The 100th Year Anniversary of St. Constance Parish

Under the spiritual and organizational guidance of Fr. Tadeusz Dzieszko, Pastor.

The Solemnity of the 100th anniversary of St. Constance parish that took place on the day of October 16, 2016 started a year earlier, that is, on October 10, 2015. On this day, His Excellency, Bishop John Manz, celebrated a high mass inaugurating a year of solemnity and the 100th year itself. This period was meant to prepare parishioners and local parish residents for this great event.

With this in mind, Fr. Canon, Tadeusz Dzieszko, together with the committee dedicated to preparing the anniversary celebrations, began requesting permissions of the authorities of the City of Chicago to obtain the permits necessary to hang banners on the lighting poles in the main streets of the city surrounding parish (Austin Blvd., Lawrence Ave. and Higgins Ave.) The special banners announcing this event have been hung, and active organizational and advertising work has begun, so that the parishioners and the owners of surrounding businesses would support this initiative. A detailed plan for the celebration of the Anniversary  was made, and Connie and James Schiltz, and Teresa and Kazimierz Milewski from the Polonia Club were elected Co-chairs. Special teams were put together to tackle various initiatives responsible for the proper experience of the pre-jubilee period and the preparation of the main ceremonies. These works were accompanied by great enthusiasm and the joyful commitment of many people from the parish. This was all possible thanks to the very professional leadership of all teams by Father Canon, Tadeusz Dzieszko, who supported, taught and often led the work, so that every person working in a team preparing the celebration enjoyed their valuable work and service.

Already at the beginning of the year, the project was supported by 47 of local businesses and individuals, through the banners announcing the Jubilee. In addition, the Tree of Life Initiative was launched, which collected 152 donors within a brief period and continues to increase steadily. The committees of the Liturgy, the music, the media and the publications, the graphic and printing panel, the Committee on the Jubilee book, the Committee on Food, and the Council of the European Invitations and ticket sales for banquet, Committee of the Great Jubilee Lottery, Committee on Decoration in the church, banquet Hall and the Hanzel Center, the Committee for the preparation of memorial “Pictorial Book” and other groups that have engaged 112 people, not to mention the volunteers who were involved in the work. In addition, in order to commemorate the Jubilee, the pastor began efforts to make new doors for the church with engraved glass saints and inscriptions commemorating this particular year.

The above figures illustrate the scope and momentum of the work undertaken, and the system needed to manage the parishioners ‘ teams. All of these were capped off by a mass of thanksgiving celebrated on October 16, 2016 year by the Ordinary of the Diocese of Springfield Bishop Tomasz Paprocki with an assistance of close to 40 priests and a parish reception in the Hanzel Center Hall, and banquet at the Chateau Ritz with 800 people in attendance.

Bishop Tomasz Paprocki spoke about the history of the parish in his sermon, who, for two and a half years before of his appointment in 2013 to auxiliary bishop was a pastor of St. Constance Parish.

Fr. Canon Tadeusz Dzieszko, thanking the participants of the Mass for their participation in the Jubilee, said that the history of the parish is inextricably linked with the history of thousands of Polish immigrants transmitting the Catholic faith from generation to generation.  “It is the image of the age of struggle and toil for perpetuating polishness and Catholicism, the service of God and homeland, but also the beautiful testimony of the life of the young American generation of Polish origin, proudly caring for values passed down by their families.”

A delegation from Częstochowa from the Order of Pauline Fathers with Superior General Fr. Albert Chrapkowski and former Superior General Fr. Izydor Matuszewski appeared at the Jubilee. Also Superior General Sister Ewa Kaczmarek was present, from the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Christ the King for the Polish diaspora, chairing the delegation of sisters working in the United States.  Among the faithful there was the consul general of Poland Piotr Janicki, secretary of the District Court Dorothy Brown, four municipal alderman: John Arena, Ariel Reboyras, Chris Taliaferro, Nicholas Sposato, Congressman Luis Arroyo, a director for Congressman Gutierrez’s District: Theresa Paucar and a number of chairs and representatives of Polish organizations. The Liturgy was illuminated by the mastery of tenor Józef Homik singing of “Ave Maria,” as well as the brass band.

Over 800 people were in attendance in the banquet halls of the Chateau Ritz. Among them were our parishioners, who came from other states of America especially for this ceremony. Fr. Bishop Tomasz Paprocki had the keynote speech, and the toast for the prosperity of the parish and the pastors and nuns working in the congregation, was raised by the President of the Polish National Association and the Polonia American Congress, Franciszek Spula.  Bishop John R. Manz expressed his wishes and congratulations on behalf of Cardinal Blase Cupich. On behalf of the Republic of Poland, consul General Piotr Janicki extended his greetings and wishes to the parishioners. A letter of congratulation was handed from the mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel by John Arena, Alderman of the 45th Ward. The president of ZNP and KPA Franciszek Spula, with the assistance of Treasurer Marian Grabowski, with well wishes, presented to Fr. Dzieszko a memorial clock with a dedication. Many wishes and congratulations were sent from Poland and the federal and state authorities to the pastor.

The history and achievements of the parish during the reception were retold by Connie and James Schlitz, and Teresa and Kazimierz Milewscy from Polonia Club. A richly illustrated “Jubilee book” and a “photo book” were published on the occasion. The banquet was hosted by Sylwia Bania and Zbigniew Kowal. The honor guard was held by members of the Association of the Friends of the Polish “Ulans” of Tadeusz Kościuszko and the Association of the Historical Society of the Polish Army.

In the artistic part of the banquet, folk dance and theatre groups “Lajkonik” and “Wici” provided entertainment. At the end of the performance, the young people from the theater, song and dance, “Wici” invited the participants of the gala to dance the Polonaise. There was a rich lottery and much dancing. Father Tadeusz Dzieszko thanks everyone for their participation in the Jubilee, emphasizing the great commitment and generosity of the faithful in his realization and conduct.