Polish Roman Catholic Church
of the Sacred Heart,
Manville, New Jersey
(taken from Court House records at Somerville, NJ)
Incorporation: March 12, 1919,
at which time it was incorporated as The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Manville, New Jersey.
Bishop Thomas J.Walsh, Rev. John H. Fox, Rev. Francis A. Kasprowicz, Bronislaw Czaplicki, Jan Doman
Catholicity within the present parish limits began in 1912 when H.W. Johns-Manville Company established its factory in Manville. This firm, from which the town received its name,
employed five persons in 1912. It grew to become, in all probability, the largest manufacturer of asbestos products in the world.
The first Polish families began arriving in 1914. They came from eastern Pennsylvania, known as the Anthracite Coal Region, and from the Soft Coal Region in the vicinity of Pittsburgh. Many came from the cities of Bayonne and Jersey City. They established their homes in Manville, searching for employment opportunities. With the rapid growth of the manufacturing industry, the town increased in population. Men found employment at the Johns-Manville and the Federal Creosote factories and on the railroads, whereas women worked in garment sewing factories. The manufacturing boom transformed this community from a rural farming district into an industrial town.
Because there was no Catholic church in Manville at that time, the faithful of this borough were ministered to by Fr. J. F. Ketter, the Pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Raritan. Although he was of German descent, Fr. Ketter did speak the Slavic language. The first recorded Baptism in the church annals took place in 1914. Michael Vistuk, son of Michael and Maria Kresovaty Vistuk, was born and baptized on January 16th by Fr. Ketter. The sponsors for the Baptism were Paul Rog and Helena Kowal.
In the beginning the few Catholic families who settled in Manville, mostly Poles, some Slovaks, Hungarians and Italians, walked to Raritan or to Bound Brook for Sunday Mass. By 1917, sixty Polish families under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Vincent Rozmus, also of Raritan, built a small wooden church on what is now West Camplain Road under the title of "The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary". Fr. Rozmus would travel by bicycle from Raritan to celebrate Mass in the new building. It was in this building that the original Rosary Society was organized by Fr. Rozmus and held its first meeting on March 1, 1917. At its inception Mrs. Helena Lazowski was the president of this organization of dedicated women.
On December 5, 1917, a few days after his ordination at St. Stephen's Church, New York, Fr. Francis A. Kasprowicz was sent to organize and minister to the needs of the Poles in Manville. Inasmuch as there was neither a rectory nor a church, Fr. Kasprowicz resided with Fr. Ketter and Fr. Rozmus at St. Joseph's Rectory in Raritan. On December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Kasprowicz celebrated his first Mass in Manville in the aforementioned wooden structure. Although the building was cold and rundown, the members of the community were overjoyed because now they had services in their "own church" and by their own priest.
Their joy, however, was short lived. Due to some internal controversy and unrest among the residents, they decided to abandon the building and seek facilities elsewhere. The problem of finding another building, though, was quickly solved, when in 1918, the membership of the newly organized Manville Fire Company granted permission to Fr. Kasprowicz to use its headquarters near the Lehigh Railroad on South Main Street for Masses and church meetings. Peace reigned again since the dissidents were not permitted in this building. As time went on, Mass was also celebrated on special occasions in "Bakers Hall" or "Liberty Hall" as most of the earlier settlers called it.
In May of 1918 the firehouse was the scene of the first group of children from the parish to receive First Holy Communion. There were 41 children who took part in the ceremony. The first marriage was recorded in the church annals on July 20, 1918. Wojciech Goras, son of John and Anna Kowalczyk Goras married Agnes Pekala, daughter of Valentine and Lillian Slater Pekala. Witnesses were Philip Hawrylak and Antonina Goras. The ceremony was performed by Fr. Kasprowicz.
