One Hundredth Anniversary
Watch a video about the history of our parish.
100th Anniversary Mass and Celebration
The People of our Parish
Our Patron Saint
SAINT STANISLAUS KOSTKA
Jesuit, Patron of Youth (1550-1568)
Saint Stanislaus Kostka was born in Poland in 1550 of a noble Polish family. At the age of fourteen, he was sent with his older brother, Paul, to study at the Jesuit College in Vienna where he was known for his religious piety and fervor. After making a vow to enter the Society of Jesus, he became ill. A demon appeared in the sick room of the young saint under the form of a black dog which Saint Stanislaus drove away with the Sign of the Cross. His illness worsened; he was lodged in the residence of someone who would not allow the Blessed Sacrament to be brought to him. Saint Stanislaus had read that those who invoked Saint Barbara never died without the Sacraments and so he begged her for aid, which he received. Soon, he was restored to complete health. Saint Stanislaus was sent to Rome, where he continued his novitiate, during which he was a model of religious perfection according to the master of novices. Unfortunately, his delicate constitution led to an illness with a high fever. Saint Stanislaus wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging Her to take him to heaven on the anniversary of Her Assumption. His wish was granted on August 15, 1568. He was only eighteen years old. In his short life, he was the model of youthful devotion. We often see him with the infant Jesus in his arms because when Our Lady came o cure him, she placed the infant Savior on his bed. The feast day of the patron saint of our parish is November 13th.
Nearly ninety years ago, in 1919, the dream of a dedicated group of Polish immigrants in the Bristol area was realized when the parish of Saint Stanislaus Kostka was dedicated. At last, the Polish people had their own parish and their own priest, Reverend George Bartlewski, who would remain as their pastor for 49 years. The close-knit community, having built a rudimentary basement church in 1920, also built a parish school in the difficult Depression year of 1930, staffed by a Polish order, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Third Order of Saint Francis, who even lived in the school until a convent could be built later on. Church organizations flourished; Polish customs were celebrated even as the community began to integrate fully into the adopted country and welcome American citizens. A new dream emerged, that of transforming the humble and simple “basement church” into a larger building. When the dream became reality in 1956, a beautiful new church was dedicated, but not on the foundation of the early building, which was unable to support the modified Gothic structure and had to be demolished.
The “brick and mortar” era did not end with the construction of the new church building. A new rectory was built in addition to the much-needed convent, as well as parking area behind the church. A new phase began in the life of the parish as well, as parishioners entered who were not of Polish origin. Through marriage or simply through the desire to belong to the church, the new church members brought an Americanized atmosphere to the parish, which, although evolving, still kept many Polish traditions and the language in the older Polish societies. For example, parish families still celebrated the Pasterka (Shephard’s Mass) at Christmas, celebrated the Wigilia (Christmas Eve meal) and shared opłatek (Christmas wafer). During Lent Gorzkie Żale (Bitter Lamentations) and the Stations of the Cross remained popular devotions, and the priests blessed traditional Polish Easter food on Holy Saturday.
The economic necessities of the late twentieth century led to the demolition of the aging parish school. The former convent has become a thriving parish center, named for the founding pastor, Monsignor George Bartlewski.
The Polish ethnicity of Saint Stanislaus parish was assured with the influx of a new wave of immigration from Poland in the 1980’s. The new members of our faith community brought with them a renewal of Polish traditions and the desire to maintain their Polish language. The annual Dożynki (Harvest Festival) brings together all groups in our parish family to celebrate our Catholic faith at Mass and then to enjoy fun, fellowship and good food, Polish and otherwise, on the church grounds. Processions, which accompany ceremonies such as that of Forty Hours Devotions, celebrated both in Polish and English, reflect our Polish heritage and add richness to our liturgies.
Under the leadership of our most recent pastor, Reverend Raymond Smialowski, Saint Stanislaus Church continues to evolve as a thriving parish. The recent addition of air-conditioning assures the comfort of our parish, while the newly installed tower bell will call the faithful to prayer for generations to come.
–Elaine Brzezenski Lewandoski
Rev. Tomasz Sztuber, Pastor
Father Tomasz Sztuber is the Pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Born and educated in Poland, Rev. Sztuber was ordained to the priesthood in Poland in 1986. He asked his Bishop to become a missionary priest and was sent to the Missionary Center in Warsaw, in 1988. In October, 1989, he went to Zambia and later on to Transkei (now Rep. of South Africa). He worked among the Zulu people for 15 years. After that he came to the USA and was stationed first in Norwich (Diocese of Norwich), next at Sacred Heart parish in New Britain (Archdiocese of Hartford), and then at St. Casimir and Immaculate Conception in Terryville. On February 12, 2018 he became the pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Bristol. Privately, Pastor enjoys reading, walks and playing his accordion!
Senior Deacon Richard J. Wisniewski
Deacon Rich is Senior Deacon at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. He was born in Philadelphia, PA where he graduated from St. Joseph’s Prep and then from Villanova University. Deacon Rich is married, has two children and three grandchildren. He and his family moved to Bristol, CT in 1991. As a member of St. Matthew parish in Forestville, he was a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and a member of the RCIA and Pre-Cana teams. Ordained on June 2, 2012, he was assigned to St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Bristol. He was transitioned to Senior Status at the age of 75 and still serves our Parish. In addition, Deacon Rich continues to work full time as a Claim Professional for Travelers.
Magda Jaros, Parish Secretary
Magda is the Parish Secretary at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Born and raised in Poland, she graduated in 1997 with bachelor’s degree in nursing in Gdansk. After graduating, Magda worked in a hospital. In 1999, she immigrated to USA, where she worked in the medical/dental field for almost 20 years. In July 2019, Magda took a position as a Secretary in our Church. She has devoted her life career in service to the people and today she proudly helps our Parishioners. Magda is married and has one daughter. She enjoys family time, teaches art classes, and has a photography business.
Debbie Sousa, Youth Ministry
Debbie was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and is the daughter of Portuguese immigrants. She came to Connecticut in 1998 to study Physical Therapy at the University of Hartford. She’s been a resident of Bristol and a parishioner of St. Stanislaus Kostka since 2005. Debbie started the current St. Stanislaus Youth Ministry Program in 2013 after a Pilgrimage to Rome. Since that time, Debbie has led our youth on yearly Mission Trips and multiple World Youth Day trips. Debbie enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and outdoor activities.
Joanna Grabowski, Religious Education
Joanna was raised in Windsor CT, attended St. Gabriel’s Monastery School and later Windsor High School. She attended UCONN for couple of years studying psychology. After her three sons were born, she devoted her life to raising her children. When the boys attended CCD classes at St. Stanislaus Kostka, Joanna became President of the CCD Parents group in our Church where she also taught grade 6 for few years. She than became a Director of CCD in the Summer of 2015. Joanna likes to spend time with her sons and go for walks with her Goldendoodle.
Christina Micari, Music Ministry
Christina, a Bristol native, is a professional opera singer. She graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and has sung with various opera companies, including the CT Lyric Opera and the Orlando Opera Company. Christina, a former Miss Bristol, has been the Music Director in our Church for 13 years. She teaches private singing lessons and is the founder/director of “Bell City Carolers” here in Bristol. In her free time, you can find Christina with her 10 year old fur baby Shih Tzu, and her niece and many nephews.