It's no secret that older inner-city Catholic churches are closing around the country. In fact, it's happening with alarming regularity. As populations have moved from city-centers to suburbs over the years, many churches are faced with severly declined parishes and expensive to maintain church buildings. The Polish Catholic community has been especially effected by this trend.
A new group has organized and is trying to do something to help out. The Polish American Catholic Heritage Committee met for the first time on June 29, 2007 in Philadelphia, PA. Their intention is to try to do on a national scale that which local groups around the country have been doing for some time now. And that is to work towards the betterment and continuence of Catholic Polonia and its parishes.
With that in mind, the group has established a web site at PolAmCatholic.com . The web site is in the beginning stages but already has a nice start. It incluces a map of the Polonia communities around the country, a list of some current PolAm Catholic churches, and a start on a list of closed PolAm parishes. They've set up a blog (though they call it a newsletter) that has a few entries but hasn't been updated since mid July. There's also a nice start on photo and video galleries on the site.
The group is looking for anyone anywhere around the country who might like to get involved in this very worthy cause. If you think you might be interested, check out their web site or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The next meeting is planned for October or November.
The old Polish churches were religious, cultural, and social centers for our Polish immigrant ancestors. They were often the defining points of PolAm communities. As such they hold a great deal of history about our ancestors and in many instances baptismal, communion/confirmation, marriage, and death records of them also. As you may know, the preservation of these old churches and parish families is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. If you are at all interested, I urge you to join a group (locally or nationally) and help be a guardian of what was the center of your Polish immigrant ancestor's world. Do it now, before it's too late.