Despite less than optimum conditions, Fr. Kasprowicz set out to organize his people. He called together his group to plan for their future as a parish. Trustees were elected. John Doman and Benjamin Czaplicki were the first to serve the fledgling parish in this capacity. Church collectors were also designated and Messrs. Baranowski, Zawila and Pulnicki served as the first official collectors (ushers). A search for property on which to build a church was initiated. The parish was growing so rapidly the firehouse was no longer large enough. Mr. Czaplicki informed Fr. Kasprowicz of suitable land for sale at the corner of what is now S. Main St. and W. Camplain Rd. On March 11, 1919 six parcels (lots) of land were purchased for $2,100. Fr. Kasprowicz, Mr. Czaplicki, Mr. Doman and a handful of parishioners proceeded to build a larger hall on the newly acquired property. This structure was completed on December 23, 1919 and served as a temporary church. This building was later used as a garage f or the priests and was demolished in 2000. Fr. Kasprowicz and his group launched vigorous campaigns to raise funds for the building of a permanent church on this property. In addition to individual donations, fund raising activities included dances, bazaars and organized outings to Lake Hopatcong. Men and women of the parish worked side by side with great dedication and belief in accomplishing their goal of building a new church. The energetic Fr. Kasprowicz purchased an additional six parcels of land thereby doubling the property in a short time. With the mutual agreement of the parishioners, Fr. Kasprowicz placed the parish under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The official incorporation date of the parish known as the Polish Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was March 12, 1919. The incorporators were Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, Rev. John H. Fox, Vicar General of the Diocese of Trenton, Rev. Francis A. Kasprowicz, Bronislaw Czaplicki and John Doman. The property was blesse d August 17,1919 with services held marking the ground breaking for the new church and school building. An enthusiastic sermon was preached by Rev. O. Victor Bielecki S.J. On October 19, 1919, Bishop Walsh blessed the cornerstone of the church building. A large representation of Catholic parishes from Perth Amboy, South Amboy, South River, New Brunswick, Sayreville, Raritan and Bound Brook participated in the ceremony. Fr. Joseph Dziadosz preached the sermon which was heard by the 4,000 persons attending, including 15 priests and the 150 families of the parish. The architect of this project was Mr. Henry Swartz. The contractors of record were Mr. William Greasheimer and Mr. George Baltromeja. By 1920 the basement of the church was completed. Since the parish was growing so rapidly, Fr. Kasprowicz began holding services there.
Finally, after some delay, Sacred Heart Church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Walsh on October 23, 1921. The affair was attended by 32 priests of different Dioceses and many delegates from neighboring parishes. Fr. Bielecki again preached the sermon. The original cost of the building, which included school facilities, was $40,000.
In the fall of 1921, shortly after the church was blessed and dedicated, the Sacrament of Confirmation was administered for the first time. Mr. Teofil Urbaniak and Mrs. Balbina Kasprowicz, the Pastor's mother, acted as sponsors for the boys and girls respectively.
Through the advice of Bishop Walsh, the Bernardine Sisters from Reading, PA, arrived to teach parish youngsters and develop the newly organized school in September, 1921. Initially, five nuns were assigned to the parish under the direction of Sr. Mary Honorata, who served as the first principal of the school from 1921-1924. Over a period of time ten Bernardine Sisters served the parish school which grew from 280 to four hundred students. The first 8th grade graduation took place in June 1924. In 1926 a dedicated Parent Teacher Association was organized by Fr. Kasprowicz. The first leader of this new organization was Mrs. Joseph Onka Sr., a distinguished member of the Sacred Heart Pioneer family. During this period of time, Sr. Mary Benedictine was school principal and honorary president. The commitment and dedication of the Bernardine Sisters was inspiring. Sacred Heart students graduating to high school were well prepared for the transition. The Sisters also provided a much appreciated in tellectual and cultural resource to the parish. Due to diminished enrollment, Sacred Heart School closed in 1989.
In 1923 the bell for the church was purchased with donations amounting to $1,300.00 from the parishioners. The bell was named "Balbina" in honor of the Pastor's mother. Msgr. John Fox, Vicar General of the Diocese blessed the 2,000 pound bell on December 2,1923. Today this bell still rings at noon and six P.M. every day and on many other occasions.
This was a new parish. The boundaries were the borough limits of Somerville and Bound Brook. The church also served inhabitants of Hillsborough, Bridgewater, Montgomery and Franklin Townships and the Borough of Manville, New Jersey. There was no addition of any territory made to the parish since its incorporation. There was no transfer of any territory from this parish. There were no formal boundary lines ever formed. The Polish people in this area and those of the Slovanian Nationality came from the farming sections of Hillsborough, Bridgewater, Franklin and Montgomery Townships and the Borough of Manville.
