The Catholic Church was and still is an important part of the Polish immigrants life. This page pays tribute to the churches in Texas that were primarily built by Polish immigrants and other churches where there was a strong Polish influence in the congregation.
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New Waverly, Texas
St. Joseph parish was born in 1870, but a church was not built until 1876. In the intervening years Masses were offered in private homes. In 1897, a second church was built, making a school out of the old church. The size of the church was about 40 by 68 feet with 12 foot high walls. The main alter was given to the new St.Joseph’s Church by a Chicago publishing firm, the parish paying the freight. The church could accommodate about 200, and for the next year only about one-half of the church had pews, and the other half was just standing room. In 1902 Father Thomas A. Bily began plans for a new larger church. The present day church was dedicated on March 19, 1906, the feast of St. Joseph.
For more information see History of St. Joseph Catholic Church, New Waverly
Chappell Hill, Texas
The polish community of Chappell Hill is situated in Washington County, midway between Houston and Austin. In 1888, Rev. James Grabinger, announced that a church would be built in Chappell Hill. The great hurricane of 1900 destroyed this first church. The church, which was a small frame building, was blown down on September 9, 1900. The second church, a frame structure of 40′ x 80′, was built in 1901, facing west and was located where the old rectory stands today. On December 4, 1921, a fire that started after Mass on Sunday destroyed the church, rectory and the parish office. The third and present church was started in January 1922, and completed in August 1924.
For more information see History of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Chappell Hill, Texas
There was no Catholic church when Jozef Bartula and his family came to Bremond in 1875. However, a priest was coming from the church of St. Mary of the Assumption, Waco TX to minister to the Catholics in Bremond. In 1878 Father Mosiewicz began to build a church in Bremond. The first wooden church was 50 feet long and 25 feet wide. A cross extended from a spire 40 feet above the ground. A bell, hung from a wooden platform near the church, called the people to worship. A new brick church was dedicated on 17 Feb 1909. The structure was of Gothic style with dimensions 125 feet by 62 feet. The brick church was torn down in 1970 and the current church was built in 1971.
For more information see History of St. Mary Catholic Church – Bremond, Texas
St. Mary’s in Brenham was established on November 19, 1870 as the second Roman Catholic parish in Washington County, Texas. The parish was founded and supported by Irish, German and Polish Families who were engaged in a variety of business in the early days of Brenham’s history. By the early 1870s, a number of farmers, themselves Polish immigrants, began settling in the vicinity of Brenham and began attending St. Mary’s.
For more information see History of St. Mary Catholic Church, Brenham, Texas
When the present St. Stanislaus Church, Anderson, was completed in 1917. it became the first brick Catholic edifice in Grimes County. On August 6, 1918, Monsignor James M. Kirwin, vicar general and administrator of the Diocese of Galveston dedicated the present church. At the time of the dedication of St. Stanislaus Church, the parish family included 168 families of Polish descent and one family of German descent. Today, the parish family totals 268 families.
For more information see History of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, Anderson, Texas
In the 1970s many persons of Polish ancestry moved to Sunbelt states, including Texas. By the end of the 1980s the population of Texans who traced their roots to Poland increased by 41.8 percent. Many of them were born in Poland but left the country in the 1980s when the Solidarity labor movement was suppressed by the communist regime of Soviet-occupied Poland. Most of them settled in the Houston metropolitan area. The growth of the Polish-speaking Catholic population in the Galveston-Houston Diocese created a need for Polish-speaking Catholic priests to minister to this new flock.
In March 1984, with the help of a loan from the Diocese, the Polish community purchased the property located at 1731 Blalock. On August 26, 2001, the Most Reverend Vincent M. Rizzotto, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston consecrated the new church of Our Lady of Czestochowa.
