Wednesday, November 08, 2006

St. Stanislaus Kostka, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

My Other Endangered Parish

Before I began attending Our Lady of Vilnius regularly, I attended Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka. It is a small church, a Polish analog of Our Lady of Vilnius. It was built on the wages of Polish workers when Hastings was a factory town. Over time, as Hastings evolved into a suburb, St. Stanislaus became smaller and more diverse as the descendants of Eastern European immigrants consolidated and were joined by people of other backgrounds who enjoyed the small scale and strong feeling of community among parishioners.

On Palm Sunday of 2005 our Administrator informed us of the realignment and implied that, due to our small size, low "sacramental viability" statistics and assimilation (Polish language Mass no longer a necessity), we were likely to close.

In September, 2005, the church was closed due to water damage related to a roof leak. Repairs were made to the extent that they were covered by insurance. The repairs included a roof patch, moisture control, mold abatement and rewiring of the sacristy.

Due to a decision made by our Administrator, our parish has not had its own Mass despite the apparent feasibility of holding Mass in the intact church basement, the rectory or the Church of St. Matthew.

When St. Stanislaus Kostka was placed on the list of churches designated for closure under the Archdiocesan realignment in April of this year, all repair work ceased, even repairs that would have been covered by insurance.

At the time that the parish was placed on the list for closure it was debt-free and had cash assets. A major asset is a large brick rectory with Hudson River views on a large corner lot.

In December of 2005, the parish was lauded in the centerfold of Catholic New York for being the #6 parish in the Archdiocese for the percent of parishioners participating in the Cardinal's Annual Appeal.

At present all that remains of the parish are the Holy Rosary Society, coffee social held in St. Matthew's Rectory Meeting Room after the 9:00 AM "Family Mass" for St. Matthew parish and the "envelopes".

Though not officially closed, the parish has diminished from a small but thriving community to a historical footnote with an occasional reunion.

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