History of Polish Community in Brantford Vol. 3
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History of Polish Community in Brantford Vol. 3

Returning to the years which preceded World War II, as the number of Polish immigrants increased in Brantford, the need of accommodating them with a Polish-speaking  priest became urgent. In 1936, the Most Rev. Joseph F. Ryan, J.C.D., D.D., bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, appointed the Rev. Thomas Terasiuk, Ph.D. to organize a parish for the Poles in Brantford. Previously to this, Father Tarasiuk had been in charge of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Stanislaus in Hamilton. He arrived in the Telephone City during November of 1936 and took up residence in the rectory of St. Basil's church, using again its old chapel for his religious services.
In February, 1938, Father Terasiuk was in a position to purchase an abondend church at the corner of Brant Avenue and St. James Street. Cost of the property and the building was $10,000. Within a few weeks, necessary alterations were made within the building, an altar was added, and the church edifice was dedicated by Bishop Ryan on February 27, 1938. At the same time, Dr. Terasiuk purchased the property adjacent to the church. The small home on this property was converted into a rectory. Actually the house was so small that it was necessary to use the office as a bedroom.
It may sound trite by this time to say that the beginnings of this new Catholic church in Brantford were difficult. But it was true. The church was no exception. It had to undergo the same financial difficulties which afflicted the Polish lay organizations in their beginnings. But it survived. Through the entire thirteen-year pastoral ministry of Dr. Tarasiuk in the Polish parish of St. Joseph's there is visible the thread of continual sacrifice and hard work by him and his people.
Due to the serious illness of Father Terasiuk in 1947, the Rev. Joseph Wisniewski of the Fathers of the Congregation of the Resurrection, came from Chicago, Illinois, to assist in the pastoral duties of St. Joseph's parish. After the death of Father Terasiuk the parish remained under the care of this same Congregation of the Resurrection.
On January 1, 1949, the Rev. John A. Poreda, C.R. became pastor of St. Joseph's. With the arrival of the Rev. Mitchell J. Tadla, C.R. as an assistant to Father Poreda, more living space was needed. With this in mind, Father Poreda purchased the property on 235 Brant Avenue. Improvements were added to the old rectory and it became convent for two Felician Sisters. Eventually, though, these nuns left Brantford when it became evident that no elementary school would be attached to St. Joseph's.
The church was badly in need of renovation, but it was not until 1954 that something could be done about this. On January 1, 1954, the Rev. Walter L. Baran, C.R. was inducted as pastor of St. Joseph's. It was his good fortune to commission a gifted immigrant Polish artist, Charles Malczyk, to do a series of historical scenes from Poland's religious life. Mr. Malczyk, also a new arrival in Canada and residing in Windsor, had been touring Ontario in the hope of finding some work for his artistic talents. And so it was a happy encounter for Mr. Malczyk and the parish of St. Joseph's. Unfortunately, Father Baran's tenure at the parish was short. On August 29, 1954, the Rev. Edward J. Gira, C.R., Ph.D., D. D., was reassigned from his post as professor at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, to the pastorship of St. Joseph's. It was under his guiding hand that the renovation of the church took place.
In a short time St. Joseph's took on the breath-taking splendor of the churches in the Old World. Using a combination of light and shade and vivid color, Mr. Malczyk's work was reminder of Poland's glorious past, at the same time inspiring the viewer with a hope for a great future. This was the purpose of the gifted 46-years-old Polish painter. He wished to strengthen the morale and bolster the courage of these Polish people who had suffered so much for the country and the church, depicting the ruins of Warsaw in the Second World War where Poland kneels symbolically in the figure of a monk before the Crucified Christ. Striking also among the paintings is the mural of the Last Supper. It was often the main attraction for visitors to the church.
It must be emphasized that the renovation of St. Joseph's church was also a common effort of the Polish community in Brantford. It offered its talents, of which there was abundance, and was generous with its time and labor, for the Pole is a member of a proud nation whose citizens have accepted for centuries as their own the motto, "For God and Country." He deeply honors and respects that title. 
The redecoration of the church took one full year to accomplish and, when it was completed, it was followed by a solemn ceremony of rededication, conducted by Bishop Joseph F. Ryan on January 6, 1955. The Polish community was now the proud possessor of a beautiful church. 

Through the years other changes have been made in the church to enhance its beauty. The church grounds have been landscaped and offered charming view to visitors entering the city. Under its pastoral care, in one way or another, was over 3,000 Polish people within a fifteen-mile radius of Brantford, proven to be the steadying element in the Polish community.

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Photo Gallery
CLICK HERE to view list with names of all Past Presidents since establishment of the Brantford Polish Mutual Benefit and Friendly Society, from 1927 until now.
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Brantford's Polish Senior Citizens 1967 Centennial Year
Front Row: Mrs. S. Wolski, 88; Mrs. A. Smierciak, 90; Mrs. A Drozdz, 77.
Second Row: Mr. Peter Wiacek, 77; Mr. Stanley Neziol, 93; Mr. Joseph Wiacek, 82.
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POLISH DANCE "KRAKOWIAK"
We have just the right place for your next Super Bowl Party, Soccer Party or any other Theme Night. Affordable rental for your entertainment needs. Please
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