In 1925, the parishioners built a rectory for their pastor. Until then he lived in homes of various parishioners. In the same year the parish purchased 42 acres of land on the outskirts of Manville for a parish cemetery. It was blessed by Bishop Walsh on October 17, 1927. In 1926 the parish built a home for the teaching nuns.
The last big expense at that time for the parish was the purchase of an organ. This was done in 1929 at a cost of $2,600. On December 8, 1929 the new organ was blessed by Msgr. Maurice Spillane, the Vicar General of the Diocese at that time. Father F. Czernecki of Camden preached the sermon. The collection amounted to $2,644.00, more than enough to pay for the organ. After the blessing, a well attended concert was held in the church featuring renowned choirs from Perth Amboy and Yonkers, N.Y. The Sacred Heart Choir and many local soloists also performed. All of this came under the skillful administration of Father Kasprowicz, whose adroitness and dedication inspired parishioners to new heights of achievement.
As mentioned previously, Manville for many years belonged to Hillsborough Township. Due to the rapid rise in population and the progressive nature of its people, the community, because of restrictions imposed by the Township, which failed to provide modern and necessary improvements in keeping with the times, had good reason to feel resentful and dissatisfied. Conditions being what they were, Manville was powerless to strike out for itself. This resulted in much effort to bring about change in the unbearable situation by leading citizens. Among the most prominent were Sacred Heart Parishioners, Joseph Onka, who subsequently served three full terms as mayor of Manville and John J. Jasinski, who later became the first Chief of Police. Their efforts were ably aided by Father Kasprowicz. Finally after many years and much hard work, "the emancipation" was realized and Manville became incorporated as an independent borough in April 1929.
The parish grew and prospered despite World War I and the Great Depression of 1929. On October 1, 1931 Father Stefan Rybacki was assigned to Sacred Heart as the first Assistant to aid an already overworked Father Kasprowicz. However, he only remained for six months. There was no replacement until newly ordained Father Jerome Pionkowski arrived on June 24, 1933. On October 4, 1934 Father Francis A. Kasprowicz, the founding pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, was transferred to Holy Cross Church in Trenton, NJ. Father Adalbert Tomaszewski administered the affairs of the church for seven months. On May 2, 1935, Bishop Moses Elias Kiley appointed Father Peter Wieczorek the second pastor of Sacred Heart Parish.
There are no missions attached to this parish, however, on May 2, 1935, Rev. Peter Wieczorek, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, began administering the affairs of the non-Polish parish of St. Joseph in East Millstone, New Jersey. He did so for two years.
In Manville, however, Father Wieczorek added many improvements to the existing buildings and erected a garage and a club building for the younger parishioners. Toiling zealously and tirelessly with cooperative Polish and non-Polish members of his congregation, Father Wieczorek organized several active societies. Among them the Holy Name Society, The Newman Club for high school boys and girls and the Children of Mary for the young ladies of the parish. In August 1946 the mortgage on the church and various notes were paid off in full.
With the passage of time and the continuing growth of the parish with people of many and varied nationalities, it became necessary to establish another parish so that all Catholics could be properly and efficiently served. Accordingly, the Most Rev. William A. Griffin, then Bishop of Trenton, decreed, in 1947, the establishment of the Church of Christ the King under the pastorate of Father Eugene Kelly. On May 19, 1949 Father Wieczorek enlarged the cemetery by purchasing 22 additional acres of land for $7,000.00. An iron fence and an attractive entry gate were added to enhance the landscape of the parochial burial grounds. Water lines were also extended throughout the existing cemetery for the convenience of the public and groundsmen. At the southern portion of the cemetery there was placed an imposing monument of the "Pieta". It is at this location that Father Peter Wieczorek was buried following his death on March 12, 1957.
The Rev. Msgr. Martin A. Madura was appointed the new pastor of the parish on June 11, 1957 by Bishop Georqe W. Ahr. Msgr. Madura was not only a motivated spiritual leader, but a most astute administrator who took advantage of opportunities to add to parish properties. During his period of stewardship of the parish, the old Owsik homestead at 204 Filak Street and the building at 219 West Camplain Road were purchased. These buildings were refurbished and used as classrooms. In line with these most welcome improvements, came the remodeling of the Bernardine Sister's Convent. To relieve the overcrowded situation in the original church, Msgr. Madura purchased the building which houses the present church. The building - the bakery of old - was purchased at a cost of $75,000 from Joseph Onka Sr., a dedicated parishioner, humanitarian and former Mayor of Manville. Mr. Onka was among the original pioneer families who helped build Sacred Heart Church.
