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Holy Trinity Church on the west side of Noble St. between Division St.
and Milwaukee Ave. had its beginning in St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, the
oldest Polish Catholic Church in Chicago.
The Polish community on the northwest side of Chicago was growing so rapidly
that in 1872, Rev. Adolph Bakanowski, CR, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church, called a meeting to decide whether the parish church - then located
at the corner of Noble and Bradley (Potomac Ave.) - should be enlarged
or whether a second church should be built.
The Society of St. Joseph was given permission to build a new church which
was constructed in 1873 on Noble St. near Chapin St. at a cost of $12,000.
The Society wanted to call the new church St. Joseph, but as there was
a large German parish in Chicago by that name, the title Holy Trinity was
Although Rev. Felix Zwiardowski, CR, fourth pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church, celebrated Mass in the new frame structure, he did not intend for
Holy Trinity to become a separate parish. In 1871, Bishop Thomas Foley
had placed the Resurrectionists in charge of all Polish missions and parishes
to be founded in the Chicago diocese in the next 99 years. Holy Trinity
was to remain a part of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish under the control
of the Congregation of the Resurrection.
Although 1873 is considered to be the founding date of Holy Trinity Church,
in reality, the parish was not established canonically until 1893. The
controversy which surrounded the organization of Holy Trinity parish profoundly
affected the Polish community in Chicago and throughout the United States.
In 1874, Rev. Vincent Barzynski, CR, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church,
announced his decision to build one large parish church and to use Holy
Trinity Church as a school or parish hail. This decision was opposed by
members of St. Joseph Society who not only considered Holy Trinity to be
their own church, but who also maintained a separate treasury.
In spite of this opposition, Father Barzynski-with the support of the St.
Stanislaus Kostka Society-directed the construction of the present church
of St. Stanislaus Kostka, the cornerstone of which was laid on July 1,
1877. In his study of the Resurrectionist Order, The First One Hundred
Years, 1866-1966, Rev. John Iwicki, CR, points to three distinct periods
in the 20 year controversy concerning Holy Trinity Church.
The first phase, 1875-1877, conditions were aggravated by the trustee struggle
over parish funds; the second phase, 1881-1889, centered itself on the
dispute concerning the title of ownership of the church property; the third
phase, 1889-1893, dealt with the dissension over the administrative personnel
of the parish.
Members of the St. Joseph Society had drawn up the deed to Holy Trinity
Church in the name of their group. This action was at odds with church
policy, which held that all property was to be vested in the Catholic
Bishop of Chicago, Corporation Sole. When members of the St. Joseph Society
to give up their treasury and to transfer the church's title to the Catholic
Bishop of Chicago, Bishop Thomas Foley closed the building in 1875. Undaunted,
a group of Poles asked Rev. Adalbert Mielcuszny to celebrate Mass and
hear their confessions. Father Mielcuszny was not affiliated with the
of the Resurrection; according to a contemporary account, he was born
in Wilkora, Poland, and emigrated to America in 1875.
Because Bishop Foley would not recognize him as the duly appointed pastor
of Holy Trinity Church, Father Mielcuszny appealed to the Sacred Congregation
of the Propaganda. As a result of his petition, Holy Trinity Church remained
open from March 1877 until June 1881.
New fuel was added to the controversy in Polonia following the organization
of the Polish National Alliance (PNA). The PNA was more nationalistically
oriented than the Polish Roman Catholic Union of American (PRCUA). Although
the PRCUA had its own elected president, the group maintained close ties
to the Resurrectionists. Indeed, Father Barzynski served as chaplain of
the PRCUA from 1874 until 1891.
The St. Joseph Society of Holy Trinity Church allied itself with the PNA.
In his history of the Resurrectionist Order, Father Iwicki noted:
Although the overwhelming majority of the members of the PNA were Catholic,
Father Barzynski and much of the Polish clergy had misgivings about
the organization . . . . In view of these differences, the 'Alliancists'
not accept Father Barzynski as their pastor for he was a 'Unionist'
and would not espouse their cause.
