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KOLASZEWSKI, ANTON FRANCIS

KOLASZEWSKI, ANTON FRANCIS

KOLASZEWSKI, ANTON FRANCIS (5 Sept. 1851-2 Dec. 1910), dynamic priest, was born in Russian Poland to John and Catherine Gergens Kolaszewski. His family immigrated to America, and Kolaszewski studied for the priesthood at Franciscan College at Teutopolis, Ill. and St. Mary Seminary in Cleveland, being ordained in 1883 and becoming pastor of ST. STANISLAUS CHURCH. His congregation grew as Polish immigrants arrived seeking steel mill jobs. With their religion alone familiar in the new land, Kolaszewski was not only their pastor but also their community leader. As his congregation grew, Kolaszewski envisioned a soaring brick Gothic church and, counting on the generosity of his poorly paid parishioners, let out contracts and began the work in 1886. When completed in 1891, St. Stanislaus Church cost $250,000. Earlier Kolaszewski established Sacred Heart of Jesus church for Poles living in the southern part of the district. By 1889 he built a church for that congregation.

St. Stanislaus parish developed factions. Kolaszewski's appraisal of his congregation's financial resources proved false, and Kolaszewski had unwisely concealed both the church cost and resulting debt from diocesan authorities. Bp. IGNATIUS HORSTMANN demanded Kolaszewski's resignation in 1892. Kolaszewski went to Syracuse, N.Y., beginning an association with a Polish nationalistic movement of dissident Roman Catholics. In 1894, Kolaszewski returned to Cleveland. Popular with many former parishioners, a number joined IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, which Kolaszewski organized, emphasizing both the congregation's orthodoxy yet its independence from diocesan control. Kolaszewski refused to concede and was excommunicated. He reconciled with the church in 1908 but resigned the pastorate.