Of the original building only the outside walls remained. The building was lengthened and completely renovated. Having obtained permission from Bishop Ahr to use this building for a church, Monsignor's efforts were blessed by the generosity of his flock who supported an unofficial building drive by the offering of pews, altars and other church furnishings. The new Sacred Heart Church was formally opened with a Solemn High Mass on Christmas Eve, 1963. The new church is able to accommodate over 800 worshippers. Moreover, the basement of this structure was so well reconstructed that governmental authorities have designated it as an atomic shelter. The spacious auditorium below ground level is used frequently for social events. The people of the parish together with their pastor created their own success with God's help. Their unique initiative, vision, cooperative effort and faith reflect a proud chapter in the history of Sacred Heart Church.
Thanks to the altruistic labors of the previous pastors, Sacred Heart Cemetery in Hillsborough Township has always been a beautiful burial site for our parishioners. The foresight of Msgr. Madura has not only followed this tradition but it has also insured many future generations of adequate burial space, by the acquisition of an additional tract of land adjacent to the existing land bringing the total acreage to 74.7. The cost of this parcel was $40,000. In his capacity as the third pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Manville he undertook the task of organizing an extensive musical program for the youth of the parish. In a few months he succeeded in creating the Sacred Heart Cavaliers Band in August 1957. The great numerical response to the oldest musical group gave rise to the formation of the Sacred Heart Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps in March 1959. The formation of these two groups left no room for the younger grammar school children. Thus came the existence of the Sacred Heart Colon ials Fife and Drum Corps in the spring of 1961. The Crusaders developed into a proud Corps over the years. Through hard work, pride and confidence they have won over 150 parade competitions. The pride and skill of the Corps attracted young parishioners to join it. The growing fame of the Crusaders added to the stature of the parish. The Rev. Melvin J. Stanczewski was the first moderator of the Crusaders.
In his quiet and unobtrusive manner this good pastor expended much energy in the reawakening and growth of numerous societies. To each of them he contributed much with his wisdom, knowledge and experience. With the splendid cooperation of both church and civic societies, he organized and staged a tremendous Millennium Day Parade on September 18, 1966 - the like of which Manville had never before witnessed. Each time the citizens speak of it, they automatically mention the name of Msgr. Madura, whose involved planning made this event possible. Mention might also be made of the Millennium Concert which he organized in December, 1966 and the various diverse celebrations of the individual organizations, commemorating the one thousand years of the Baptism of Poland.
On the basis of his outstanding work as a priest and leader in the community, the people of Sacred Heart Parish were overjoyed to learn that his work had been recognized by the ecclesiastical authorities. At the request of Bishop Ahr, the shepherd of the diocese, His Holiness Pope Paul VI raised Msgr. Martin A. Madura to the dignity of a Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor late in December, 1966.
Msgr. Madura, founding Pastor of the second Sacred Heart Church, resigned as pastor in September, 1971 because of failing health. He was designated Pastor Emeritus. On August 19, 1974, Msgr. Martin A. Madura died and was buried among his parishioners at the parish cemetery.
In September of 1971, following the resignation of Msgr. Martin Madura, Father Joseph M. Krysztofik, a former assistant at Sacred Heart Parish and former pastor of St. Alphonsus Church, Hopewell, NJ, was assigned as Pastor of Sacred Heart Church. This was a stroke of good fortune for Sacred Heart. Father "Joe", as he was affectionately known, was an inspired spiritual leader, an excellent administrator and a person blessed with good humor and warm feelings toward people. Father Krysztofik had quickly undertaken measures to energize programs for youth, church societies and social cultural events in the parish. He encouraged the establishment of St. Jude Council Knights of Columbus in 1974. The Annual Summer Festivals and bingo parties, which provided both a social and financial benefit to the parish, were instituted. Calendar parties, which provided additional social opportunities, as well as financial gain, for the parish and Parent Teacher Association, were introduced. Additiona lly, Father Joe sponsored Friendship Parties for the Orchard Lake Schools. This was a work of love and charity for the schools that have produced many of our priests. All of these activities promoted the interest of the parish and provided worthwhile social outlets for parishioners and town citizens. Additionally, Father Krysztofik had undertaken energetic measures to improve existing church properties. Air conditioning was installed in the church and auditorium in 1976, and in 1977 a new roof was put on the church. In 1978 a spacious and most attractive library was added to the school facilities. The library was housed in the old church on the second floor of the stone building. The pews, lights and some of the stained glass windows from the church were donated to three Spanish Catholic Churches in West Long Branch, Burlington and Lakewood. Professionals did the majority of the work on the library costing the church approximately $35,000. The library was dedicated in the name of the late Msgr.
