Fells Point parish with Polish roots celebrates 125 years


By Elizabeth Lowe


Twitter: @ReviewLowe


Gregory Warenda was beaming as he expressed how proud he was to celebrate his parish’s 125th anniversary. 

“This is my church,” said Warenda, 59, who called the jubilee “the most important day.” 

Warenda was one of about 500 people who filled Holy Rosary in Fells Point Dec. 9 for a special Mass, which was celebrated in English and Polish. Some women were dressed in Polish clothing and Knights of Columbus members were present.

Society of Christ Father Andrzej Totzke, pastor of Holy Rosary, said the parish was established Dec. 8, 1887 and “the faithful continue to contribute to that history.”

“We gather today to thank God for this church,” Father Totzke said. “Glory be to God for 125 years of blessings.” 

Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden was the principal celebrant and Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, a former parishioner, was the homilist. 

About a dozen other priests concelebrated the Mass, including Society of Christ Father Tomasz Sielicki, superior general of Society of Christ for Polish immigrants and Jesuit Father John W. Swope, president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which is adjacent to the parish.

To view a slideshow of the event, navigate the arrows below.


Bishop Rozanski, who began and ended his homily in Polish, said Holy Rosary is “dedicated to our Polish heritage and Catholic faith.”

“Today is a time to remember and give thanks,” said Bishop Rozanski, who added may Holy Rosary “continue to shine as a beacon of hope.”

“The parish exists so that the name of God will be praised,” he said.   

An organ concert and banquet followed the Mass.

Parish council president John Gluth, 27, said the parish’s anniversary “meant a lot.”

“My family has been in this parish since 1919. It’s a big deal,” said Gluth, who called Bishop Rozanski’s homily “beautiful” and “very inspiring.” 

Parishioner Gregory Fudge said having the auxiliary bishops at the Mass “illustrated the true spirit of the church.”

“It’s just very encompassing of the true spirit of the Catholic Church,” Fudge said.

Christine Grabowski, co-chairperson of the 125 anniversary committee, said events are scheduled throughout the following year to celebrate the jubilee year, including 7 a.m. weekday Masses during Advent, an adult Bible study, Divine Mercy Sunday in April and a fall festival.
“This is a viable church,” Grabowski said. “There are so many activities here. It’s not just a church for the Polish community.” 

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Copyright (c) Dec. 10, 2012 CatholicReview.org 

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