Father Mielcuszny died in the rectory of Holy Trinity Church on June
2, 1881. On hearing the news, members of Holy Trinity parish believed
the priest had been the victim of foul play. Fighting broke out between
supporters of Father Mielcuszny and members of St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church. However, the result of an inquest confirmed the opinion of two
that Father Mielcuszny had died of apoplexy.
On June 3, 1881, the Chicago Inter Ocean reported that;
Mielcuszny, a Catholic priest, somewhat more or less noted on account of
difficulties with the Bishop over church property, came home
from court where the case is pending, and within two hours after, he was
In recounting the part Father Mielcuszny had played in the Holy Trinity
struggle, the Inter Ocean noted:
By wise management he got the congregation and built a large parish building,
which is also clear. In purchasing the property the title was made out
in the name of the Bishop, the priest, and the parish. The Bishop refused
to accept the deed that way, and the priest, claiming that he had some
of his own money in the investment, refused to make any concessions. The
result was that six months ago he was suspended. Yet he continued his duties
as priest, and thus the breach was widened.
The priest feared the Bishop would unite his parish with that of St. Stanislaus,
close by, and his reason for keeping the property partly in his control
is thus explained. The cry of foul play undoubtedly grows out of these
Archbishop Patrick A. Feehan (who had succeeded Bishop Foley in 1880)
closed Holy Trinity Church following Father Mielcuszny's death. The edifice
closed until the spring of 1889, when trustees of Holy Trinity
Church reached an agreement with the Archbishop.
With the appointment of a Resurrectionist priest, Rev. Simon Kobrzynski
as pastor of Holy Trinity Church, it appeared as though the long struggle
had come to an end. However, the issue of ownership of parish property
once again surfaced.
On June 15, 1889, Archbishop Feehan met with Father Kobrzynski and gave
him a letter which was to be read at all Masses on Trinity Sunday, June
16. In pertinent part, the letter stated:
You, as pastor, will take entire charge of its [Holy Trinity Church]
affairs, both spiritual and temporal. You will take charge and care of
to the church. The people will pay to you, or to an agent appointed
by you, all church money, pew rents, etc. You will pay all expenses.
appoint a committee of three to five to assist you as you may
direct, to be approved by the Archbishop. The members of the committee
must be practical
Catholics and contributors to the support of the church.
When the parish trustees refused to step down, Archbishop Feehan forbade
Father Kobrzynski from celebrating Solemn High Mass at Holy
Trinity Church. As the priest announced the Archbishop's decision on
Sept. 1, 1889, he
was hissed by members of the congregation. Fearing for his
safety, he left the church and took refuge in a neighbor's home, and
later at St. Stanislaus
Kostka Church. In its account of this outbreak, the Inter
Ocean shed new light on the controversy at Holy Trinity Church. It reported
The church property covers four city lots, Nos. 536,
538, 540, and 542 Noble St., located just back of the new power
on Milwaukee Ave. When the lots were purchased they were acquired
for the figurative 'song.'
Since that day the property has greatly appreciated in value. The trustees
of the church, two years after the erection of the edifice, deeded the
entire property to Archbishop [sic] Foley. The latter, in turn, turned
the property over to his successor, Archbishop Feehan. Eight months ago,
when the realty was reinsured, the trustees made the policies payable to
themselves. This aroused the indignation of the archdiocese, and the Church
of the Holy Trinity was threatened with excommunication.
In the face of such opposition, Father Kobrzynski resigned
his post in September 1889, and Holy Trinity Church
was closed for
In its report of a theft of two gold chalices from
Holy Trinity Church on Dec. 20, 1890, the Chicago Tribune
commented: "There is war again
between St. Stanislaus' Polish Church and its neighbor
of the same denomination, the Church of the Holy Trinity." According
to the Tribune, members of Holy Trinity Church attributed
theft to a
rival faction at
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
The bitter conflict at Holy Trinity Church was not resolved at the diocesan
level: rather, the trustees of the parish took their case to Rome. Monsignor
Francis Satolli, the Vatican's Apostolic Delegate, settled the long-standing
controversy in June 1893 during a visit to the World's Fair in Chicago.