Martin A. Madura and was blessed by Bishop George W. Ahr on October 7, 1978. The school was further improved by the addition of modern lavatory facilities for both boys and girls. New maintenance free windows were installed in the school and other church buildings. New doors added attractiveness and utility to the new church. The rectory was refurbished and made more attractive and comfortable. Roads at the cemetery were widened and resurfaced. The entrance to the cemetery was enhanced by the construction of a beautiful 18 foot double faced granite memorial depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the resurrected Christ, a magnificent work of art designed to inspire the hope of the resurrection in each of us. The cost of this project was well over $22,000. On May 28, 1979, Father Krysztofik blessed the monument and offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the cemetery for the intentions of those who had contributed to the erection of this memorial.
The sixtieth anniversary of the church was marked by a High Mass celebrated by George W. Ahr, retiring Bishop of the Trenton Diocese, and fifteen other clergymen on September 9, 1979. A successful dinner dance followed at the V.F.W. Hall. In December 1979 with funds realized from the Sixtieth Anniversary celebration and the balance donated by parishioners, Father Krysztofik and his parish were able to purchase a new, much needed, electronic organ for $16,000. The new organ was blessed and dedicated by Father Krysztofik on December 23, 1979. Following the blessing, Ms. Julia Anderson, professor of music at William Patterson College, gave an organ recital. The combined choirs of Sacred Heart under the direction of choirmaster Thaddeus Mierzwa also offered a short concert. Father Krysztofik, with the help of parishioners, worked hard to retire church indebtedness. On January 2, 1976, a $75,000 note on the new church was paid in full. Father Joe, in cooperation with his parishioners, had super vised the administered parish improvements in the amount of $269,673. His dynamic leadership, coupled with the cooperation of his parishioners, resulted in continued, orderly and unique parish growth and development.
After 100 years in existence, the Diocese of Trenton was divided into two separate dioceses in the fall of 1981. Four counties, namely Mercer, Burlington, Monmouth, and Ocean County, remained a part of the Diocese of Trenton, while the counties of Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon, and Warren became a part of the newly created Diocese of Metuchen. His Holiness Pope John Paul II, in creating this new diocese, named Bishop Theodore E. McCarrick its first bishop.
From the very beginning of his administration, Bishop McCarrick endeared himself both to the clergy and the laity of his diocese, and, perhaps, in a special way to the Polish Americans. It was through his efforts and cooperation that the 600th Anniversary of the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, venerated so widely in Poland, was honored at a special diocesan liturgy and ceremony in St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen, NJ.
For the ordination of four candidates to the transitional diaconate on June 12, 1985, Bishop McCarrick chose Sacred Heart Church and he favored the parish for the celebration of one of his Christmas Day Masses in 1982, and throughout his years as the shepherd of our diocese, he joined our parishioners in the annual Forty Hours Devotion. For the canonization of St. Maximilian Kolbe, O.F.M., he led a pilgrimage to Rome as well as several diocesan pilgrimages to Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine in Poland. He also was the principal celebrant at the Liturgy several times at the Polish Heritage Festival at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. Upon the resignation of Archbishop Peter L. Gerety in 1986, he became the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ.
On February 5, 1987, Bishop Edward T. Hughes was installed as the second bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen. He increased the number of parishes in the diocese to 108 to accommodate the growing Catholic population. With his permission, the 50th anniversary of the Invasion of Poland was marked, and at his invitation, Joseph Cardinal Glemp, the Primate of Poland, was able to visit the diocese in October 1991 and celebrate Mass in St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral at a diocesan-wide celebration.
