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Good Shepherd Church at 28th and Kolin ave. was established
in 1907 to serve Polish families who had settled south of Ogden ave.
of Crawford ave. (now Pulaski Rd.). The parish was formed from a portion
of St. Mary of Czestochowa Church at 30th St. and 48th Ct. in Cicero,
IL, and from part of St. Casimir Church at 22nd and Whipple St. in Chicago.
After the turn of the century, the South Lawndale neighborhood developed
rapidly. In 1902, the Douglas Park branch of the Metropolitan West Side
Elevated Railway was built to Pulaski rd. and by 1907, it had been extended
to Cicero ave. In 1903, the Western Electric Company was relocated from
its Loop location at Congress and Clinton St. to 22nd and Cicero Ave.
in Hawthorne (now Cicero), IL.
Efforts at organizing this national parish began in 1906 when a group
of Poles met at Biesiada's Inn at 2801 S. Kostner Ave. A committee was
formed and its members presented a petition for a parish to Archbishop
James E. Quigley. The Archbishop did not give his immediate approval;
instead, he encouraged the committee to return to the neighborhood and
to begin house-tohouse collections for a church. For the next year, these
energetic laymen raised money among the 100 Polish families who had settled
in the area and in 1907, Archbishop Quigley officially established Good
Shepherd parish. He also granted a loan of $4,000.
In June 1907, the Archbishop appointed Rev. Alexander Jung as pastor
of the new parish while retaining his duties as pastor of St. Mary of
Gostyn Church in Downers Grove, IL. (now in the Joliet diocese). For
nearly a year, he commuted each Sunday from his country parish to the
city via the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. Ten lots on the
2700 block of S. Kolin Ave. were purchased for the new parish. With the
assistance of Rev. Adalbert Furman, pastor of St. Casimir 4 parish, a
frame hail was acquired from a Swedish Protestant congregation and this
structure was moved on rollers from 28th and Kostner Ave. to 28th and
Kolin Ave. For the next five years, this building served as Good Shepherd
Church. The new national parish was located within the boundaries of
the territorial (English-speaking) parish of Epiphany which had been
established in 1901 at 25th and Keeler Ave. In 1908, Father Jung was
relieved of his Downers Grove parish and he turned his attention to organizing
Polish Catholics who lived at the western edge of the city. In 1910,
the Felician Sisters opened a parish school in a portion of the frame
church. Under Father Jung's leadereship, the present rectory was constructed
in 1912 at 2719 S. Kolin Ave. At the same time, a combination church, convent,
and school structure was built at 2733 S. Kolin Ave. This brick building, which
still serves as the school, was completed according to plans drawn up by the
architectural firm of Worthmann & Steinbach. Following the opening of the
new quarters. The old frame ediface was turned Into a parish hail.
After the United States declared war on Germany on Apr. 6, 1917, Camp Fort Dodge
was established in the 2600 block of Kostner Ave. and Camp Grant was opened in
the 2700 block of Kostner Ave. With so many men stationed in the army camps,
area businesses thrived and parishioners enjoyed the nightly concerts sponsored
by the Army Band.
Father Jung continued to serve as pastor until his death on Oct. 19, 1918; he
was a victim of the influenza epidemic which took thousands of lives in Europe)
and the United States.
On Nov. 4, 1918, Rev. Francis J. Wojciechowski was appointed pastor of Good Shepherd
Church. Prior to this assignment, he had served as pastor of Transfiguration
parish on the city's north side.
In 1919, Father Wojciechowski directed the construction of a third story to the
parish school which increased the number of classrooms from four to ten. By 1925,
264 students were enrolled under the direction of six Felician Sisters.
Although a building fund for a new church was begun in April 1932, only a small
sum was raised during the Depression years. The silver jubilee of the founding
of Good Shepherd parish was celebrated on June 26, 1932; at the time, 600 families
belonged to the parish.
Following Father Wojciechowski's death on Dec. 18, 1943 at the age of 64, Rev.
Alois P. Szczerkowski was appointed pastor. He came to Good Shepherd parish in
January 1944 from Chicago Heights, IL., where he had served as pastor of St.
Joseph Church. Father Al, as he liked to be called, was appointed a Domestic
Prelate with the title Right Reverend Monsignor in August 1957. He was the first
American-born priest assigned to head this parish.
At the time of the 50th jubilee of Good Shepherd parish, which was celebrated
on Apr. 27, 1958, 1,000 families belonged to the parish and 428 children were
enrolled in the school.
To provide modern living quarters for the Felician Sisters, Msgr. Szczerkowski
directed the construction of a convent at 2735 S. Kolin Ave., on the site of
the old frame meeting hall. For years, the nuns had resided at 2724 S. Kolin
Ave. in a house which had belonged to the Thomas Napolski family. The spacious
new convent was dedicated on Sept. 24, 1961.
Following Msgr. Szczerkowski's death on Oct. 19, 1963 at the age of 72, Rev.
Anthony A. Ziober was appointed pastor. Prior to this assignment, he had served
as an assistant at the Polish parish of SS. Peter and Paul.
Under Father Ziober's leadership, plans for a new church were finalized. On Dec.
3, 1967, ground at the northeast corner of 28th and Kolin ave. was broken and
Mass in the new structure was celebrated for the first time on Christmas Eve
1968. Chester Tobolski designed the modern brick edifice which was dedicated
in imposing ceremonies on Nov. 23, 1969 by John Cardinal Cody.
Although school enrollment had been as high as 444 students in 1965, only 335
children were enrolled by 1973. This drop in enrollment came at the same time
that costs of operating a parish school increased.
Following Father Ziober's death on May 19, 1974, Rev. Norbert J. Lulinski was
appointed administrator. Father Lulinski was well acquainted with the parish,
having served as associate pastor since 1962.
Since its founding, Good Shepherd has been a national parish serving Polish families
who live in the territory bounded by Ogden ave. on the north; the Sanitary and
Ship Canal on the south; the railroad tracks at Cicero Ave. on the west; and
Central Park Ave. on the east. Of the 900 families who now belong to
the parish, 25% are Hispanic. In 1978, 274 children were enrolled in the parish
school under the direction of five Felician Sisters and five lay teachers.
Under Father Lulinski's leadership, the religious education program for Catholic
children enrolled in public schools has been updated and a children's liturgy
has been initiated. The pastor works with any group that aims at bringing the
parish community together; to this end, the parish auditorium has been opened
up for meetings of neighborhood civic groups. Active parish organizations include
the Good Shepherd School Board, Holy Name Society, Mothers' Club, Rosary Guild,
Ushers' Club, and Lectors' Club.
Rev. Alexander Krzywosz is associate pastor. Stanley Cebrzynski, the first permanent
deacon to be ordained from the parish, now serves at Mercy hospital.
From "A History of
the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago" - 1980
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.