On June 10, 1893, The New World reported that:
During his stay, Monsignor Satolli with the consent and approval of Archbishop
Feehan, received a delegation of Polish Catholics representing
the church of St. /Holy/ Trinity, which has been under interdiction for
The delegation desired the removal of this interdiction
and the Apostolic Delegate promised to grant their prayer on condition
that the church and
congregation be affiliated with the parish of St. Stanislaus;
that the title to the church property be fixed according to the archdiocesan
that obedience to Archbishop Feehan be unqualified,
and that the pastor appointed by him be accepted. Compliance with these
conditions was promised.
Following a Mass at Holy Trinity
Church on June 5, 1893, the Apostolic Delegate left Chicago the next
day for South Bend,
IN, where he asked the Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Cross
to appoint a priest to
take care of Holy Trinity Church. When the Holy
Cross Fathers assumed charge, Holy Trinity Church was established as
parish and its title
was transferred to the Catholic Bishop of Chicago.
Ironically, after 82 years, Holy Trinity Church was again placed under
the direction of the
Rev. Valentine Czyzewski, CSC, travelled from South Bend, IN, to Chicago
to celebrate Mass for the people of Holy Trinity
Church on June 11, 1893. On June 13, 1893, Dziennik Chicagoski (The Polish
Daily News) reported
that Holy Trinity Church would be reopened to the
public under the following conditions:
1. The church property will, without any question whatever, be the property
of the Archbishop.
2. The parish will make a detailed statement of the debts on the property
and present this to the Archbishop.
3. An exact list of the members of Holy Trinity parish, with their full
names and addresses, must be made.
4. The directors of the parish will include members of the Holy Cross Brotherhood
On June 17, 1893, Rev. Casimir Sztuczko, CSC, began his long pastorate.
Under his leadership, Holy Trinity parish became a center of Polish life
in Chicago and it played an important role in the development of Polish
Father Sztuczko was born in Miroslaw, Poland, on Feb. 28, 1867. After emigrating
to America at the age of 15, he entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross
in South Bend, Ind. Following his ordination in 1891, he served as an assistant
at St. Hedwig Church in South Bend until his appointment as pastor of Holy
Due to the efforts of the Sisters of the Holy
Family of Nazareth - who had organized Holy
in 1887 - and the
Brothers of the
Holy Cross, a larger grammar school soon was
needed in the parish. On May 26, 1894, The
New World reported
in the parish residence under the direction
of the Holy Cross Brothers and that: "The
girls and small boys are instructed by the
convent nearby, on
 west Division
assisted by young ladies."
Archbishop Feehan visited Holy Trinity parish
for the first time on May 31, 1894. The New
the societies turned out in procession with
banners and flags flying,
Holy Church and met their beloved Archbishop
at the river and escorted him to
The cornerstone of Holy Trinity school was laid on June 10, 1894. The three
story brick building on Noble St., constructed at a cost of $30,000, contained
12 classrooms and a large hail. On Feb. 3, 1895, the newly refurbished
church was blessed by Rev. Stanislaus Fitte, CSC, a professor of philosophy
at Notre Dame
University. The ceremony included an address by Michael Majewski, treasurer
of 10, the Polish National Alliance.
No sooner had the people of Holy
Trinity begun to work with Father Sztuczko
at the difficult task of building up their parish when another major
crisis split the Polish
community on the northwest side of Chicago.
The controversy involved the people of St. Hedwig parish who had rallied
behind an assistant and
priest, Rev. Anton Kozlowski, in his attempts
to become pastor. On Feb. 7, 1895, nearly 200 women stormed St. Hedwig
rectory at 2226 N. Hoyne
Ave. and threatened the newly appointed pastor,
Rev. Joseph Gieburowski, CR. Archbishop Feehan was forced to close St.