Because of the lack of personnel, the Bernardine Sisters were forced to withdraw from Sacred Heart Parish in the summer of 1986, after serving the parish school for 60 years. This educational crisis became a challenge both for the people and the pastor of Sacred Heart. Together they decided to employ an all lay faculty and named Mrs. John Cornyn, as the first lay principal. After two years, Mrs. Cornyn resigned and was succeeded by Ms. Mary Ellen Corcoran in September of 1988. However, the small enrollment, which now numbered 85 students, and financial difficulties caused Father Krysztofik to close the doors of the parochial school in 1989 and to use the original classrooms for a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Center, headed by Sister Mary Reginald, a semi-retired Bernardine Sister. When she retired, Sister Julia Ladzinski, a former principal of Sacred Heart School, replaced her as Director of Religious Education for this program for the parochial children attending the lo cal public schools.
As the fourth pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Father Krysztofik applied his talents and energy to the many facets of parochial life. After the close of Sacred Heart School, he negotiated with the diocesan authorities to convert the original kindergarten, first- and second-grade building to a day care center for working parents, supervised by Catholic Charities. He was instrumental in erecting an imposing granite monument of the Crucifixion at the cemetery. Burglar alarms were installed in all of the church buildings in 1982, and an extensive church renovation program was begun in the fall of 1987. All the church pews were renovated, carpeting was installed, shadowboxes housing four of the original stained-glass windows were built, and elegant crystal glass windows were inserted in the church vestibule doors.
For fourteen years, 1977 through 1990, he was instrumental in conducting and supervising the Pre-Cana Program in the parish along with a dedicated team of lay parishioners. To help the poor and the aged in the parish and community, he originated the Christ Child Christmas Tree Program in 1987 and from the very beginning of his pastorate he oversaw the distribution of either food baskets or food certificates to the needy at Christmas and Easter. Furthermore, he was instrumental in conducting a monthly canned food drive for the local Food Pantry. These works of charity did not go unnoticed. At the request of Bishop Theodore E. McCarrick, Pope John Paul II, named Father Krysztofik a member of his household with the title of Reverend Monsignor. This honor was conferred upon him on June 22, 1986, in St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen, NJ.
For many years, the parish affairs were conducted in the rectory. In the spring of 1992, another school building - this time the seventh and eighth grade building - was converted into seven comfortable offices. Modern equipment and privacy have permitted the parish secretaries and priests to expedite parish business efficiently and privately.
The observance of the Diamond Jubilee of the parish was begun on Sunday, October 17, 1993, with a Mass in Polish and English celebrated by Msgr. Krysztofik, and concelebrated by Fathers Dabrowski, Abramowicz, and Romanoski. Homilies were delivered by Fathers Dabrowski and Romanoski. For the Christmas season, a "Birthday Party for Jesus," in which 18 youngsters from our Christian Doctrine classes enacted a stirring pageant, interpreting the gospel of the birth of Christ, was celebrated. This began a tradition which has been performed every Christmas Eve since then. On Saturday, February 12, 1994, the very popular "Calendar Party" of former years commemorated the Diamond Jubilee at the Somerville Elks Auditorium in Somerville, NJ. A "Down Memory Lane Fashion Show" on April 24 with a showing of the fashions and other memorabilia from the past 75 years, an Art Auction and Strawberry Festival on June 10, and a Country Fair on parish grounds in late July were the ot her major events of our jubilee year.
The culmination of the Diamond Jubilee Year occurred on Sunday, October 16, 1994, with a concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving at noon. The main celebrant of the liturgy was His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop Szczepan Wesoly from Rome. Joining him in this liturgy were Rev. Msgr. Joseph M. Krysztofik, pastor; Rev. Hyacinth M. Dabrowski, Cap., associate pastor; and a host of invited diocesan priests and religious. Rev. Msgr. Stanley E. Milewski, the chancellor of the Orchard Lake Schools (Michigan), was the homilist. The Mass was preceded by a colorful procession, with many priests, sisters, school children in native Polish costumes and uniforms of the Sacred Heart Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps, Sacred Heart Marching Band, and Sacred Heart Colonials Fife and Drum Corps. Men and women of the Altar-Rosary Society as well as Knights of Columbus and color guard of the Thomas J. Kavanaugh VFW Post 2290 also took part. Women of the parish, arrayed in Polish costumes, greeted the Archbish op in the traditional Polish gesture with bread and salt. During Mass, His Excellency Archbishop Wesoly blessed a bronze plaque commemorating the pastorate of the late Monsignor Martin A. Madura.
