Excerpts from Golden Jubilee Book-
St. George Parish, Chicago, Illinois
“Starting with the decade beginning with 1870, more and more Lithuanians found their way to the city of Chicago. After a few years the Lithuanians, as a racial group, found themselves in sufficient numbers to start their own organizations. Falling back on the traditions of their homeland they started to form organizations with a religious background. The logical step was to plan for the formation of a parish where the native tongue could be heard in divine services. In 1886 some of the more active Lithuanians organized St. Casimir’s Society, and Rev. F. Cizauskas of Holy Cross Congregation from South Bend, Indiana, began to attend to their spiritual needs.
As the number of Lithuanian immigrants to this country and tot his city daily increased, it did not take long for the society to become larger in number and more strenuous in activity.
This society in the very first year of its existence began to organize a Lithuanian parish and, with the assistance of Father Cizauskas, obtained permission and approval of His Grace Archbishop Feehan. In 1891 Rev. George Kolesisinskas took charge of the work organizing the parish. He bough 12 lots on the corner of Thirty Third Street and Auburn Avenue (now Lituanica) and also a little church of wooden structure from the German congregation.
On the 28th of January 1894, Rev. M. Krauciunas, newly arrived from Lithuania, was appointed pastor of St. George’s church and the same time took charge of it. In the same year he bought two more lots, erected a rectory and established a parish school. In a few years the number of Lithuanians have greatly increased, the capacity of the church became too small. In 1896 Father Krauciunas laid the foundation for a new brick building, which was completed in 1902. The church building is of Gothic style, acknowledged by experts to be among the foremost exponents of this style of architecture among the churches of Chicago. It has a seating capacity of 1200 persons.
In 1908 Father Krauciunas purchased three lots more and erected a three story brick building for a school, consisting of a school auditoriaum and sixteen classrooms. The school at its beginning in 1894 had only one lay teacher, Stanley Daugielowicz, and soon had four Sisters of Nazareth as teachers, and 150 children. Within the next two decades the school progressed to the point where it had more than 900 pupils. In 1916 the school was accredited by the Board of Education of the city of Chicago.
In 1918, as Father Krauciunas resigned, Rev. Michael L. Kruszas, the first officiaplly appointed assistant, was appointed pastor. He made an addition to the rectory and remodeled the church which was damaged by fire considerably just about that time. From 1918 to the present date Father Kruszas has been pastor. In 1924, because of his outstanding accomplishments, he was elevated to the dignity of Right Reverend Monsignor by the late Cardinal Mundelein. Since then the parish of St. George has set the standard of accomplishment among the Lithuanian parishes of the Middle West.
Today we celebrate the Fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of St. George’s parish – the oldest in the Middle West. The parish plant consists of a spacious church, a very ample school, rectory, and Sisters’ convent. The actual cash value of the various buildings reaches the sum of at least $350,000 dollars. At the present time, the parish is of such size that three assistant priests are necessary to supplement the work of the pastor. The assistants are: Rev. S. Caucias, Rev. F. Lukosius and Rev. J. Prunskis.
The Golden Jubilee year was formally opened on January 11, 1942. A Solemn High Mass was celebrated for the intention of the parishioners. On October 25, 1942 the Jubilee Mass was celebrated by the pastor, Monsignor Kruszas, with His Excellency, Archbishop Stritch attending. He gave the Jubilee sermon. A Jubilee Banquet took place on the same day in the parish auditorium.”
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