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St. Casimir's Parish
Polish National Catholic Church
268 Lakeview Avenue - Lowell, Massachusetts 01850 USA
Serving Lowell's Polish Community for Over 100 Years
The history of St. Casimir's Parish dates back to December 2, 1898 when people from various foreign lands came to Lowell to find work in the textile mills. Finding themselves in a strange country, whose language was unknown to most of them, the new immigrants sought to have something to remind them of their homeland, Poland. At this time the only source of communal life was the church, but because of the language barrier, the Polish people were unable to communicate with the priests assigned to fill their needs.
They saved their meager earnings for a Polish church, hoping that they would have a place where they could express Polish folkways and traditions. They wanted a place where they could help determine how monies given by them in support of their church could be spent. They wanted the properties to be in their hands. Because of a misunderstanding with their assigned priest as to the purpose of collecting funds, the people were soon disappointed. They would not be able to have an independent church where their ideas would be given some consideration. Because of this incident, the people involved turned their thoughts to Pennsylvania where an independent Catholic Church was being organized, in which they were better able to communicate and carry on the faith and traditions of their homeland in their adopted country.
St. Casimir's Catholic Church was organized on December 3, 1898. Its founders were the members of the oldest Polish organization in Lowell, St. Casimir's Men's Society, organized in November, 1898. In January, 1901 this parish was reorganized as St. Casimir's Polish National Catholic Church. The first Mass was said on Church Street in Lowell on March 23, 1901 by Father W. Szumowski and plans were made to erect a church building on Rogers Street. This edifice was blessed in July 1901. In 1909 this building was sold and we relocated to our present location on Lakeview Avenue. This edifice was consecrated on May 3, 1911.
Continuous expansion followed. In 1913, fifty acres were purchased for a cemetery and park in Pelham, New Hampshire. To insure proper care, a perpetual care fund was initiated. In 1972, a shrine was erected and blessed by Bishop Walter Slowakiewicz, Diocesan Ordinary.
In 1952 the exterior of the church was refurbished with red tapestry brick and the interior was renovated. In 1967, through the efforts and donations of its people, the parish erected and furnished a new parish center at a cost of approximately $200,000.
In 1968, an Improvement Committee was organized to hold public socials weekly, the proceeds of which would go toward the improvement of the parish. By 1972 enough money was raised to erect a new rectory costing $80,000. Over the years regular repairs and renovations have been carried out. Donations from church organizations and individuals have made it possible to install a carillon system, a new organ, a statue of the Resurrected Christ, stained glass doors for the church entryway depicting our patron Saint Casimir and our beloved founder, Bishop Francis Hodur, and a computer system for parish work and records.
Two sons of the parish have been ordained as priests of the Polish National Catholic Church, the Very Rev. Stanley Podgorni, Philadelphia, PA, and the Rev. Albert Tarka, now deceased.
The parish grew and expanded in membership under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Klimczak, pastor from 1965 to 1995 when he was called home by God.
Our current Pastor Fr. Andrzej Tenus joined St. Casimir's in December 2006 and has worked tirelessly to provide spiritual leadership and improve and grow the Parish.
Many faithful attend Mass regularly and there is an active Sunday School. The parish is energetic, with each organization sponsoring fund raisers and socials throughout the year.New members are always welcome.
We are thankful to our forefathers who had a vision of a church which allows people a chance to worship God in their own language, a church which offers democracy with a sense of responsibility, a church which offers and allows people a say in the administration of church property and control of same if maintained by them.