters by parish committees elected by the parishioners
3. Appointment to pastorates of priests approved by parishioners
4. Appointment of Polish Bishops in America by Rome with input by clergy and laity.
Weekly Straz (The Guard) is the quasi-organ of the program

1898 Fr. Hodur excommunicated ( He burns the excommunication document and throws its ashes in a nearby brook.)
In Straz Fr. Hodur challenged several Roman Catholic Church teachings including papal infallibility and supremacy

1900 At a December 16, meeting a decision is made by Fr. Hodur and his parishioners not to return to the Roman Catholic Church ( by then "Polish National" parishes had been organized in the later Priceburg (Dickson City), Plymouth, Duryea and Wilkes-Barre, all in Pennsylvania.

1901 First Mass celebrated in Polish on Christmas Day

1904 First General Synod of the Polish National Catholic Church held in September in Scranton. Its actions include:
1. A decisive break with the Roman Catholic Church
2. Election of Fr. Hodur as Bishop
3. Straz as official organ/newspaper
4. Election of a Great Church Council of clergy and laity
5. Adoption of a Church Constitution for the Church is adopted providing for Synods and a Great Church Council

1905 The Polish National Catholic Church's Seminary is founded; (It is later named Savonarola Theological Seminary)

1906 Continuation and conclusion of the First Synod - Two feast days instituted: Feast of Brotherly Love (Second Sunday in September) and Feast of the Humble Shepherds (First Sunday after Christmas)

1907 September 29th, Fr. Hodur is consecrated Bishop by Dutch Old Catholic Bishops in Utrecht, Holland (the Polish National Catholic Church has unquestionable orders and Apostolic Succession)
The Chicago - based independent movement in Chicago joins the Polish National Catholic Church after Bishop Kozlowski's death.

1908 The Polish National Union of America (Spójnia) fraternal insurance organization is founded by members of the Church

1908 saw the first Roman Catholic Polish Bishop in the United States (one year after Bp Hodur was consecrated)

1909 Second General Synod - The Word of God heard and preached is recognized as a sacrament. "Polish National Catholic Church of America" is underscored as its legal denominational name.

1911 Death of Bishop Kaminski (leader of the Buffalo-based independence movement) Many of its parishes join the Polish National Catholic Church

1913 Three Provincial Synods held (Wilkes-Barre, PA; Chicopee, MA; Passiac, NJ) to discuss the church's "Confession of Faith" written by Bp. Hodur

1914 Third General Synod of Polish National Catholic Church is held in Chicago. It adopts the "Confession of Faith" and institutes three new Feast Days: Feast of the Institution of the Polish National Catholic Church (2nd Sunday of March), Feast of the Fatherland (2nd Sunday in May), and the Feast of the Christian Family (2nd Sunday in October).

1921 Fourth General Synod of Polish National Catholic Church. It approves missionary activity to begin in Poland upon its regaining independence.
Symbol of Polish National Catholic Church adopted
-"Tyle lat" (Through the Years) adopted as church anthem
General Confession adopted churchwide with same validity as aural (private) confession
Mandatory clerical celibacy abolished
Fr. Francis Bónczak begins mission to Poland

1923 December - Rola Boza (God's Field) newspaper becomes the Church organ

1924 Fifth General Synod of Polish National Catholic Church
Three Dioceses formed: Eastern, Central and Polish.
Four Bishops elected and consecrated: (Valentine Gawrychowski, Francis Bonczak, Leon Grochowski, and John Gritenas) ( Bp Gritenas heads Lithuanian National Catholic and Bp Grochowski later heads the Western Diocese)
Bp Francis Hodur is Prime Bishop

1926 Great Church Council created the Western Diocese

1928 A Provincial Synod creates the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese and elects Fr. John Z Jasinski as its Bishop
First Synod of the Polish Diocese in Warsaw elects Fr. Wladyslaw Faron its bishop.

1930 Bishop Hodur wrote his Apocalypse - June 30, 1930
Bp. Faron consecrated in Scranton for the Polish Diocese.

1931 Sixth General Synod - Buffalo, Bishop Hodur laments the spiritual decline of the church feeling many saw the Polish National Catholic Church as just a copy of the Roman Catholic Church - He offers to step down as Prime Bishop. It affirms Polish National Catholic belief in:
The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and the role of the priest as minister of the sacrament of marriage (not as its witness as in Roman Catholic Church).
Mass facing the people is instituted in Scranton by Bp. Hodur Altar of Sacrifice introduced.

1935 Special Synod - Fr. John Misiaszek elected Bishop and consecrated. (He was to head the Central Diocese)
the administrative rank of Senior Priest is implemented.
Second Polish Synod is held in Warsaw. Fr. Joseph Padewski elected Bishop.

1935 Bishops Misiaszek and Padewski are consecrated

1936 Bp. Joseph Lesniak consecrated to head the Eastern Diocese by a Diocesan Synod

1939 Nazis force the Polish Diocese to break with the Polish National Catholic Church and call itself "Old Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht in the general Government." Bp. Padewski is in turn then returned to the United States via a 1944 internee exchange.

1946 Seventh General Synod - Intercommunion is established with the Episcopal Church

1947 Eighth General Synod
Prime Bishop Grochowski is elected to be second Prime Bishop

1951 Fr. Sr. Joseph Soltysiak elected Bishop of the Eastern Diocese by a Diocesan Synod - Bishop Soltysiak is consecrated and Manchester becomes its See.
Bp. Padewski dies while held in communist prison for trial. Polish Diocese breaks from the Polish National Catholic Church and is renamed Polish Catholic Church.

1953 Prime Bishop Francis Hodur dies on February 16th

1958 Ninth General Synod of Polish National Catholic Church - heated discussion about Mass in English
Fr. Srs. Thaddeus Zielinski and Joseph Kardas elected bishops and consecrated ( Bp. Zielinski for the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese, Bp. Kardas for the Western Diocese )

1958 Tenth General Synod
English language Mass is approved
Bishop Francis Rowinski elected and consecrated to head the Western Diocese after the death of Bp. Kardas

1963 Eleventh General Synod
The election of Fr. Senior Eugene Magyar by the Czech and Slovak National Catholic Parishes. Meeting is accepted and he is consecrated.
First National Youth Convocation held in Buffalo, NY

1967 Twelfth General Synod creates the Canadian Diocese with See in Toronto.
Fr. Seniors Anthony Rysz, Walter Slowakiewicz and Joseph Nieminski elected bishops and they are consecrated in 1968.

1969 Bishop Leon Grochowski dies while visiting Poland

1971 Thirteenth General Synod: Bishop Zielinski elected third Prime Bishop
Contemporary issues paper (abortion, birth control, war and drugs) discussed
Fr. Sr. Daniel Cyganowski elected Bishop and consecrated

1975 Fourteenth General Synod

1976 Intercommunion suspended with the Episcopal Church over issue of latter's ordaining women.

1978 Fifteenth General Synod
Bishop Francis Rowinski elected 4th Prime Bishop
Fr. Seniors Thomas Gnat, John Swantek and Joseph Zawistowski elected Bishops and consecrated.
Intercommunion with Episcopal Church terminated.

1982 Sixteenth General Synod

1984 Polish National Catholic Church begins dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church - hopes to end animosity between the two Churches and live in harmony with mutual respect for each others traditions, teachings and practices.

1985 Seventeenth General Synod
Bishop Swantek elected 5th Prime Bishop

1990 Eighteenth General Synod
Fr. Seniors Robert Nemkovich, Thaddeus Peplowski and Joseph Tomczyk elected Bishops
Bishop Peplowski consecrated
Journeying together In Christ: A Report of the Polish National Catholic Church-Roman Catholic Dialogue is published.

1993 Bishops Nemkovich and Tomczyk are consecrated

1994 Nineteenth General Synod

1995 May - 100th Anniversary of All Saints Cathedral Parish in Chicago, IL celebrated.
October - 100th Anniversary of Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral in Buffalo, NY celebrated

1997 100th Anniversary of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Parish of the Polish National Catholic Church
Special Masses of Thanksgiving celebrated in all Polish National Catholic Church dioceses.

1998 Twentieth General Synod

1999 Special Polish National Catholic Church Synod elects Fr. Srs. Casimir Grotnik and John Dawidziuk candidates for Bishop. They are consecrated later that year.

2002 Twenty-First General Synod
Bishop Robert M. Nemkovich elected as 6th Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church

2003 Journeying Together in Christ II: A Report of the Polish National Catholic Church - Roman Catholic Dialogue in updated version.

Key points about the Polish Catholic National Church:
The Polish National Catholic Church is a CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION,formed in 1897 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The church serves the spiritual needs of its members, but it welcomes all people who wish to follow Christ.
Today, there are more than 25,000 members in America.

Holy Cross Parish, National Catholic Church 723 Enfield Street Enfield, CT 06082