Strength of Faith.

“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.”

Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. We are focusing on our growth in Strength of Faith.

Today, in our exploration of Strength of Faith we encounter a problem that seems to have been a long-lasting one. In fact, it stretched from the time of Moses (and likely well before) to the time of Jesus and on to today. It is the problem, some would say of jealousy, but more in-fact it is about maturity of faith.

In both cases, the Spirit of God moves among His people. In Moses’ time it was the chosen seventy elders. In Jesus’ time, it was those who were moved to do mighty things in Jesus’ name.

In Jesus’ time, the people who set out to do work in His Name “felt” Him in their hearts, perhaps after hearing Him, or maybe just hearing of Him. They were motivated to do what many who encountered Jesus could not do, i.e., set aside their lives, careers, fortunes and go out to work for God. That took maturity and strength of faith.

See the juxtaposition of people who carried out the Spirit’s work in strength and maturity of faith – fearless and those who were not so sure. In both cases, the strength and maturity of those called to act kept the Holy Spirit’s good work moving.

Well, here we are, 2021. The Spirit of God is among and within us. This perspective on strength and maturity of faith cannot be more apropos to our upcoming centennial celebration and our honoring the work of the Polish National Union today. In both these cases, the Holy Spirit inspired people to work in Jesus Holy Name and accomplish amazing things. They in turn set aside all else to do what the Spirit called them to do. They acted with strength and maturity of faith, not jealously, nor apprehension, sure of their footsteps for they knew Jesus was walking with them.

Were there people like John going to Jesus or the young man who ran to Moses saying, hey look what they are doing, let’s stop them? Certainly! Yet here is where strength and maturity combine to get God’s work done. A person who refuses to grow in strength of faith will not step forward. A person without maturity of faith will constantly question the Holy Spirit’s direction, and if challenged they will stop.

In the end, and this is the struggle, we are called to trust. We are never called to build roadblocks or speed bumps; we must not stop. We are called to say yes to the inspiration in us, to act maturely and to remain strong doing the Sprit’s work.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I have a box. For those who get to church early enough or stay late enough, for the past two years you have seen me walking in and out of church with an old broken down box. The box is my briefcase of sorts. My family often comments: Why don’t you get rid of that old box and just get a briefcase? I don’t say much. I like my box.

This month’s scripture, taken from Matthew 6:33 reminds us of priorities – what comes first, what is most important: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

The box is a reminder to me of what we are celebrating this year, and in a special way how we will begin the month of October. One-hundred years ago people in Schenectady packed bags and boxes. They did not have much. They tread on foot to the corner of Raymond and Van Vranken to build a new church. This would be a church providing them the freedom to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Not long before this momentous event in 1921, these very same people packed boxes and bags and trunks to emigrate to the United States. They sought a better life and the opportunity to add good things to their lives – the dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What is worthy of not just celebration, but also emulation, is that these founders did not separate or compartmentalize seeking the kingdom, righteousness, and a better life. They saw them as God’s way-of-life. They listened to what St. James pointed out: Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God (James 1:17). As we celebrate the centennial of our wonderful parish, as we reflect on the good gifts we have received, let us remember those bags, boxes, and trunks. Let us recall that the search for truth and the achievement of victory took work and struggle. Most importantly, may we too live seeking what is important first, and all these things will be added to us.


Welcome to our September 2021 Newsletter. We are one-month away from our grand centennial celebration and September holds a wide variety of worship events leading up to this momentous occasion. Check out the October 1st through 3rd centennial schedule. In September we celebrate Labor Day, Brotherly Love Sunday, and Back to Church Sunday (who will you invite?). We commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11/2001. We reflect on our summer events and the great things accomplished in our parish, including astounding generosity. Ready for coffee hour? It’s back starting September 12th. Ready for daily Holy Masses? They are returning to parish life. Pray in advance of our Diocesan Synod and reflect on walking with God and each other.

All that we do, all accomplished, a future filled with hope is by God’s good grace and YOUR love and commitment. Thank you!

Check out all this and more here in our September 2021 Newsletter.

May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.