Hedwig Church on Feb. 8,
1895. The church was opened and closed three
more times during the next few
In May 1895, Father Kozlowski formed his own
congregation of All Saints 1905 and on June
16, 1895 he celebrated
store at Lubeck (now Dickens) Ave. near Hoyne
Ave. On Aug. 11, 1895, he
laid the cornerstone of his independent church,
located at 2023 W. Lubeck
Ave. In September 1895, Archbishop Feehan excommunicated
Father Kozlowski when he refused to stop had
organizing All Saints
Church. Not only
did the majority of the people of St. Imma
Hedwig parish approve of Father
Kozlowski's actions, but he seems to have
gained support from other segments of the Polish
report of the dedication of All Saints Church
on Nov. 10, 1895, claim Dziennik
Chicagoski reported that: "It is with
regret that we make note of the fact that besides
two societies of the In Polish National Alliance
and a portion of a Polish military organization
part in this
Sztuczko, as pastor of a congregation which
included PNA members, lost no time in condemning
church. He and four members of the parish committee
of Holy Trinity Church
a series of resolutions on Nov. 10, 1895 which
stated, in part: "That
we have not authorized anyone to show sympathy for the Independent
Church, and we not only do not favor the movement but we are definitely
opposed to it." Although most the families
who initially supported Father Kozlowski eventually
Hedwig parish, the schismatic church of All
Saints continued in
parish it is the headquarters of the Polish
National Catholic Church in the
Western parish Diocese. By 1900, another schismatic
church, Transfiguration, was in operation
on Division St. near Noble St., midway
between Holy Trinity Church and St. Stanislaus
jubilee of Holy Trinity parish was celebrated
on June 5, 1898. According to the Chicago Times:
A feature of the celebration was the
parade, in which about 4,000 members of Polish societies took
part. The church edifice was decorated Father with American and Polish
and green boughs. At open air meetings Aid patriotic speeches were
made and a choir sang Polish national airs. Most of the Polish
of Chicago assisted in the celebration outside and complet within
the church . . . . The church is now prosperous. For thirteen years
Qn. prior to 1893
it was closed.
Eight years after Holy Trinity Church
had been reopened under the direction of the Holy Cross Fathers,
New World published a history of "The Polish (Polish. Element in Chicago." Significantly,
the history of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish Holy which appeared on
Apr. 14, 1900 made no mention of the Resurrectionists' role Paris in
of Holy Trinity parish. Nor was reference made in the Holy and Trinity
account to the 20 year controversy which surrounded the organization
of derer, the parish.
In 1903, 513 boys and 427 girls were enrolled
in Holy Trinity school. On Jan. 10, 1903, The
New World reported that "even with the frame
building which was secured for extra class rooms for this session, the
accommodations still are insufficient for the number of pupils
enrolled during the past week."
When Cardinal Satolli visited
Chicago on July 9-14, 1904, he returned to Holy Trinity Church
where he was greeted by thousands of Poles waving Vatican and American
flags. He found a flourishing parish which had outgrown its original
On Oct. 15, 1905, The New World reported that: "Plans
are being drawn up for the proposed new church to be erected on
the site now occupied by the old building."
of the present Holy Trinity Church was laid on June 25, 1905 by
Archbishop James E. Quigley, assisted by Archbishop Albion F. Symon
of Poland. The magnificent Romanesque structure was built "on Noble
opposite Chapin Street" at a cost of more than $200,000.
On Oct. 7, 1906, Archbishop Quigley dedicated the imposing edifice which
had been designed by William Krieg. Rev. Francis M. Wojtalewicz,
pastor of St. Immaculate Conception Church in South Chicago and the first
priest to be ordained from Holy Trinity Church, delivered the sermon
A history of the parish which appeared in The New World of
Dec. 15, 1906 , claimed that about 1,300 families belonged to the parish
and that 1,300 children the were enrolled in the school.
the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth moved into a new convent at
1112 N. Noble St. Property adjacent to the rectory was purchased and
on Sept. 8, 1910, Holy Trinity high school opened under the direction
of the Brothers of the Holy Cross. The school was so popular that
before long, larger quarters were needed.
On Aug. 25, 1912, the old
Kosciuszko public school at the southwest corner of Division and Cleaver
St. was rededicated as Holy Trinity high school. This structure had been
built in 1875. The former high school building at 1116 N. Noble St.
became the residence of the Holy Cross Brothers.
