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The Polish community in Lemont dates back to the 1860s when Polish men began to work in the numerous stone quarries in the area. A number of these single men and later their families, became members of the German parish of St. Aiphonsus rather than the Irish parish of St. Patrick. Only one Polish parish, St. Stanislaus Kostka, then existed in Chicago and it appears that Rev. Adolph Bakanowski, CR, pastor of that parish, visited Lemont in 1871. The Polish community continued to increase as more immigrants settled in the area and by 1882 it included 240 families of Polish descent living in Lemont; 60 families from Joliet, IL; and an additional 100 families in Braidwood, IL (Braidwood and Joliet are now in the Joliet diocese.)

On Nov. 23, 1882, Archbishop Patrick A. Feehan authorized Rev. Leopold Maria Moczygemba, pastor of St. Alphonsus Church, to establish a Polish parish in Lemont. He sought land which would provide an ideal location for the new parish and found it in the property of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Murray who willingly sold the 20 acre parcel for $2,000. Father Moczygemba called the parish property "Jasna Gora," popularly known as "Blue Hill," and dedicated it to Our Lady of Czestochowa, the patron of his native Poland. Title to this section of land measuring 222' by 287' was transferred to the Catholic Bishop of Chicago on Jan. 8, 1884. The remainder of the property was subdivided into lots measuring 50' x 135' which were sold to parishioners at a cost of $50-100 per lot.

A general meeting of all parishioners was called for the first week in June 1883. With great enthusiasm it was decided to proceed immediately on the construction of a church and school at the corner of Sobieski and Czacki St. Families were assessed $10, $11, or $12 on the basis of their financial status. Bachelors, who made $1 a day in the quarries, contributed generously.

The contract for building a frame church and school was given to the James Helbig firm and the cornerstone of the new building was laid on Aug. 12, 1883. Built on a Lemont limestone foundation, the edifice measured 119' x 56'. The height of the outside wall was 25' and the interior height to the arched ceiling was 35' The church and choir loft had a seating capacity of 775 persons.

Father Moczygemba celebrated Mass in SS Cyril and Methodius Church for the first time on Palm Sunday, Apr. 6, 1884. On June 29, 1884, Rev. Leopold Moczygemba, the pastor's nephew, celebrated his first Mass in the new church. He remained as an assistant until 1887.

On Aug. 31, 1884, Archbishop Feehan traveled to Lemont where he dedicated the new Polish Catholic Church and confirmed 150 young people. Indicative of the interest taken by the Poles in their faith is the fact that about 900 persons received Holy Communion during a Mission and 40 Hours Devotion conducted by Rev. Constantine Domagalski of Cincinnati, Ohio from Sept. 5-10, 1884.

Following Father Moczygemba's appointment as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Elmhurst, IL (now in the Joliet diocese), Rev. Stanley Baranowski was named pastor in Lemont in October 1887, a post he retained until May 8, 1888. The next pastor, Rev. Joseph Barzynski, served from May to October 1888 when Rev. Martinian Mozejewski was named pastor. On Sept. 1, 1889, Rev. Candid Kozlowski, a former assistant at St. Josaphat Church in Chicago, began his work in Lemont.

On Mar. 3, 1894, The New World reported that:

The parish of SS Cyril and Methodius, Polish, is growing very large,
owing to the fact that many people of Slavic race work on the Drainage
Canal. The parish school is attended by 300 children. A new and expen-
sive pipe organ has been put in the church.

On Mar. 29, 1898, fire broke out in the store of Peter Madaj and a violent north wind carried the flames across the street, leveling the frame school. The pastor and his parishioners, under the direction of Frank Pacholski, build a new school of Lemont limestone donated by the owner of one of the many quarries located near town. The building, which contained living quarters for the Franciscan Sisters, was completed by the fall of 1899 at the southwest corner of Sobieski and Ledo St. On Oct. 7, 1899, The New World reported that SS Cyril and Medthodius school enrolled the most Catholic children in Lemont and that of the 260 children registered, "those pupils are in the lower grades, with few exceptions."

During the short pastorate of Rev. Ferdinand Scieszka (Dec. 1, 1910 to June 21, 1912), a central heating system was installed in the school and church and all the parish buildings were wired for electricity. Rev. M. C. Pyplatz, former pastor of the Polish parish of St. Joseph in Chicago, served as pastor from June 1912 until May 22, 1913, when Rev. Henry Jagodzinski was placed in charge. He came to Lemont from Chicago where he had been an assistant at St. Ann Church.

Since its organization, SS Cyril and Methodius school had only included grades one through four and at Father Jagodzinski's urging, all eight grades were established. The pastor also hired the well known Italian artist, Signor Giusti, to paint Scriptural scenes in oil on the walls of the church and this project was completed in May 1914.

In November 1921, the W. U. Gas company made gas available to all residents of the subdivision of "Jasna Gora." In January 1922, a ditch 2,000' long and 5' deep was excavated so that the residents could obtain their water supply from the lower town. A central drainage system was installed using 8" pipe, 896' in length, and this was connected to the Lemont disposal plant. To prevent the incessant erosion on top of the hill, residents built a wall 3' high and 287' in length on the east side, 222' on the west side.

At a meeting of all parish groups and organizations in July 1925 it was decided to build a new convent for the Felician Sisters who had been given charge of the school. The spacious Lemont limestone convent, completed at 614 Ledo St., was blessed on May 30, 1926 and the Sisters' former living quarters were converted into classrooms.

Tragedy struck the parish on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1928, when fire destroyed the church and rectory. Through the generosity of the people of nearby St. Patrick parish, the Polish Catholics attended Mass in the "Irish" church while Mrs. L. Hoinacki made her residence available to the pastor.

Father Jagodzinski commissioned the architectural firm of E. Brielmaier & Sons of Milwaukee, WI to draw up plans for a rectory and for a new church at the southeast corner of Sobieski and Czacki St. On Oct. 28, 1928, a contract was signed with the Local Construction Co. for this project, the cost of which was estimated at $177,000. Although the foundations and floor of the church had been laid by Dec. 14, 1928 severe winter weather interrupted further progress and it was not until Apr. 21, 1929 that the cornerstone of the church was laid. The new rectory at 608 Sobieski St. was ready for occupancy by July 31, 1929. Mass in the new brick church was celebrated for the first time on Jan. 1, 1930 and on May 30, 1930, the new organ was blessed.

The golden jubilee of SS Cyril and Methodius Church was celebrated on Apr. 8, 1934. In its first 50 years of existence, the parish had experienced periods of extensive growth, as well as times when development was retarded or delayed. The panics, depressions, and recessions which affected the country were also felt in Lemont. Other circumstances, peculiar to the locality, added to the difficulties of the priests and parishioners. Many of the earliest settlers who were not farmers were attracted to Lemont by the building of the Illinois & Michigan Canal and later the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Others found employment in the stone quarries in the vicinity. When the canal work was completed and when work in the quarries petered out, many families had to leave Lemont for Chicago and surrounding cities where employment opportunities were greater and varied. During all these years, in good times and bad, the priests preached the word of God, celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and administered the Sacraments and the Felician Sisters instructed generation after generation in the parish school.

At the time the Great Depression began, SS Cyril and Methodius parish had an enormous debt, the result of the building program conducted in the 1920s. Still, through the generosity of the parishioners, interest payments on the mortgage-as well as some of the principal-were paid.

In addition to his parish work, Father J