St. Joseph the Worker Oratory

The first initiative for a Polish language parish occurred in 1895. As a result the St. Joseph Society was organized. A priest was sent to Jackson in 1901 but was removed only months later. There was a tremendous controversy over the location of the parish. Rev. Joseph F. Herr, considered the first pastor of the parish, was assigned to the community in the fall of 1902. The first Mass for the parish was offered in White Hall at Columbus and Michigan Avenue.

The following September two Felician sisters taught forty-five pupils in a converted brick barn. In 1908 a four-room school was built. Eight more rooms were added in 1914. The Felician community started their centennial of service to the parish in 2003.

The first St. Joseph church was completed in the fall of 1904. The Polish native, Rev. Joseph Przbylski, pastored St. Joseph parish from 1925 until 1963. A new convent and rectory were built. R. Przybylski celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination on July 6, 1963. He retired the same month and Rev Marian J. Lesniak began his thirty-nine year pastorate. Fr. Lesniak immediately began plans for a new church. Bishop Alexander M. Zaleski dedicated the present parish church in May 1968.

One of the St. Joseph parish traditions is the annual paczki sale. It is one of parish’s largest fundraisers. In the parish centennial year, 2002, about seventy-five volunteers made 800 dozen paczki. The centennial celebration concluded with a Mass on October second. It was a bittersweet affair because the retirement of Fr. Lesniak was observed at the same time. The care of souls was entrusted to Rev. Louis Madey in June 2003.