On Sept. 20, 1913, The
New World reported that: "While the schools of the parish have been
greatly developed and the church beautified, the priests of the parish
have been living over a store in the vicinity." On Mar. 19, 1914,
Auxiliary Bishop Paul P. Rhode dedicated the 31 room rectory which had
been completed at a cost of $41,000 at 1118 N. Noble St. on the site
of the original parish residence.
A new grammar school was built at 1135
N. Cleaver St. to accommodate the growing number of school age children
in the parish. The cornerstone of the new building was laid on July 16,
1916. The day also marked the 25th anniversary of Father Sztuczko's ordination.
Archbishop George W. Mundelein dedicated the grammar school on Sept.
2, 1917. The structure, which contained 34 classrooms and an auditorium,
had been completed at a cost of $280,000.
On June 9, 1918, the people
of Holy Trinity parish celebrated the 25th anniversary of the reopening
of their church under the direction of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
In its account of the celebration, Dziennik Zwiazkowy (Polish Daily Zgoda)
reminded its readers that:
Holy Trinity is regarded everywhere as the
'Polish National Alliance Parish' because its members are nearly all
members of that organization, and it was these people who participated
in throngs in this rare church ceremony. The entire Central Administration
of the Polish National Alliance attended the Mass, celebrating not
only the church occasion but the national ideal which today permeates
strata of our society.
After all, Holy Trinity Church was reopened as a result
of the efforts of Alliance members under the leadership of Francis
H. Jablonski, former editor-in-chief of Dziennik Zwiazkowy and one-time
president of the Polish National Alliance, who, together with [Joseph]
Grajczyk, still living today, journeyed to Rome and explained the
situation properly, as a result of which the Pope authorized Cardinal
[sic] Satolli to reopen the church; this was done twenty-five years
On June 11, 1922, Archbishop Mundelein presided at the golden jubilee
of the founding of Holy Trinity Church. At the time, more than
50 societies were in existence. By 1923, Holy Trinity grammar
school with its enrollment
of 3,133 students was the largest parish school in the Archdiocese
In 1925, 285 girls were enrolled in Holy Family Academy. Larger
quarters were needed and so a modern four story building was erected
northwest corner of Division St. and Cleaver St. Completed according
to the plans of architect Henry J. Schiacks, it was dedicated on
May 1, 1927.
After an extensive fund raising campaign, a new Holy Trinity high
school was opened in September 1928 at 1443 W. Division St. The
brick structure, designed by the architectural firm of Slupowski & Piontek
with accommodations for more than 1,000 students, was dedicated by
Cardinal Mundelein on Oct. 28, 1928.
By 1930, the membership of Holy Trinity parish numbered 15,194
persons with 2,406 students enrolled in the grammar school and
265 young men
in the high school.
On July 20, 1941, Father Sztuczko observed the 50th anniversary
of his ordination. On June 20, 1943, Archbishop Samuel A. Stritch
at the golden jubilee anniversary of the reopening of Holy Trinity
Church (in 1893) under the direction of the Holy Cross Fathers.
A new faculty residence for the Brothers of the Holy Cross was
dedicated by Cardinal Stritch on Apr. 24, 1949. The brick structure,
at 1110 N. Noble St., had been completed at a cost of $220,000.
Father Sztuczko's pastorate at Holy Trinity parish spanned 56 years.
He died on Aug. 12, 1949 at the age of 82.
On Sept. 23, 1949, Rev. Stanislaus Lisewski, CSC, was appointed
to succeed Father Sztuczko. As a young boy, Father Lisewski had
Holy Trinity grammar and high school, and since July 1949, he had
assisted Father Sztuczko in the running of Holy Trinity parish.
In 1956, the Sisters' convent at 1112 N. Noble St. was declared
structurally unsafe and had to be razed. Until their new quarters
at 1125 N. Cleaver St. in April 1959, the Sisters resided at St.
Mary of Nazareth hospital at Division and Leavitt St.
On Nov. 10, 1957, many families in Holy Trinity parish learned
that their homes were to be razed to make way for the Northwest
As families moved away from the parish, the school enrollment declined,
from 850 pupils in 1958 to 590 by 1962.
