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Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at Byron St. and Spaulding Ave, was organized
in 1912 to serve approximately 300 Polish families who lived in the
Irving Park district on the northwest side of Chicago. On Aug 27,
1911, 114 men and women signed a petition requesting Archbishop James
E. Quigley to establish a national parish. The Archbishop took the
matter under consideration and in June 1912, he appointed Rev. Raymond Appelt, a former assistant at St. Josaphat Church, to begin the work
of organizing Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. The people founding
the new parish formerly belonged to St. Josaphat Church and they
were, for the most part, Kashubes-Poles who had lived under Prussian
domination in their homeland.
Until a permanent church building could be constructed, the young pastor
celebrated Mass in the Cleveland public school at 3850 N. Albany Ave, Before
long, ground was broken at 3820 N. Spaulding Ave, for a combination churchschool
structure, the cornerstone of which was laid on Oct. 29, 1912. The new
edifice was completed in time for Mass on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 1913.
The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth opened the parish school in
January 1913 with an enrollment of 100 children.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church was established midway between St. Veronica
Church at School and Whipple St. and Our Lady of Mercy Church, then located
at Sunnyside Ave, and Troy St. These parishes had been founded for English-speaking
The present rectory at 3834 N. Spaulding Ave, was completed by 1916. In
1928, Father Appelt directed the construction of a convent at 3817 N. Christiana
Ave, and a "temporary church" at the northwest corner of Grace
St. and Spaulding Ave, The latter building remained in use as Immaculate
Heart of Mary Church for nearly 30 years. Following the completion of this
brick edifice, the church quarters in the old combination building at 3820
N. Spaulding Ave, were converted into classrooms.
Father Appelt continued to serve as pastor until his retirement in 1935.
He died on Mar. 5, 1949 at the age of 76.
Rev. Charles C. Marcinkiewicz, former pastor of St. Thecla Church, was
named pastor in 1935. He guided Immaculate Heart of Mary parish during
the last years of the Depression and through World War II. Following Father
Marcinkiewicz's death on Dec. 18, 1945, Rev. Frank A. Piwka, a former professor
at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, was named pastor.
Enrollment in Immaculate Heart of Mary school grew rapidly in the 1950s.
On May 6, 1952, a new two classroom addition was dedicated by Auxiliary
Bishop William E. Cousins. By 1955, 620 children were enrolled in the parish
Father Piwka directed the construction of the present church, the cornerstone
of which was laid on June 16, 1957. Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, designed
in a modern style of architecture by the firm of Pirola & Erbach, was
completed at the southwest corner of Byron St. and Spaulding Ave, The air
conditioned $675,000 edifice was dedicated on Sept. 7, 1958.
Father Piwka died suddenly on Feb. 25, 1959 at the age of 60. In April
1959, Archbishop Albert G. Meyer appointed Very Rev. Msgr. Aloysius J.
Wycislo, former assistant executive director of the Catholic Relief Services-National
Catholic Welfare Council, as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
During World War II, Msgr. Wycislo served as field director of Polish projects
for the War Relief Services, working with Polish refugees in the Middle
East, Africa, India, and France. From 1939 to 1943, he had served as Assistant
Superintendent of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Msgr.
Wycislo's appointment as pastor was a great honor for the people of this
On Dec. 20, 1959, Msgr. Wycislo was named a Domestic Prelate with the title
Right Reverend Monsignor. In November 1960, the people of Immaculate Heart
of Mary parish learned that their pastor had been named Auxiliary Bishop
of Chicago. In a statement published in The New World on Nov. 4, 1960,
Msgr. Wycislo was quoted as follows:
The appointment to the pastorate of Immaculate Heart
of Mary parish was the fulfillment of my heart's desire; but there
at his [Cardinal
Meyer's] intercession my nomination as a Domestic Prelate to His
Holiness, Pope John XXIII; then came the appointment to the Archdiocesan
of Consultors; the Archdiocesan Conservation council and
his request that
I serve as moderator of the Catholic League for Religious Assistance
to Poland ... The priests and parishioners of Immaculate
Heart of Mary parish
to whom I came as a stranger, have demonstrated time and again their
sincerity and cooperation in accepting me; I beg their prayers.
On Dec. 21, 1960, Auxiliary Bishop Aloysius John
Wycislo was consecrated in Holy Name Cathedral. Also installed as Auxiliary
Bishop was Cletus
Francis O'Donnell, who had served as Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese
Under Bishop Wycislo's leadership, the old combination building at
3820 N. Spaulding Ave, and the old church building at the northwest
of Grace St. and Spaulding Ave, were demolished and on May 1, 1960,
construction began on a new school and social center. The two story
brick school located
at 3820 N. Spaulding Ave,, was dedicated on Apr. 1, 1962 by Cardinal
The day also marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of Immaculate
Heart of Mary parish.
After the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Wycislo established new organizations
in the parish-the Italian Catholic Federation, St. Vincent de Paul
Society, Ladies of Charity, a Parish Council, a School Board, and the
of a Liturgy Commission.
In March 1968, Bishop Wycislo became the third Chicago priest of Polish
descent to be appointed Bishop of Green Bay, Wis. He succeeded the
late Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona, who had headed the Green Bay diocese
the death of Bishop Paul P. Rhode in 1945. At the time of his appointment
Green Bay, Bishop Wycislo was serving as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago,
Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and as pastor of Immaculate
of Mary parish.
On Easter Sunday, Apr. 14, 1968, Bishop Wycislo celebrated his last
Mass in Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. He was installed as head
of the Green
Bay diocese on Apr. 16, 1968 in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in
Green Bay, WI.
In May 1968, John Cardinal Cody appointed Rev. Henry P. Roszkowski
as pastor. He came to this parish from Schiller Park, IL, where he
of St. Beatrice Church.
Father Roszkowski was responsible for expanding the role of the Parish
Council and for encouraging lay leaders. In April 1977, he was
named pastor emeritus and Rev. Norbert J. Zawistanowicz was appointed
of the Archdiocesan Office for Research and Planning, Father Zawistanowicz
had been assigned to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church following
his ordination in 1949. He returned to this parish from St. Richard Church
where he had
been an associate pastor since 1975.
Today, Immaculate Heart of Mary parish numbers 2,400 families who live
in the area bounded by Cullom Ave, on the north; Irving Park rd. on
the south; Pulaski rd. on the west; and California Ave, on the eaSt.
exclusively Polish, the parish membership now includes families of
German, Irish, and Italian descent. The 489 students enrolled in the
1978 represented 45 nationalities including Indians, Koreans, Filipinos,
South Americans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans as well as children of
European descent. The faculty then numbered 10 Sisters of the Holy
Family of Nazareth
and 13 lay teachers.
Father Zawistanowicz continues the custom of making home visits to
new parishioners. Members of the Legion of Mary-which celebrated its
anniversary in December 1978-also welcome new families to Immaculate
Heart of Mary
parish. Approximately 25 parish groups are in existence, among them
the School Board, three liturgical choirs, a Lay Liturgy Commission,
Name Society, Mothers Club, Legion of Mary, Altar and Rosary Society,
de Paul Society, and an active scouting program.
Rev. Jerome S. Siwek, former pastor of St. Josaphat Church, and Rev.
Kenneth G. Kiepura serve as associate pastors.
From "A History of the Parishes of the Archdiocese
of Chicago" - 1980
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.