The Diamond Jubilee Ball followed the church ceremonies at St. Mary's Parish Center on Brooks Boulevard. The short program and dinner was followed by an evening of dancing to the music of the Dick Pillar Orchestra from Connecticut. The chairman of the entire Diamond Jubilee Celebration was Mrs. Betty Ann (Gerald) Cowen, ably assisted by co-chairman, Mrs. Theresa (Thomas) Kaschak and a host of energetic and hardworking men and women of the parish.
Msgr. Krysztofik retired from the pastorate of Sacred Heart after 25 years in 1996. He died on January 24, 2002 and is buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery next to Msgr. Madura. Following Msgr. Krysztofik's retirement, Rev. Peter Suhaka was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart by Bishop Edward T. Hughes, the third bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen. During his short tenure Fr. Peter, instituted our Stewardship and Social Committees. He also made improvements to the interior of the church by have a new sound system and new lighting installed. Fr. Peter also purchased the old St. Michael's Church located on S. 3rd Ave when it went up for sale.
At that time, it was discovered that the old church building, which was used for classrooms for our Religious Education Program, was in need of major repairs to bring it up to code. It was decided that to repair the building would be cost prohibitive and would, therefore, need to be demolished. Since the building was declared unsafe, Fr. Peter approached Fr. Sloan, pastor of Christ the King Church, about combining the Religious Education Programs of the two parishes. This was agreed upon and our public school children began attending classes at Christ the King School under the direction of Sr. Mary Farrell. Sr. Julia had chosen to retire.
In 1999, Fr. Peter was transferred to the newly created parish of St. Catherine of Siena in Pittstown, NJ. Due to the shortage of priests in the Diocese, Fr. Peter initiated a request for the parish to be put into the hands of the Polish Redemptorist Order. This was approved by both the Bishop Vincent DePaul Breen, the fourth bishop of Metuchen and the Provincial of the Redemptorists. In June of 1999, Fr. Boguslaw Augustyn, C.Ss.R. was named pastor.
Since that time, Fr. "Bogie", as he is called by parishioners, has been a whirlwind of activity. One of his first orders of business was to bring the Religious Education Program back here. To that end, he entered into an agreement with Msgr. Alan Borsuk, pastor of St. Mary's Byzantine Church, to rent the classrooms at St. Mary's Parish Center. Our children now attend there under the direction of Mrs. Nialetta Makowski.
Fr. Bogie had the old garage and club house buildings, which were in disrepair, demolished to extend the church parking area. He has improved the aesthetics of the interior of the church with new carpeting in the sanctuary, a fresh coat of paint on the walls and beautiful wall murals behind the main altar, Blessed Mother's altar and St. Joseph's altar and another upgrade in lighting. He also converted part of the sacristy area into a cry room. He has also made many improvements at the cemetery such as cutting down trees that were diseased and replacing them with new plantings and the purchase of a new marble altar for services held at the cemetery.
In 2002, after many years of service, first as our church, then as classrooms, the old church building was demolished due to its unsafe conditions. The corner stone was placed as a pedestal for the Our Lady of Fatima statue in a prayer garden located where the old church stood. With the salvaged stone, Fr. Bogie hopes to build a grotto at the cemetery. A few months later the convent was demolished.
After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Fr. Bogie purchased a 35' flagpole to display the American Flag on church grounds. A bronze plaque dedicating this flagpole to the memory of all those who lost their lives on September 11th will be placed there on the first anniversary of the attack, September 11, 2002.
Over the years many members of the parish have achieved renown in many fields. To list them would be an endless task. However, we feel we should mention a 1946 graduate of Sacred Heart School and former Mayor of Manville, Joseph A. Patero. Mr. Patero served an unprecedented eight terms as State Assemblyman for the 17th District, which includes Manville, resigning to accept a position in the New Jersey State Labor Dept. Mrs. Gerald (Betty Ann) Cowen also bears mentioning. She served as the President of the Trenton Diocesan Council of Parent Teacher Associations and was the Vicariate Representative of the Trenton Diocesan Communication Office for Somerset County. Even though she ran a successful business and raised a family, Mrs. Cowen never hesitated to undertake any church project offered her. Mrs. Cowen is now retired and is still volunteering her time unstintingly, both in the parish and in the community.
