Last Sunday marked Ascension Day, and over 200 parishioners attended, filling the pews and forcing 35 others to stand at the back. The service carried on for a bit longer than usual, but it was what happened after that really made an impact on some parishioners.
Stan Korasadowicz, a parishioner of the church over the last 20 years, mobilized some to congregate in the church's basement to plan out a strategy on how to save the church from being merged with the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, located a few blocks up at 101-41 91st Street.
“The Bishop is selling everything – we don’t know where the money is going,” said Korasadowicz, who lives in New Jersey and makes it his duty to attend mass every Sunday in efforts to save it.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which St. Stanislaus is part of, is merging the parish with Nativity to cut costs. But parishioners are upset that many of the church’s property has already been sold, including the parking lot and the St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr School on 101st Avenue.
Community Board 9 voted in March to construct a new school at the location, which is set to seat 416 students.
Korasadowicz is planning to start a committee “pronto,” which will act as a liason between the parishioners and the community. They are planning to circle a petition to their pastor and the pastor of Nativity, as well as to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. They are also planning a protest to show that they are “not quiet.”
The hope is that although they are not able to stop the sale of the school, perhaps they could stop the merger, which is set to happen on June 30.
Parishioners are afraid that if the church merges with Nativity, it will then be sold for good later on, leaving them no place to congregate.
“It’s a shame what’s going on because the funds are here,” Korasadowicz said.
The parishioners found out two years ago about the merger and circulated a petition then, but the Bishop told them that there was nothing that could be done.
The church has over 2,000 parishioners, but not all of them disagree with the merger.
“Some see it as a good thing because we could possibly get more funding after,” said Mike Kulawik, chariman of the Pulaski Day Parade Committee at St. Stanislaus.
“For others," Kulawik continued, "just the fact that they want to sell out our property brings a lot of anger. This is something their ancestors gave them.
“It doesn’t seem like the Bishop’s office wants to give us any options,” he said.
St. Stanislaus was built in 1930 and has since been a beacon for many Polish immigrants. The church suffered through a fire in June of 1994, but was back 15 months later – a testament to its perseverance.
“This church is much more vibrant; there are more things going on here,” Kulawik said as he listed the Young People’s Polish Committee, the Sacred Heart Association and the Polaski Parade Committee, among others. “And yet they decide to sell some our properties instead of reconsidering to sell some of [Nativity’s] properties.”
“Everybody comes here, they’re born here, they’re baptized here, everybody knows each other," said another parishioner. "It’s a shame.”
After repeated attempts, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn could not be reached for comment. Please check our website regularly for updates.
UPDATE: Monseigneur Kieran Harrington of The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, noted that the merge is an administrative merge, done as a way to cut costs.
"There are two parishes that are as close as you can get to one another and there are substantial costs associated with running parishes," he said. "This will give us a better use of our resources so that we could better serve the community."
He noted that while the two churches are merging, mass will continue at St. Stanislaus and at Nativity.