The parishioners of St. Stanislaus Church are preparing to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of their parish.
Celebrations will culminate in the Great Mass Sunday, April 28, with the Archbishop of Hartford, Leonard Blair.
Father Tomasz Sztuber and parishioner John Miecznikowski said the parish was started by Polish priest Father Bartlewski, being founded on April 21, 1919. The first mass was celebrated in Bristol town hall, on Sunday, April 27, 1919.
At the time, Sztuber said, there were 200 Polish families in Bristol. As the community grew, they were able to renovate their church at 510 West St.
“We know what was in the past. Right now, we hope that the future is also very bright for us, but we, as the Catholics, we have to pray and to thank God, and asking for the blessings in the years to come,” said Sztuber. “With God’s blessing, I hope, the next generation will continue the job that our ancestors did start.”
Leading up to days of the special mass, parishioners have been treated to special activities and exhibitions such as the Jafelka, a Christmas pageant that was held in January, or the Lenten retreats parishioners took to improve their spiritual preparedness.
Each month, parishioners were treated to historical exhibits, detailing certain areas of the parish such as the priests who had served and the sisters who ran the school. This month, they also will learn about the history of the buildings that make up St. Stanislaus.
Miecznikowski said NutmegTV has helped create a video documenting the history of the parish. For the video, several parishioners shared stories of their time in the parish. The video was shown several times at St. Stanislaus, and will also be shown at the Bristol Historical Society on Thursday, July 18.
The celebration of 100 years will not conclude with the mass. Miecznikowski said the parish will host its Dozynki, a Polish festival to celebrate the harvest. To end the year, the St. Stanislaus parish will host a closing banquet for the anniversary celebration. No date has been set yet.
After the Great Mass, community members are invited to celebrate with the St. Stanislaus parishioners with a buffet style meal. Sztuber said Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, as well as other city councilors, are planning to attend the mass. The mass on April 28 at 11:15 a.m. at St. Stanislaus Church, 51 West St., will be presented in both English and Polish.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.