St. Casimir Church history

“Looking to 100 Years”

 

“In the early 1890’s, the Eagle Lock Company and the Andrew Terry Foundry were the two industries attracting the Polish people to Terryville.  By 1891, there was a sizable group of Polish people residing here, although not large enough to be included in the 1895 Centennial Book.  They worshipped in the Immaculate Conception Church on Main Street.  This worship was in the English language, which did not meet the needs of these immigrants.  They were not ready to be absorbed into the American “Melting Pot”, and wished to retain some of their own religious way.”

 

So starts the history of the Church of St. Casimir in the 1981 Diamond Jubilee book.  It was these job opportunities that attracted many more Polish settlers to Terryville by the turn of the century.  In 1900 a group of men gathered to form St. Casimir’s Society for the purpose of preserving the Polish language and customs.   It was this group of men that were instrumental in establishing the Church of St. Casimir through adoption of a resolution in 1902 outlining their reasons “to separate ourselves from the Immaculate Conception Church and to organize our own Roman Catholic Church of St. Casimir with a Polish priest”.  Through a fund drive $500 was raised and land was purchased on Burnham Street.  When they found that this land was unsuitable for a church, it was raffled off and the land on Allen Street was purchased for $500.  But, still it was an uphill climb for these early settlers.  They were met with financial hardships; along with local and diocesan opposition.  Four years later, in 1906, Father Joseph Raniszewski was appointed pastor.  A house at 31 East Main Street was rented as a temporary rectory and served as the location for daily Masses.  Sunday Mass was initially held at the Immaculate Conception Church, and then in the Lyceum Hall.  The land on Allen Street was cleared and construction of the church and rectory started simultaneously, with the rectory being completed first.  In May 1906 the cornerstone reading “St. Casimir Polish Roman Catholic Church” was laid.  It was in the same year, on Labor Day, that the Rt. Rev. Michael Tierney, Bishop of Hartford blessed the new Polish church.

 

Pastors and Assistant Pastors who have served at St. Casimir Church:

 

Pastors

Assistant Pastors

Rev. Joseph Raniszewski          1906 – 1911

Rev. Leo Suwinski

Rev. Ludwig Rusin                    1911 – 1918

Rev. John Rzasa

Rev. Paul Koszczyk                  1918 – 1920

Rev. Adolph Renkiewicz

Rev. Peter Kaczmarski 1920 – 1932

Rev. Stanley Sikora

Rev. Peter Sroka                      1932 – 1959

Rev. Raymond Rubinowski

Rev. Julius Pac             1959 – 1975

Rev. Paul Wysocki

Rev. Stephen Ptaszynski           1976 – 1993

 

Rev. Daniel Karpey                  1993 – 1999

 

Rev. Gerald Dziedzic                1999 -

 

 

Coming full circle it was in 1999 with a shortage of priests to serve the Archdiocese of Hartford, that St. Casimir Church and Immaculate Conception Church linked under one priest.  Ten years later we stand as two individual churches: strong in our own rights, but linked together as we look to the future and join in a shared venture with the building of THE LYCEUM.

 

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