Dear Parishioners, Guests and Friends of St. Hyacinth,
It was 125 years ago, when during the first Mass celebrated by Fr. Szymon Kobrzyński, CR at Christmas the thankful “Te Deum Laudamus” sounded in a small wooden church, which became the beginning of a great work written with the finger of God and mankind. The founders of this church chose St. Hyacinth, a Polish saint, as patron of this community. From the beginning, St. Hyacinth inspired and became the example for many generations, a model and witness to the love of the Eucharist, a great love for Mary, the Mother of God, and an example of a tireless missionary. So many generations of our compatriots have found a “spiritual haven” here, the care of the Resurrectionists and the affectionate guidance of the Nazareth Sisters, teaching hundreds of our children and youth. Many beautiful jubilees have been celebrated by the parish. Each of them called for an internal reflection on the condition of faith, which translated into everyday life. Priests, sisters and the faithful have been characterized by great care, responsibility and incredible entrustment over all these years. Many parish groups, sodalities, associations, and organizations found their place at St. Hyacinth and fulfilling their calling in the church, and for the church.
Mankind by its very nature is “Homo Viator”, a constant traveler who likes to move. The priests knew about it, that’s why in a letter written by Fr. Anselm Babski, C.R in 1906, which was retrieved in 1980 from a box in the foundation stone of the second church, we read: “Are you all faithful Catholics yet? How many of you have remained so? Do you carry the banner of Christ the Lord proudly and high? Is St. Hyacinth, our patron, become a stranger to you? ”
Times are changing. Our neighborhood of Avondale is changing. New pastors come and go at our parish. After a hundred years, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth left the parish, and new ones came from the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Christ the King. The staff serving in our parish changed. Now a Basilica, St. Hyacinth still towers over the buildings of the neighborhood. Parishioners who live in the suburbs know where their community is and always come on weekdays or Sunday services. The faithful from our parish, who now live in other states, willingly correspond, and want to keep in touch. The faces of St. Hyacinth have changed. New residents are moving in, mostly Anglo. Many of them have found in our St. Hyacinth community, a spiritual center that we are beginning to build together again. Those who crossed the thresholds of our community for the first time say, “it is a work of God, a work of art, a work of mankind.” In a climate of prayer, they find answers before the Blessed Sacrament. A sacrament for your innermost desires. Together the Resurrectionist, the Missionary Sisters and the faithful, want to find the “signs of the times” that are now calling for “the Renewal of Christ’s Church.”
We understand that this is a process spread over many years. We want to actively participate in this process of renewal and find the way to our individual and communal spiritual development. Our predecessors, who for generations worked to put up this spiritual and monumental work, gave it to us as a “treasure” which each of us, in our life history, has found, nurtured, and maintained it with pride for future generations.
What will tomorrow bring; what will it be like in a few years? Everything is in God’s hands. Fr Anselm concludes his letter: “If you are good children of the Church and faithful sons and daughters of this Nation, then may God bless you. Pray for our souls, for the souls of your ancestors and benefactors. ”
I bless you all who were, who are and will come with all my heart
Rev. Stanisław Jankowski, C.R.