St. Hedwig’s Church
One Depan Avenue
Floral Park, New York 11001
History of ST. Hedwig's Parish
1902 - 1977
Rev. Adolf Swierczynski (1902 - 1911)
Five years after his ordination to the priesthood in the Brooklyn Diocese. Rev Adolf Swierczynski was named as Pastor of St. Hedwig. His zeal for the glory of God and concern for the Polish Americans soon become evident to all. He immediately gathered the flock into a group with Floral Park as the central location, and Masses were held temporarily at the Filip Miller Hall at Miller Lane, New Hyde Park, New York.
Rev. Francis Wilamowski (1911 - 1968)
On August 11, 1911 Rev Francis Wilamowski was appointed the new Pastor of St. Hedwig’s. For the fallowing 41 years he served God and the many needs of the parishioners zealously and faithful. He will long be remembered for his priestly kindness and meekness. In May, 1926, Fr. Wilamowski expanded the school facilities into a new twelve- classroom building. In 1952, as the Parish was about to celebrate its Golden Jubilee, he renovated the Church interior; a new wood carved reredos for the Church Sanctuary was erected, and numerous other major improvements were made at this time. A new organ, pews, Stations of the Cross, and Baptismal Front were purchased and installed with the generous offering of the parishioners.
Msgr. Gervase Kubec (1958 - 1966)
After Rev. Wilamowski passed away in 1953, rev Gervase Kubec was named as Pastor to St. Hedwig’s Church. Shortly thereafter the rectory was enlarged to house all the Curates. Two new side entrances were created in front of the Church, and a new addition was made to the school. With the continued generous cooperation of the Parishioners and Societies and the capable leadership of the Parish Priests, the school enrollment reached its zenith: some 600 pupils in twelve classrooms. Truly it was the Golden Age of the Parish as Rev. Kubec celebrated his 50 th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood in 1955. Rev. Kubec was honored by his elevation to Monsignor in 1963. Later, land was purchased on the corner of Wills Ave. and Jericho Turnpike for the construction of a Parish Hall. This project was completed in 1967 and blessed by Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg. It was to serve for spiritual functions and alethic and social events. It consists of the air-conditioned floors: gymnasium, auditorium, and third floor. Though the Parish Hall was envisioned and planned by Msgr. Kubec, he did not live to see its completion; he died on November 29, 1966.
Rev. John Cwalina (1967 - 1971)
Rev. John Cwalina, once a curate at St. Hedwig;s and well known to the parishioners, was assigned as the new Pastor by Bishop Kellenberg in January 1967. He undertook the reorganization of some of the existing Parish societies to make them more efficient and meaningful. The Mothers Club and Altar Society were merged into the Rosary – Altar Society whose main function was to look after the needs of the Church while promoting devotion to Our Blessed lady. The Spiritual life of the Parish, especially the Liturgy, was updated in keeping with the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council and guidelines from our Bishop. Then, to give uniformity to all the Parish buildings, all were brick veneered. Rev. Cwalina was then transferred to Cutchogue, and Rev. Henry Gauer become our new Pastor in 1971.
Rev. Henry Gauer (1971 - 1974)
Under the capable leadership of Fr. Gauer, extensive renovations were made on the Parish school; a new Library and Physics Laboratory were made out of the existing cafeteria. A teacher’s Lounge and Principal’s Office were created out of one of the classrooms, the interior of the school was redecorated, and many classes were carpeted. The school not only improved in grandeur but also in curriculum. Then the interior of the Church was artistically painted and carpeted throughout, and a new side altar to Our Lady of Czestochowa was created in place of farmer Baptistry. Fr. Gauer also found time in his short ministry at St. Hedwig’s to make major improvements in the Convent. Late in 1973 Fr. Gauer took seriously ill and was hospitalized; he died on January 30, 1974.
Rev. Francis Filmanski (1974 - 2005)
Rev. Filmanski, was appointed administrator in January 1974, and he served in that capacity until he was installed as Pastor in June 1975. During his tenure the parish has been re-established on a firm financial basis, and the remaining mortgage was burned on April 23, 1977 at the Diamond Jubilee Banquet. With the continued zealous help and assistance of the Parish Priests, rev. Walter Swiatek, Rev. Roman Pabis, and Rev. John Siebor, much is begin accomplished for the glory of God and the good of all the Parishioners. With his vitality and outgoing manner, Rev. Filmanski has endeared himself to all the parishioners and has response from all with whom he has come in contact.
Rev. Edward Wawerski (2005 - 2011)
At St. Hedwig’s, Monsignor Wawerski began a major program of renovation of the parish plant. The over one hundred year old church building received a new roof and a refurbishing both inside and out. In the interior, Monsignor was careful to preserve the century-old character of the building for which the parishioners are grateful. The rectory and parish hall were also renovated and a new heating system was installed in all three buildings. The overwhelmingly positive reaction of the parishioners to the renovation program testifies to Monsignor’s empathy with the congregation. During Monsignor Wawerski’s pastorate the parish has continued to grow more diverse in terms of population and new devotions arising from popular appeal have both added to the traditional devotions which have always been a part of the parish.
Rev. Piotr Rozek (2011 - )