The graduates of Sacred Heart School include Rev. Msgr. Thaddeus J. Wojciehowski, retired pastor of Holy Cross Church, Trenton, NJ; Rev. Joseph S. Rucinski, retired pastor of St. Clement Church, Matawan, NJ; Rev. Hugh (Phillip) DeCicco, O.F.M., deceased; Rev. Joseph Radomski, pastor of St. Elizabeth Church, Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ; Rev. Joseph V. Romanoski, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, South Amboy, NJ; and Rev. Peter G. Suhaka, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church, Pittstown, NJ.
Members of our parish who have entered the Bernardine Sisters include Sister Mary Fulginette (Elizabeth Trilone), Sister Mary Thaddea (Anna Stepka-deceased), Sister Mary Oliver (Anna Nawracaj-deceased), Sister Carol Ann (Ann Marie Nawracaj) and Sister Barbara Ann (Bernadette Koshinski). Other religious include Sister Mary Concepta, (Rose Urbanowicz), a member of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception; Sister Estelle (Estelle Bobrowski-deceased) and Sister Mary Carmelita (Elizabeth Kaschak), members of the Sisters of Mercy; Sister Anne of St. Bartholomew (Clementine Godlewski-deceased), member of the Discalced Carmelite Order; and Sister Charlene, P.A. (Charlene Kostuk), member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Chestnut Hill, Pa.
Throughout the 83-year history of Sacred Heart Church, the parish has been blessed with pious and energetic associate pastors: Vincent B. Rozmus, Stephen A. Rybacki, Jerome T. Pionkowski, Stephen A. Buszka, Victor Mlynarski, Francis L. Zgliczynski, Joseph R. Brzozowski, Edward P. Blaszka, Joseph R. Fibner, Mitchell J. Cetkowski, Melvin J. Stanczewski, Hyacinth M. Dabrowski, Cap., Joseph M. Krysztofik, Stanley A. Magiera, Chester Golabek, S.D.S., Aloysius Sosna, S.D.S., Dominick Peszka, S.D.S., Adam Figula, S.D.S., Sigmund Klimowicz, Cap., John Grzyb, Lucian Andrzejczak, Edward Wawerski, John C. Parzyszek, Robert J. Zamorski, Edmund J. Shallow, Ignatius H. Kuziemski, Leon S. Aniszczyk, Andrew Drag, Henry A. Egierd, John Stec, Alfred C. Ciok, Richard B.Abramowicz, John J. Szczepanik, Stanley Gromadzki, Jan Zubel, C.Ss.R., Jan Kwiecien, C.Ss.R. and Stanley Ziobron, C.Ss.R. These unsung clerical heroes worked zealously with their pastors to make Sacred Heart Parish an outstanding one, both in t he Trenton Diocese and now in the Diocese of Metuchen.
From the sixty, hearty pioneer families who founded this parish in 1919, the parish has grown to over twelve hundred families of various ethnic backgrounds. The cost of the first church in 1919, was $40,000. Total assets of the parish in 1944, the 25th anniversary of the parish, were $165,000. The total physical assets of Sacred Heart in 1979 were $1,929,781. More importantly, the borough of Manville and surrounding areas are enhanced spiritually, culturally and environmentally by the presence of this parish. The good works generated by the parish and its people are beyond calculation. The old axiom, "what is honored in a community will be cultivated here," reflects the spirit of Sacred Heart parishioners.
Over the last 83 years of our existence as a parish, much has happened to the world as well as our communities. The changes have affected everyone to varying degrees. Wars, depression, inflation, moral confusion, energy shortages, nuclear threat, environmental abuses, problems of substance abuse, excessive crime, racial unrest and now, the terrorist threats, are among the samples of problems we face in 2002. In some cases, the changes were so swift and varied, that our abilities to cope effectively had become impaired. For us, throughout all of this confusion, the one constant has been the love of God. Those who believe in Him are able to sustain themselves in harmony. This parish, our church, is our anchor. If we continue to honor God, respect and admire the achievements of our pioneer families and model our efforts after theirs, we will continue to do well. We pray that our future history will be filled with God's presence and the indomitable spirit of our forefathers. Each of us should b e visibly proud of our parish, our heritage and our great country. In this new millennium, we rededicate ourselves to the continued orderly growth and future development of Sacred Heart Parish.