For more information see History Of The Polish Parish In Houston
St. Joseph Catholic Church was established in 1909 by a group of Polish-speaking immigrants from the Grimes Prairie, Stoneham and Plantersville areas. For many years, Stoneham’s Polish community worshiped either with the Polish community of St. Stanislaus in Anderson or with the Ukrainian-German community of St. Mary in Plantersville. In 1909, because of historical rivalries and antagonism rooted in the Old World and the arrival of a new pastor at St. Mary, the Polish community in the Stoneham area separated itself from the Plantersville community, joining itself with the Polish community of Anderson as a mission, and built its own sanctuary in the present location, under the spiritual leadership and jurisdiction of the Polish-speaking pastor of St. Stanislaus in Anderson. This arrangement would last until 1967 when jurisdiction would be transferred to St. Mary in Plantersville with St. Joseph as its Mission. This is the present status, uniting the communities of St. Mary and St. Joseph.
For more information see History of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stoneham, Texas
On February 2, 1894, the Right Reverend Nicholas A. Gallager, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Galveston purchased for $30.00 the parcel of land where St. Mary’s now stands. This parcel was out of the league of land granted to John Landrum as a Colonist in Austin’s Colony. According to Diocesan records, St. Mary’s official name is Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Immaculate Conception, Plantersville, Texas.
For many years, the areas Polish community worshiped with the Ukrainian-German community of St. Mary in Plantersville. In 1909, because of historical rivalries and antagonism rooted in the Old World and the arrival of a new pastor at St. Mary, the Polish community in the Stoneham area separated itself from the Plantersville community, joining itself with the Polish community of Anderson as a mission, and built its own sanctuary in Stoneham.
For more information see History of St. Mary Catholic Church in Plantersville, Texas
Panna Maria, Texas
In early December 1854 a group of about 150 Poles from Upper Silesia arrived in Galveston, Texas. Among them were the father and brothers of Father Leopold. They had traveled nine weeks on the sailing ship “Weser”, they then walked the 200 miles to the place picked out for them by Father Leopold. They reached a site 60 miles south of San Antonio, a hill that overlooks the junction of the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek. According to tradition they arrived Christmas Eve 1854, and beneath a large oak, the offered their first Mass, and named their new home Panna Maria.
For more information see Panna Maria, Texas: The First Polish Settlement in America
The Polish Silesians arrived in San Antonio on Dec. 21,1854. Father Leopold Moczygemba greeted them and guided most of them the remaining 60 miles southeast to a place he had selected for their settlement, now known as Panna Maria. The news had reached Panna Maria that there was a place called Bandera that had a sawmill and there was work for pay. Bandera was described as beautiful with small hills similar to the Silesian region they left in Poland and with plenty of free water. After celebrating Christmas together, 11 of the families gathered in a small group and decided to leave Panna Maria. In the first week of January 1855, the 11 families left and traveled to Bandera through Castroville. Bandera’s Polish Silesians provided the labor for St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, the oldest standing continuously-used Polish Catholic Church building in the U.S.
For more information see Emigration Of Bandera Texas Polish Silesians
In 1873, as the population of Panna Maria grew, a group of about forty families decided to start a new community five miles north in Cestohowa. They first built a small school that also served as a chapel. The priest came from Panna Maria once a month to say Mass and made special trips for other purposes. In 1877 land was donated for a church, which was completed on February 10, 1878, and placed under the patronage of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church was remodeled in 1931 and repaired and painted again in 1973.
For more information see Cestohowa, Texas
Falls City, Texas
A number of people from Panna Maria and Cestohowa moved to Falls City, where they could receive the benefits of a railroad. As a result Falls City became a predominantly Polish-American settlement. In 1902 Holy Trinity Catholic Church was erected; a parish school opened in 1911.
For more information see Falls City, Texas
Kosciusko or more properly spelled Kosciuszko was named for the Polish General Thaddeus Kosciusko when it was established March 12, 1880 by sixty-five Polish families. In 1892 a Polish Catholic school was built. The first Church was built in 1898. The people gathered together and with $2,000 built the first Church and named it St. Ann. The wooden church measured 80ft x 40ft.
For more information see Kosciuszko Texas
St. Hedwig, Texas
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary church at St. Hedwig, Texas has a rich and vibrant past. Lineage can be traced as far back in time as 1795 in Poland during the tragic time when the country of Poland after its glorious past lost independence. The political environment of that era gave rise to a number of Polish emigrants looking for something new and challenging. The community, which the first thirteen families from Poland built in 1855 with their hard work, they called St. Hedwig, after their beloved Patroness and placed their parish under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
For more information see Founding and Early History of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary