Parish History (Page 4 of 8)
1938 - 1961 (Part I)
When Father Mickun became pastor, the interior of St. Mary's had this appearance.
Interior of St. Mary's Prior to 1938
St. Mary's After the 1938 Renovation
1938 marked the Golden Jubilee of St. Mary's, so Father Mickun had to quickly paint the church and get the parish ready for its celebration. The major problem was the lack of funds in a parish that was in debt to the tune of $246,921.72 due to Father Melusecki's building program and the Great Depression. Father Mickun asked the parishoners for help and they responded by raising $16,500. Father Mickun used $6,200 to paint the interior of the church exclusive of the murals. The interior had probably not been painted since it was built in 1900. Much of the statuary was removed. One lady, long dead now, anonymously donated $2,500 which was used to install the first chandeliers installed in the church.
On Sunday, November 20, 1938 St. Mary's observed its Golden Jubilee with an 11:00 AM Mass celebrated by Msgr. J. Carroll McCormick, at that time Chancellor of the Archdiocese, in the presence of Bishop Hugh L. Lamb, then the Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia. Assisting were Fathers Francis Palecki, Ladislaus Sarama, and Joseph Zmijewski (later to become the Administrator of St. Mary's in 1942. The Sermon was preached by Father Julian Muraczewski, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Clifton Heights, NJ. That evening, at 7:00 PM, a banquet was served in the parish hall; the toastmaster was Father John Lorenc.
The painting of the church in 1938 was done by Henry Niemczynski and Sons of Flushing, Long Island. The statues and wooden altars were repainted as well as the the Stations of the Cross. The Gothic pulpit was cut down, repainted, and moved behind the altar rail. They also repainted the four murals in the front and rear of the side aisles, and added the seven murals of St. John the Baptist, St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr, St. Andrew Bobola, the Immaculate Conception, St. Casimir, St. Stanislaus Kostka, and St. Adalbert in the arches around the main altar.
These murals, with the exception of the Immaculate Conception, which was painted out in the 1963 renovation, still adorn the church. Below these murals are the Coats of Arms of various Polish cities.
Sacred Heart Side Altar
St. Joseph Side Altar
The main changes were the addition of a pulpit connected to the first left-hand column and the addition of a considerable number of statues. St. Mary's was quite an ornate chuch.
St. Mary Roman Catholic Church
250 South 12th St., Reading, PA 19602