To the editor,
I have been heartbroken since I heard that our St. Hedwig Church in Union City will be closing. I have been a parishioner for almost 60 years. My children were baptized, received their sacraments and were all married in St. Hedwig’s Church. My five grandchildren also made their sacraments there. Two graduated from St. Hedwig School and three were altar servers on Sundays.
I am also saddened that our Polish heritage and customs that are celebrated in church are also being taken away from our Polish community. I guess that has no significance or value any more to the Archdiocese. So many of our ancestors came from all over the world as immigrants and built these churches from the ground up with their hard-earned money, which they undoubtedly worked very hard for in those days, but they were so proud of their Catholic religion. Now, this is all being taken away from us. We all have to search for another church we can call our home again. No one likes change but it will never be the same.
I was raised in a very religious Polish family and attended a Polish Catholic grammar school. I try to instill these values in my family. I always say a family that prays together stays together. Undoubtedly, we will have to separate and go our own ways. Instead of the church encouraging the younger generation they are discouraging them by closing so many churches. Many parishioners will stay home and watch the mass on TV or not go to church at all.
I just hope the Pastoral Planning for the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford is successful with closing the churches and making many people unhappy by uprooting us from our churches and starting all over again in our senior years.
I attended one meeting in Cheshire at St. Bridget Church. We were told that additional meetings and discussions will be held in the future which never happened. They did not tell us the truth. A few months later we were told our church is closing. Parishioners had no input. St. Hedwig Church is so beautiful. It is handicap accessible, has air conditioning, a large hall, kitchen, newly paved parking lot, new roof, school, and shrine to The Divine Mercy, Jesus I trust in you. (In Polish, Jezu Ugam Tobie.) We also have a rectory.
I understand there is a shortage of priests, but in the past many priests came from other countries to the USA. Currently, there are young men in the Seminary in Cheshire from different cultures, hopefully our prayers will be answered for more priests in the future. My church was taken away but not my faith.
Joan B. Taf
The writer is the president of the Ladies Guild St. Hedwig Church and a former mayor of Naugatuck.