In 1960, repairs on the school building were completed at a cost
of $72,470. On July 17, 1960, the ownership of Holy Trinity high
passed from the parish to the Brothers of the Holy Cross.
On Nov. 5, 1960, the Northwest (now the John F. Kennedy) expressway
was opened from Lake St. to Foster Ave. It cut through the heart
of the Polish neighborhood known as Trojcowo (Holy Trinity) and
(St. Stanislaus Kostka).
The 90th anniversary of the founding of Holy Trinity Church was
celebrated on June 23, 1963. In 1964, Father Lisewski was named
to the Provincial
staff in South Bend, Ind. He died on June 10, 1972 following a
Rev. Bernard Niemier, CSC-who had served as an assistant at Holy
Trinity Church from 1939 to 1940 and again from 1941 to 1946-was
pastor on July 12, 1964. During his pastorate, the Noble Square
Cooperative was built just east of the church on land which included
part of the
school playground. At the time, the parish acquired land for its
present parking lot. The Noble Square Development, completed in
1968, was privately
financed; it contains 481 townhouses and apartments.
Father Niemier continued to serve Holy Trinity parish until ill
health forced him to resign his pastorate in July 1971. He resided
Cross House at the University of Notre Dame until his death on
Mar. 11, 1975 at the age of 64.
Rev. Casimir Czaplicki, CSC, was appointed pastor on July 20, 1971.
A graduate of Holy Trinity high school, he had been associate pastor
of the parish since 1953.
Under Father Czaplicki's leadership, plans were made for the 100th
anniversary of the founding of Holy Trinity Church, which was celebrated
on June 17, 1973.
At its meeting on June 3, 1974, the Archdiocesan School Board approved
the closing of Holy Trinity grammar school. The few children who
had been enrolled were accepted at nearby parochial schools. The
building at 1135 N. Cleaver St. is now used by parish clubs for
meetings. The former convent at 1125 N. Cleaver St. houses the
for the Deaf and Blind.
In 1974, Rev. William M. Lewers, CSC, Provincial of the Congregation
of the Holy Cross, notified John Cardinal Cody that due to a lack
of Polishspeaking personnel, his community no longer would be able
serve Holy Trinity parish. On July 1, 1975, the administration
of Holy Trinity parish reverted to the Resurrectionist Fathers,
who had celebrated
Mass in the first church of Holy Trinity when it was opened in
1873. The Brothers of the Holy Cross continue to staff Holy Trinity
Following his retirement as pastor, Father Czaplicki took up residence
at St. Joseph Church at 48th and Hermitage Ave. on the south side
Rev. Casimir V. Polinski, CR, a former pastor of St. Stanislaus
Kostka Church, served as administrator of Holy Trinity Church from
until December 1978. He was then assigned as associate pastor of
St. Hyacinth Church.
On Jan. 3, 1979, Rev. Casimir Tadla, CR, was named pastor. A native
of Cudahy, WI, he attended St. Stanislaus Kostka grammar school
and Weber high school in Chicago. Following his ordination in 1948,
served in Resurrectionist parishes in Maryland, New York, California,
and Florida. Father Tadla returned to Chicago from Kitchener, Ontario,
Canada, where he had been pastor of Sacred Heart Church.
In recent years, large numbers of Spanish families have moved into
the neighborhood. Still, Holy Trinity remains a thoroughly Polish
parish, 100% of its members being of Polish birth or descent. Of
the 900 families
who now belong to the national parish of Holy Trinity, 98% live
outside the immediate neighborhood. On Sundays and Holy Days of
despite inconveniences of weather and long distance, Polish families
return to Holy Trinity Church. On weekends, two Masses are celebrated
in Polish and two in English. Two Masses in Polish are celebrated
Active parish organizations include the Ladies' Rosary Guild, Holy
Name Society, Apostleship of Prayer, and Ladies' Auxiliary. Holy
Trinity Church is a member of the Northwest Conservation Organization
and the Community 21 Project.
From "A History of the Parishes of the Archdiocese
of Chicago" - 1980
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.