Home About Archives RSS Feed

St. Stanislaus Reopens For Palm Sunday Mass

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church officially reopened on Sunday morning, Palm Sunday, with Mass at 8 a.m.
ADAMS, Mass. — The congregation restrained itself until the church began to empty. Then a hoot and a cascade of applause filled the historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Sunday morning in celebration of a reopening that some thought would never come.

The Mass on Palm Sunday marks a new beginning after three years of vigil, appeals to the Vatican and, finally, an agreement brokered in hopes of healing a rift that had threatened to tear the Catholic Community of Adams apart.

"It was a great day in Adams, a great day for the church, a tremendous day," said a beaming Rev. Daniel J. Boyle afterward. "It's the unity and peace we need in this community ... it's been a tough three years."

He likened the attendance of the packed church for the 8 a.m. Mass to that of Christmas Eve.

But it was a far cry from a Christmas Eve three years ago when diocesan orders to close the beloved Polish church caused a rupture between the pastor and his unruly flock. Some of the congregation whose ancestors had poured love and money into St. Stan's refused to leave; others took their prayers elsewhere, prefering to worship anywhere but the newly designated parish church of Pope John Paul the Great up the street.

In February, the 24/7 vigil ended quietly on day 1,150 with the announcement the church would reopen as a place of worship in line with a ruling from the Vatican late last year that upheld the suppression of the parish but not the closure of the building. St. Stan's will remain a mission chapel within the parish named for the first Polish pope.

And on Palm Sunday, marking Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace, a long line of palm frond-holding worshipers prepared to procession — peacefully — into their church again.

"It feels awesome. We've been vigilant for 1,150 days and this is great, great," said David Meczywor, who has been a member of the church since "baptism on up." "It's overwhelming, it brings tears to your eyes."

Joan Pause, one of the more than 200 who sat vigil, said St. Stan's has played a central role in her life. She'd attended St. Stanislaus School next door, as had all four of her boys. They had their First Communion and confirmation in the church; it had been the setting of her wedding and her husband's funeral.

The Rev. David Boyle celebrates Mass at St. Stan's for the first time in more than three years. Right, David Meczywor, who was baptised at St. Stan's, attended with his family, describing the reopening as 'awesome.'
"I have a lot of good memories. A lot of people were negative but I told them something good is going to happen, that I'm not giving up," she said. "This is a miracle."

It was standing room only and ranging in age from the very young to at least 96, supplemented by a busload from Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke — another Polish church ordered to close. Inside, the bulletin board marking the vigil schedule was gone, along with the other elements of a long-term occupation.

"We knew it would come, it was just a matter of time," said Francis Hajdas, a leader of the vigilers who had prevented the doors from being locked and the church stripped. "I am trying to move into the background ... my work is done."

But the work of Shirley and Victor Anop isn't done. They're taking inspiration from St. Stan's for the far more contentious legal battle over the 111-year-old Mater Dolorosa that was closed last June. On one side, the diocese says the church is structurally unsound; the congregants say their right to worship is being infringed.

"Why would someone want get a restraining order to stop you praying in your church?" said Victor Anop. "We're fighting to stay in our church and find out what's really going on."

Anop, an attorney, said the tribulations have made them a closer faith community; more than 300 attended a Christmas service and a couple hundred are expected at Easter.

"Today gave us a lot of inspiration," said Shirley Anop. "I really hope we'll go down the same path."

At a gathering in the church's Kolbe Hall afterward, Henry "Hank" Tomkowicz, another vigil leader, thanked the "couple hundred" people who made it happen, the press that had followed the story, and Boyle, who had been instrumental in resolving the situation.

"You know some parishes were allowed one Mass a year ... we're not a parish but we'll have our Mass at 8 o'clock [every week]," said Tomkowicz.

St. Stan's will host morning Mass on Sundays and weddings and funerals. Four funerals have already been held in the church.

Boyle said the members of St. Stan's had done everything right, from their appeals to Rome to maintaining the church, and their prayers had been answered.

"You never discount the power of prayer, never."

Editor's Note: We started this blog three years ago to chronicle the fight to keep St. Stan's open. We hope that this will be our last post on the matter, and that St. Stanislaus' Church will continue to be a vital part of the community of Adams.
News Headlines
Petition Voices Objection to Proposed Williams Art Museum Site
Northern Berkshire Santa Fund Kicks Off 2015 Campaign
North Adams Ready to Take Possession of Colegrove School
Pittsfield Bars Raising Security After Shooting Incidents
6th Annual Cop On Top Returns To Pittsfield Walmart This Weekend
Pittsfield Fires Police Union President For 'Misconduct'
Holiday Cards Support CATA Artists With Disabilities
Berkshire Tidbits: Time for Hanukkah, Christmas Foods
YMCA Hosts Free Youth Snowboarding Program
Ohio Baptists Erecting Monument in Cheshire to John Leland
Appeals Process
Parishes have some options to protest their closings.

Appeal to the bishop within 10 days of a decree of suppres-
sion or merger. He's got 30 days to get back to you - or not. 




If the answer is still no, the parish then has 10 days to appeal to the Congregation of Clergy in Rome. They could take years to respond and usually back the bishop.

All is not lost. The next step is to appeal to the Apostolic Signatory, the Vatican's "supreme court." It is headed by St. Louis' former Archbishop Raymond Burke, who leans conservative.
If the first appeal for a hearing fails, the last step is a plea to the full bench of the signatory. The process can cost thousands.

Bishop Hopes Closings Reinvigorate Parishes

Bosley Wants More Dialogue on Church Closings

Parishioners Seek Solution to Save St. Stan's

Parishioners Set Vigil to Save St. Stan's

St. Stan's Closes With
Tears and Defiance

St. Stan's Hopes for Strength in Numbers

St. Stan's Pins Prayers on Mediation Request





Boston (3)
coverage (4)
diocese (9)
event (5)
parish (5)
related stories (2)
Rome (6)
update (12)
Deicision Decision Marians Ruling Republican Appeals Divine Mercy Closing Anniversary Trabold Opening Time New Orleans Decision Congregation Of Clergy Council Of Churches Reopening Appeal Hajdas Borre Vigil Thanksgiving Decree Christmas Tomkowitz Apostolic Signatura
Popular Entries:
St. Stan's Announces Church Is Saved
Diocese Releases Statement on St. Stan's Ruling
Diocese, Vigilers Appeal Ruling on St. Stan's
St. Stan Vigilers Hope Prayers Answered
St. Stanislaus Church To Reopen
First Western Hemisphere Divine Mercy Images Still at St. Stan's
St. Stanislaus Reopens For Palm Sunday Mass
Diocese Says Vatican Upholds Closure of St. Stan's
Boston Setback Doesn't Shake Vigilers' Faith
St. Stan's Vigil to Mark Two Years
Recent Entries:
St. Stanislaus Reopens For Palm Sunday Mass
St. Stanislaus Church To Reopen
Diocese Says Vatican Upholds Closure of St. Stan's
Diocese, Vigilers Appeal Ruling on St. Stan's
Diocese Releases Statement on St. Stan's Ruling
First Western Hemisphere Divine Mercy Images Still at St. Stan's
St. Stan Vigilers Hope Prayers Answered
St. Stan's Announces Church Is Saved
Pontiff Rejects Boston Parish Appeals
St. Stan's Vigil to Mark Two Years