Dear Parishioners, Friends of St. Hyacinth Basilica,
In 1894 at Christmas, in the new wooden structure built at the intersection of Milwaukee and Central Park, Fr. Vincent Barzynski, C.R. the former superior of the Congregation of the Resurrection, opened the new church and spiritual center for the 40 Polish families entrusted to the first parish priest, Fr. John Piechowskim, C.R. These were not easy times, on the contrary. 1894 was the year in which the economic depression in Chicago reached its zenith. However, a worship community, under the patronage of St. Hyacinth was allowed to start because of the determination of a handful of worshipers. After a few years, when the community began to grow, and it turned out that the existing place of worship was too small, the faithful began to make plans for the new church. New plans were drawn up for the pastor, Fr. John Zdechlika, C.R, who blessed the land of the construction site on April 30, 1917. The start of construction for the building of the new church began in August of the same year with the placing of the corner stone. A year later the walls, towers were erected and a roof was laid. The official consecration was done by the Archbishop of Chicago George Mundelein on October 16, 1921.
Why refer to these things? Because the year 2017 – which is exactly 100 years since this event, is like an invitation for us to “build” to “putting up” a new work. In three years from now we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the parish. We are the part that creates “the today” of this spiritual building, and I believe and I am convinced that we need to prepare thoroughly for this celebration. This preparation has to be our conscious response to the “signs of the times” that accompany us and call for a joint “account of conscience” over our responsibility for the spiritual gift that forbearers created, and which we inherited as a testament to their love. Today and through the decades, we try to not only sustain the parish, but with great effort to build something new, even more impressive; a church and parish that is full of the Spirit and evangelical virtues.
Are we prepared for this project? I think that, like, every project, it takes time. That time has been given to us – three years. Everyone responds positively to God’s call in their own time. But the invitation is addressed to each and every one without exception.
And so we decided that every last Sunday of the month will be a catechetical Sunday. In the first year, we propose our formation to start with the Ten Commandments. Not only will we refresh their content but above all understand and respond the way we live our life based on the depth of the message of the Ten Commandments.
The second year we will build a greater awareness of ourselves as a Community within the Church, in other words a Holy People, whom Jesus gathered in one by Baptism. The treasures which we received through the Sacraments, will be the focus catechesis.
The third year, the year of our celebration, will be the Year of the New Evangelization. Creation of disciples – is the task of every community. Living in different places, not particularly in our neighborhood of Avondale, we come to our church because we are a part of it. But the parish has its limits, and becoming more and more aware that a great part of our parish may not be receiving adequate pastoral care. The third year is the year of our celebration for the whole neighborhood, which whether it wants to or not lies in the boundaries of St. Hyacinth Basilica.
My dear friends! I ask you to pray, and I invite all of you, that we us create – we build a new parish community of St. Hyacinth.
Fr. Stanislaw CR, pastor