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Holy Lorain, Part 1 - Last Masses at Saint Stanislaus (1908-2009)

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Holy Lorain, Part 1 – Last Mass at Saint Stanislaus (1908 – 2009)


This weekend marked the last Masses at my home parish of Saint Stanislaus in Lorain.  My great grandparents signed the original petition that led to the founding of the parish.  My grandparents were married there in 1920; my uncle said his first Mass as a Catholic priest there in 1957; my parents were married there in 1967; and I was baptized there in 1970.


Polish-Catholics first settled near East 28th Street and Elyria Avenue in Lorain, Ohio during the last half of the nineteenth century and celebrated Mass at nearby Holy Trinity and Nativity Parishes.  Responding to the community’s petitions for its own parish, Bishop Ignatius F. Horstmann assigned Father Joseph Tomecki in February of 1908 the task of organizing a new Polish Catholic community.  In August, St. Stanislaus Parish welcomed its first pastor, Father J. S. Zybura, under whose direction it established a school and staffed it with teachers from the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help of St. Louis and later the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.  The following year, the community completed work on its first building, which served as both a church and school.  After Father Zybura’as departure in 1911, the parish welcomed three short-term pastors.


Under the supervision of its next pastor, Father Francis Duda, St. Stanislaus Parish grew, erecting a convent and rectory.  In 1932, his last year as pastor, Father Duda supervised plans for the construction of a new church.  As the Great Depression worsened, the parish abandoned the project.  Five years later, however, Father Leo Rygwalski revived the plans, submitting preliminary sketches to the Diocese.  In June 1939, Monsignor A. A. Radecki blessed the site for the new church.  Construction of the building proceeded quickly, allowing Aux. Bishop James A. McFadden to bless the church on June 16, 1940.  A Romanesque brick and sandstone structure, the new St. Stanislaus Church includes two towers and a worship space capable of seating 600 persons.  With the completion of the church, the original structure was converted into classrooms and a recreational hall.

- As published in the parish 75th anniversary memorial program (1983)














Cornerstone inscription in Latin:



And in Polish:



The 1909 building:



Now a teen center and a

“Credit Recovery Academy” whatever that is.



Another cornerstone:





Mary shrine out by the garage:



Plaques in the vestibule:



Note to plaque-orderers - always leave room for the next guy:



A Polish hymn to set the mood:

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.


Serdeczna Matko

Polish Lyrics

Serdeczna Matko, Opiekunko ludzi

Niech Cie płacz sierót do litości wzbudzi!

Wygnańcy Ewy, do Ciebie wołamy,

Zlituj się, zlituj, niech się, nie tułamy.



Beloved Mother, protector of the people

Have compassion on the cries of orphans:

Eve's banished children, we implore you

Care for us, care! Do not let us wander.


About an hour before Mass:





Altar candleholders were donated by my family in 1989 in memory of my grandparents.  Now, if I want them back, I have to look for them on www.church-inventory.com - No joke.







Wrapped in plastic just like the furniture at Grandma’s house:







Ceiling detail of the four archangels:





Statues and icons:





The Big “J”:



Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa:



St. Adalbert (ouch!)



Stained glass:























Idzie w pokoju/Go in peace:





Bonus shots of the surrounding neighborhood…

Dovin Funeral Home:



Former National Pharmacy, new home of Iglesia de Dios:





The retail strip used to have a dentist, florist, butcher shop, hardware store, and more:



New windows but little else:



Iglesia Pentecostal Casa de Dios Puerta del Cielo and former Falencki’s Hardware:



Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła,

Kiedy my żyjemy...


Our Poland has not yet perished

So long as we still live…




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A beautiful and certainly touching tribute. Sorry to see the church close.  It must be difficult for you and your family, with generations tied to it. 


The closing of ethnic churches as neighborhoods change has devastated many communities.  That seems not to enter into the picture at all....seems especially heartless to me.  The whole idea is to transcend dollars and cents, isn't it? 




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It's sad when so much history falls by the wayside, victim to changing lifestyles and the tendency of younger generations to migrate far from their ancestral roots. The old parishes were created and sustained by so much devotion, and they were anchors in their communities.


The Cambria City area of Johnstown, PA, has been hit particularly hard, with an edict that five parishes be consolidated into one. Some of the buildings affected are significant historic landmarks and imposing in scale and design.

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thz for sharing, this is very sad to see, particularly as i have been working on threads about greenpoint brooklyn, a thriving polish immigrant neighborhood. that area in lorain was once obviously a thriving and busy neighborhood, even in my own lifetime. the older folks gray hair in the pews says it all, the writing has long been on the wall that there would have to be closures and consolidation for lorain's ethnic churches.

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sad to say that neighborhood has pretty much already collapsed. even sadder, i expect more to come. the old heavily industrial city just can't reinvent itself fast enough to stem this kind of thing.

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I'm a fellow Lorainite, born there in 1964. My family were long-time parishioners of St. Stan's, back to my grandparents, who--I had always been told--were among the founding families of the parish. 

That's what prompts me to write to you.

Would you be willing to share a larger version of the photo you took of the plaque listing the honor roll families? I'd love to see if my grandparents or other family members are listed. 


If you're willing, I'd also appreciate a copy of the plaque listing the pastors. I was in the Fr. Leo, Fr. Ray, and Fr. Frank era, though my parents attended until the diocese closed the church. 


Thank you for considering. 


Best regards,

Mary Ann Leonard


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^ Welcome FeralChicken, 

I'll offer you a quick tip: If you're trying to reach out to another member an easy way to do it is by placing @ directly in front of their forum name.

So for example:   @buckeye1  there is a new member @FeralChicken trying to reach out to you.

This should send notifications to both of you. 

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