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Organized in 1924 as a Polish parish, St. Blasť Church
at 61st Pl. and 75th Ave. in Argo, Ill, was formed from the territorial
parish of St.
Joseph in Summit, IL The nucleus of the national parish of St. Blasé
was a mission which had been established in Argo in 1916 by Rev. Thomas
P. Bona, pastor of St. Joseph Church. Under Father Bona's leadership,
a brick combination building was constructed at 7438 W. 61st Pl. in Argo.
This structure, which was dedicated on Aug. 27, 1916, served as a school
of St. Joseph parish. When St. Joseph Church on Archer Ave. was destroyed
by fire in July 1918, the Catholics of Summit attended Mass in the basement
of the parish school in Argo.
On Mar. 5, 1924, Archbishop George W. Mundelein appointed Rev. Joseph
Sehnke "to the Rectorship of the parish of Summitt (sic), Illinois." The
Archbishop's letter contained information that
At present Summitt (sic) and Argo form one parish, and in the division
the present pastor of the combined parishes, Rev. S. Koralewski, will
relinquish Summit and retain pastorship of Argo. You will kindly arrange
with him to take up his residence in Argo as soon as convenient.
According to the 1924 annual report for St. Blasé parish, the congregation
in Argo numbered 296 families. A rectory had been constructed during
the year at
6101 S. 75th Ave. and three lots had been purchased for the use of the parish.
The following boundaries for St. Blasé Church were listed in the 1924 report:
North-the Indiana Harbor railroad tracks (at 59th St.). South-Willow Springs.
West-Drainage Canal. East-66th Ave. (Nashville Ave.) in Chicago. The nearest
Polish parish was St. Camillus, which had been established at 55th and Lockwood
The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth-who had staffed St. Joseph school-continued
their work among the children of St. Blasé parish. By 1925, 463 students
were enrolled. On July 18, 1927, The New World reported that St. Blasé parish
the necessity of a larger church. The locality is seventy-five
per cent mixed nationalities, still the parish is composed mostly of
people of Polish race
or extraction .... A large number of the people in this district
are employed in
the sugar refining industries at Clearing.
By 1928, the school building at 7438 W. 61st Pl. had been enlarged
and a convent had been completed at 7434 W. 61st Pl.
On Jan. 12, 1932, Father Koralewski was named pastor of St. Stanislaus
B. & M.
Church in Kankakee, 111. (now in the Joliet diocese). His successor at
St. Blasé Church was Rev. Valentine Belinski, a former assistant at St.
Pl. and Leavitt St. in Chicago.
During his short term as pastor, Father Belinski promoted the activities
of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). On May 16, 1936, he was
named pastor of St.
Roman Church in Chicago.
Rev. Henry Piepenkotter, a former assistant at St. Mary of Czestochowa
Church in Cicero, IL, served the people of St. Blasé Church from
May 1936 until
his death on Feb. 29, 1948 at the age of 58.
Rev. Joseph C. Mszanowski began his work in St. Blasé parish on
Apr. 24, 1948. He came to Argo from Chicago, where he had served
Church. Father Mszanowski directed a program of modernization which
included the enlargement
of the convent and the refurbishing of the school and basement
church. The parish hall was divided to provide more classrooms.
Following World War II, parish membership increased as Catholic
families moved to the Argo-Summit area. Enrollment in St. Blasé
grew steadily, reaching 716 students by 1955.
On Jan. 7, 1962, Father Mszanowski announced plans for a new church
and ground breaking ceremonies took place on Feb. 4, 1962. The
cornerstone of St. Blasé
Church was laid on Sept. 9, 1962. The cross-shaped edifice, designed
the architectural firm of Strelka, Tobolski & Strelka, was completed
at the northeast corner of 61st p1. and 75th Ave. at a cost of $485,000.
walls are brown
range brick with Indiana limestone trim. The edifice contains 17 stained
glass windows. The basement of the structure serves as the parish hail.
Aloysius J. Wycislo dedicated St. Blasé Church on June 30, 1963.
On June 7, 1964, Father Mszanowski celebrated a special Mass in
St. Blasé Church to observe the 50th jubilee of his ordination.
1966, he was
pastor emeritus. He died on June 24, 1967 at the age of 80.
Rev. Edward J. Radwanski, former pastor of St. Barbara Church in
Chicago, was appointed pastor of the church on March 4, 1966. He
directed the construction
of a new rectory at 6101 S. 75th Ave. in 1967 to replace the old
structure which had been built in 1924.
In the fall of 1972, Father Radwanski was named pastor emeritus.
He continues to reside in the parish rectory.
Rev. Elmer J. Ruszkowski was appointed pastor of St. Blasé Church
on Oct. 4, 1972. He came to Argo from North Chicago, IL, where
he had been associate
of Holy Family Church.
As a national parish, St. Blasé has no definite boundaries; its
members come from Argo, Summit, Bridgeview, Justice, Willow Springs,
as a Polish parish, the ethnic composition of the congregation
widened over the years to include families of many nationalities
and in recent
Spanish families have joined the parish. Of the approximately 950-975
belong to St. Blasé Church, 35-40% are Spanish. Each Sunday, one
Mass at St. Blasé Church is celebrated in Polish. A Spanish Mass
is held on the fourth
Sunday of every month. Attendance at this Mass is so great that
more Spanish Masses will be added to the schedule in the near future.
Among the societies which are still active in St. Blasé parish
are the Knights of Columbus, the St. Stanislaus Society, the Polish
Boga" Society, and the Rosary Ladies Sodality. These groups had their
origin in St. Joseph parish during the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Bona (19111921).
groups include the Mothers' Club, School Board, and Men's Club. St. Blasé
parish works with the Des Plaines Valley Community Center.
Enrollment in St. Blasé school now numbers 207 children under the
direction of four Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and five
Rev. Raymond M. Barlog is associate pastor of St. Blasé Church.
Rev. Hubert Kostrzanski, 0. Cist. assists at the Polish Mass on
and at the daily
From "A History of
the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago" - 1980
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.