ST. STANISLAUS CHURCH
BUFFALO, NEW YORK

St. Stanislaus was the first church, for the people of Polish nationality, organized in the Diocese of Buffalo.  As far back as 1870, Poles began to arrive in Buffalo; and the prospects of business and future growth offered a favorable field for future prosperity, and a small band of this nationality established homes in the eastern section of the city.  These Poles were earnest and faithful Catholics; and shortly after they decided to establish permanent homes in Buffalo, they considered the possibility of having a church of their own, or at least services by a priest of their own nationality.  Joseph Kujawski was one of the earliest Polish settlers in Buffalo, and for many years he was the guiding spirit of the Polish population of that section of the city.  A meeting was called, at which Mr. Kujawski presided, and a society was formed called St. Stanislaus Society, and they obtained from the Jesuits the privilege of having a special Mass for the Poles in the chapel connected with St. Michael's Church.  This was the beginning of the St. Stanislaus congregation.

The Rev. John Pitass, recently ordained, was sent by Bishop Ryan in June, 1878, to look after the interests of the Polish people who had settled in eastern Buffalo.  He secured property at the corner of Peckham and Townsend Streets, and immediately erected a frame building in which to hold services.  The first trustees of the new parish were Joseph Kujawski and J. Hordick.  The congregation grew rapidly; a great number of Poles settled in Buffalo, and nearly all of them established their homes in the district in which the people of their own nationality dwelt.  The Polish church building was soon too small to accommodate the souls who came there for service on Sundays, and plans were prepared for a magnificent new stone church building.  The corner-stone of the new church was laid on the 27th day of May, 1883; and the building was rushed to completion, and was ready for services the following year.  The old church building was converted from a school house, and was used for this purpose until a magnificent new school building was erected some years later.

St. Stanislaus is one of the largest congregations in the United States, and contains about 20,000 souls. There are about 2,000 children attending the school, which is taught by twenty-four nuns and five lay teachers.

Father Pitass presided over the destinies of this congregation for nearly a third of a century, and during all that period he was not only a guide to his own people but also leader of the vast Polish population in Buffalo.  The prosperity of many Polish institutions was due to his direction and advice.  At the synod held in October, 1901, he was made an irremovable rector.

The Rev. John Pitass, first resident pastor and founder of St. Stanislaus Church, died December 11, 1913, and the great Polish population of the East Side mourned the loss of their great leader.

The Rev. Dr. Alexander Pitass was appointed pastor of St. Stanislaus, January 12, 1914.

The two towers of the church were completed in 1908, and a clock was installed.

Dr. Pitass built the fine rectory of cut stone in 1916, and two years later he built the handsome and commodious convent on Fillmore Avenue.

In 1920 he purchased a large building on Peckham Street, which he converted into a hall and club rooms for the societies.

Fire in the school, December 19, 1923, caused a loss of $40,000.

As the representative Polish parish of Buffalo, St. Stanislaus has been the scene of many important celebrations of Polish national and religious interests.

The church was consecrated by Bishop Dougherty, November 12, 1916.

In November, 1923, the parish celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation.

On September 7, 1925, Father Pitass was made a Domestic Prelate by His Holiness Pius XI and the ceremony of investiture conducted by Bishop Turner, was held in St. Stanislaus on Labor Day, 1925.



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Holly Timm
Cheektowaga, New York
erie@nygenweb.com