Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

People of God: A Centennial History of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, New Britain, Connecticut

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

People of God: A Centennial History of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, New Britain, Connecticut

Article excerpt

People of God: A Centennial History of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, New Britain, Connecticut. By Daniel S. Buczek. (New Britain, Connecticut: Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 158 Broad Street, 06053-4104. 1998. Pp. vi, 136. $15.00.)

Although entitled People of God, this history reviews the accomplishment of the three Polish pastors who have held sway in Sacred Heart parish for more than one hundred years. The role of the first pastor, Right Reverend Lucyan J. Bojnowski, who created and sustained Polonia there from 1895 almost until his death in 1960, is emphasized. This is logical. No other pastor of the Hartford Diocese has, in fact, ever had the permission or power to build the bulwark of ethnic Catholic institutions that he did. As the author makes clear, even those who did not share Bojnowski's ethnic background or his faith saw him as a key player in local religious and secular affairs. Yet,we are quick to learn that almost half of his parishioners left him to become part of a second Polish parish in New Britain some thirty years after he assumed control.

But what of the Polish people who were his parishioners? One is struck by the degree to which the factionalism that constantly beset the congregation takes precedence in this history of Sacred Heart over their story of faithful adherence to pastors and parish. According to the author, discord was core to the parochial life of Sacred Heart, resurfacing with well-documented vigor as late as the 1980's. Despite this, the majority of the congregation endured because of "fierce loyalty" and dedication to the Catholic Church. Moreover, a magnificent church, a school, a religious congregation of women, an orphanage, a cemetery, and a home for the aged all emerged as monuments to Polish faith. …

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