History of the Community
- 1905: Mary Jordan, an ex-slave (along with her husband, Valentine Jordan), observed the excellent instruction students received from Ursuline Nuns. Although non-Catholics, they agreed that it would be good to have a Catholic church and school in their community. Jordan met with Bishop Edward Joseph Dunne and made her request. At that time, construction of Sacred Heart Cathedral was complete. Bishop Dunne had the former procathedral structure rebuilt at the corner of Allen and Cochran street (today, Woodall Rodgers), which today is St. Peter.
- 1905: Josephine Father John J. Ferdinand was the first pastor of St. Peter, which cornerstone dates 1905 .
- 1907: Arrangements were made by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who provided $2,500, and Bishop Dunne for the erection of an industrial school for “colored people.”
- 1908: With financial aid from Saint Katharine Drexel, the first Catholic school for black children in the Diocese of Dallas was established.
- 1910: On September 4, the Sister Servants of the Holy Ghost and Mary Immaculate of San Antonio arrive to Dallas to teach at the school. They staffed the institution along with Mary Catherine Muse, who was the first lay teacher of the school. Only three of the students were Catholic.
- 1922: A four-year high school program was added.
1927: Mary Jordan becomes a Catholic through baptism and the profession of faith.
1930: The school name is changed to the St. Peter Parochial School.
1939: St. Peter Parochial School becomes accredited and the name is changed to St. Peter Academy.
1954: The old structure of the school is demolished. A new building is established by Hoblitzelle’s contribution of $100,000 as well as the generous contributions of Tom Braniff and Ed Maher. The building serves the community until present day . The dedication of school is led by Bishop Thomas Gorman on December 5.
1955: The old cathedral building is demolished and a new church is built.
1957: The new St. Peter church is dedicated by Bishop Thomas Gorman on June 22.
1960: A new highway, Woodall Rodgers Freeway, adjacent to St. Peter’s site, causes a displacement of the population.
1970: On July 27, the Josephites leave St. Peter and plans are made for a diocesan priest to be assigned. St. Peter’s Academy continues as a private school staffed by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit.
1986: The Diocese, with the agreement of parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle, designates Saint Peter as a place of worship for Polish Catholics. On February 2, the Polish community celebrates its first Mass in Polish. Pastoral care of Saint Peter Parish was entrusted to the priest from Society of Christ Fathers. Father Czesław Domaszewicz was named the first pastor of St. Peter from that congregation.
1987: Representatives of Saint Peter’s parish participate in Holy Mass led by Pope John Paul II at Westover Hills in San Antonio, TX along with around 350,000 other faithful. His visit in Texas was part of his tour through the United States between September 10th and 19th.
1988: The beatification of Saint Katharine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People (1891) and benefactor of The Sisters Institute, is held on November 20th (and led by Pope John Paul II).
1989: On December 9th, John Paul II appoints a Coadjutor Bishop in Dallas - Charles Victor Grahmann. He became Bishop of Dallas on July 14, 1990.
1990: On December 1st, Father John Michalski, S.Ch. is nominated as pastor of Saint Peter’s Parish after Fr. Czesław Domaszewicz, S.Ch.
1991: On May 17th, Bishop Charles Grahmann visited Saint Peter and confirmed 19 candidates.
1992: The Superior General of the Society of Christ Fathers, Fr. Bogusław Nadolski, S.Ch., visited the Saint Peter community on August 25-27.
1993: Several St. Peter parishioners attended the World Youth Day conference and an audience with Pope John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.
1994: On September 4th, the parish community welcomes its new pastor, Fr. Stanisław Michałek, S.Ch.
1995: In March, a Lenten mission is led by Fr. Gerald Grupczynski, S.Ch. for both the African-American and Polish communities.
1996: A memorial plaque is dedicated in front of Saint Peter’s Church to commemorate its 90th anniversary on September 22nd.
1997: On May 16th, Bishop John W. Yanta, Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio (of Polish origin), confirms 20 candidates.
1998: Between October 23rd and 25th, a multi-cultural parish festival is held.
1999: A second multi-cultural parish festival is held between October 22nd and 24th.
2000: In August, construction begins on the new church tower. On November 26th, representatives of the parish community participated in a symposium (organized by Bishop Grahmann and held at the Meyerson Symphony Center): The Jubilee Year and the Life of His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
2001: Father Stan Michalek, S.Ch., introduces to the parish community his successor, Father Wojciech Baryski, S.Ch., on the weekend of September 30th.
2002: In August, the parish community is visited by Fr. Gerard County CSSp, a missionary priest working in Kenya.
2003: Renovations begin in late April on the interior of the church building. In November, Leszek & Maria Nazarko sponsor an ‘Evening with Eugenia Korfanty’ to celebrate Mrs. Korfanty’s decades’ long service within the Polish community.
2004: In January, silver jubilants Waldemar & Ewa Mikulik fund a new monstrance for the church. Later that month, the Bishop of Dallas approves the renovation of the front entrance to the church building. In March, Jan Sztaba shares with the community his experiences while being held as a prisoner in Auschwitz during WWII.
2005: Hundreds gather at St. Peter’s on the evening of April 2, as news spreads quickly of Pope John Paul II’s passing. Two weeks later, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is elected as his successor. In October, the Polish Association of Texas hosts a 25th anniversary celebration of the Polish Solidarity movement.
2006: In January, Sr. Aureline Czerwiec, CSFN, - St. Peter’s devoted office secretary - passes away. Later, in July, the Polish community mourns the passing of Eugenia Korfanty.
2007: On March 6, Pope Benedict XVI names the new Bishop of Dallas, Bp. Kevin J. Farrell. In October, the Polish community hosts an evening with author and poet Edward Gorecki, sponsored by the Polish Association of Texas.
2008: On March 30, Divine Mercy Sunday, the newly installed stained glass window depicting the Divine Mercy of Jesus is blessed and dedicated. On June 29, Fr. Wojciech Baryski, SCh, introduced to St. Peter’s Parish his successor - Fr. Stanislaw Poszwa, Sch.
2009: On April 21, over one hundred parishioners and visitors gathered at the funeral Mass for Holocaust survivor and longtime St. Peter’s parishioner, Jan Sztaba.
2010: The weekend of 13-14 November marks the 25th anniversary of the Polish Apostolate and the service of the Society of Christ Fathers at St. Peter’s Parish in Dallas.
2011: On the first of May, a Mass of thanksgiving is held for the beatification of John Paul II. A Polish festival follows later that month.
2012: In mid August, Fr. Stan Poszwa introduces to the parish his successor, Fr. Edward Traczyk, S.Ch.
2013: Fr. Marek Poroczynski visits St. Peter’s in the midst of the Year of Faith for a special series of homilies.
2014: Following the destruction of the original and historic St. Peter statue at the forefront of the church building, is replaced by the new statue - St. Peter: The Fisher of Men.
2015: In June, the reconstruction of the Notre Dame School begins - a private Catholic school serving disabled children, which the church community utilizes for social gatherings and fund raising efforts. During his service in Dallas, Fr. Edward celebrates monthly Masses with the school children. On August 17th, Fr. Edward Traczyk introduces to the parish community his successor, Fr. Jacek Nowak, SChr.
To be continued…
Past is prologue