About the beginning
*The delivery of the telegram to a Polish priest, J. Chmielinski in the summer of 1893 marked
the beginning of Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish.
*Ground was broken for the neat wooden church on June 15, 1894. On July 15 Auxiliary Bishop
Brady blessed the cornerstone; and on Sunday, November 18, Archbishop Williams dedicated
the edifice on Boston St., South Boston to the famous Black Madonna of Poland, Our Lady of
* Fr. Chmielinski next took up the project of a school. Featuring a hall in the basement with a sitting capacity of 500, the school was completed in 1911.
*Fr. Chmielinski died on February 23, 1937.
From Claudia Dzengielewski:
This is from a handwritten document by John J. Borkowski (born: December 25, 1884) written in his own words in 1968 at the age of 84 years, a year before his death on April 12, 1969, for the Jubilee Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Church
History of the Church (Our Lady of Czêstochowa) as I know what took place.
“Stefan Borowski (not related to the Borkowski family) was a Western Union telegram boy. He lived beside my folks (Ksawery and Johanna Borkowski) in the same house, a two-family. One day he delivered a telegram to a Polish priest in the Italian church (Sacred Heart) in North Square Boston. That was Father John Chmielinski. He came home and he told his father about the message. After supper, his father came to our place and told my father (Ksawery Borkowski. There is a church window donated by the Borkowski family - the name is misspelled, however. It reads Borskowski) the story. We lived on First Street between F Street and Dorchester Street and there were some more Polish families in a bunch.”
“So, my father got busy. Went to see some more Polish people. Mr. Hoppe (one of the church windows was donated by the Hoppe family) and Mr. Puchewich (Puchewicz) and Mr. Ryc. I guess there were more. They went to see Fr. John. He told them he was helpless, they would have to see Archbishop Williams. He asked them if they could buy some land. They said, “yes”. The Bishop told them when you get the land, I will arrange it so the Polish people could have a Mass in the basement of the German church (Holy Trinity) on Shawmut Avenue. The news spread like fire.”
“Now, I will write who were the altar boys at the beginning:
John Borkowski (author of this letter)
Joe Mikolajewski and his brother, Stanley Mikolajewski
This was for the time while the church was being built.”
“Don't let anyone tell you our church was a protestant church first. I was at the cornerstone blessing (July 15, 1894) and there was a parade. I was in the parade. I had on Polish colors - white blouse and a red sash. The church was only half finished then. I think Mr. Clark was the builder. The church entrance was on Boston Street. Then turned around to make way for the school.”
“Some more altar boys when the church was finished:
Joe (Joseph) Relenger
Joe (Joseph) Wesner
Mike (Michael) Lewandowski, and his brother, Felix Lewandowski
Leo Jankowski and his brother, Chester Jankowski”
“The Convent was a 2-family house made over for the convent. (1906) A Mr. Swan lived in that house.”
“When the school was being built, three men lost their lives-2 Italians and Mr. Katzabuski. That was around 1910.” (The school was completed in 1911.)
“The first organist was Mr. Bandaro, (Bandero) the third, Mr. Charnetski (Czarnecki). Us altar boys, we would pump the organ sometimes.”
“I am writing this when things come to my memory. Oh, yes, when the first Polish bishop came to our church-he was late coming to the South Station. It was almost 11:30 at night. A parade escorted him to the church-- men on horseback and a band. The parade went to Broadway and down Dorchester Street. You should see the windows going up and everyone in their night shirts. At the church, he was presented a leather bound scroll or something like that by the Polish people. Mr. Sabatowicz presented it to him.”
“We had our first communion by Father John. We were confirmed by Bishop Scabarelli.”
“If you want to know if that altar was there when the church was built - “No”. Mr. Zenkewicz built the first altar, a small one. It was nice.The sacristy was on the right , on the left a storeroom for candles for the altar and other things. Later on the walls were taken down and the sacristy where it is now. Then, the big altar came from Italy and then, later, that picture, but don't ask me when. Somebody else might know.”
“Oh, yes, we had a few Italians that sang in the choir. After awhile we had our Polish organ player, as I said-Mr. Charnetski. He had a voice like a foghorn. I guess I am about the only left.(Outside of Mike Lewandowski).”
“To teraz pani wiedzie moja sprawa dane. A jak co wience mnie do glowa przyœæ. To ja Pani dac te informacja dobrze.”