As this newsletter is being written we are preparing for summer youth events throughout our Church. Our church has always had a focus on the success of our children. Scripture tells us to take the time and to make the effort to instruct our children in the knowledge of the Lord such that our work in building the kingdom might continue to its success. In Psalm 144 we find David writing after his taking the throne. Even though victorious, it did not mean problems were over. In this psalm, David acknowledges triumph and thankfulness brought about by the great goodness of God. We must acknowledge that we have no victory apart from Him. David then prays for God’s help against current enemies. We must be ever watchful and turn to God for His constant protection. David then rejoices because he acknowledges God’s assurance of victory. We must not be people of fear, but rather of trust in victory. David then prays for the prosperity of his own kingdom and celebrates in the youth coming up in faith. So we must work for the future of the Kingdom and for our children’s faith. God’s blessings works wonders for us. So too for our children if we take the time and raise them in the Church. David prays as we should; that our sons be like strong, well rooted, young trees, which promise leadership toward great things. David prays that daughters be as corner stones, polished as a palace. Daughters unite us as corner stones join walls together. They do the work of knitting us together in our actions for God, in being leaders toward the kingdom of God. When we develop young men and women in holiness we will have joy in them and winners for God. Supported in their knowledge of the Lord we can be assured our children will achieve victory for the kingdom.

Welcome to our Summer 2021 Newsletter. We have tons of events going on this summer for youth and adults, for the sports minded and the musically inclined. These include the annual Kurs Youth Encampment, the National United Choirs Convention and Workshop, our Annual Parish Community Picnic (August 22nd on the parish grounds), and the YMSofR Golf Outing. We are engaged in prayer prior to this November’s Diocesan Synod as well as prayer for our country and for our youth. We have an update on our painting and refurbishment project (we are done – and your help in underwriting the costs would be really appreciated), our Centennial Raffle is in full swing (get your tickets soon), and we reflect on the danger of faithless shepherds and pray for clergy who have gone astray.

All that and more in our July/August 2021 Newsletter.

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Abide is a great word. It is a word with depth to it. We might think of similar words like remain or stay, but abide, that’s deeper. St. John writes about the meaning of abide in that deeper sense. It is not about just hanging out. Having invited folks to come over we might even invite them to stay or remain, but rarely do we ask people to abide with us – to stay forever. You see, stay and remain are time constrained words. Abide implies permanence, to persist, continue, and last. In abiding we go on without ending. To abide means we are in a stable and fixed state of relationship. In the phrase “abide in Me,” (John 15:4) which is May 2nd’s gospel, Jesus asks us, His followers, to stay constant in our relationship with Him, to live with Him in His gospel way forever. To abide, to stay forever in relationship with Jesus, is at the heart of the Christian journey. Our abiding with Him means we are incorporated into His Body and that we have accepted the responsibility of living out the gospel walk. We have received the gospel, God’s very word. Receipt of the gospel means more than just having a bible on the shelf, for if we have come to Christ by faith and have given Him our lives, then He has invited us to abide – in all that word means and implies. In this month of May, as Spring blooms about us, it is opportune to ask ourselves – where do I abide? Do I walk in Christ’s gospel way? Those who abide are changed outwardly and inwardly. The daily cares of the world continue, but impact us far less. In the Church of Hebrews and in Acts, people lost everything, homes, possessions, freedom – yet they counted it as nothing because they did not abide in the world. They knew where their home was, where the promise was. So they lived as citizens of heaven and as people freed from anything that might have constrained them, particularly the cares of the world. Let us who abide in Jesus then walk His way, free in His promise forever.

May and our Easter journey abiding in the True Vine continues. We also honor our Blessed Mother Mary, relying on her intercession for us as we continue moving forward.

This month’s newsletter is jammed packed with information. Summer activities, including the Annual Men’s Retreat and the Kurs Encampment are on. Learn about and get in on Great Centennial Raffle. We reflect on all the joys we experienced in April as we continue in Easter joy. We honor Mary in a special way this month as we also honor all our moms. We celebrate on Ascension Thursday as we look forward in hope to our risen life in the eternal kingdom. We have special gifts for you from the Annual Mission and Evangelism Workshop, “Discovering the PNCC.” We reflect on the discipleship example of Bl. Joseph Padewski. And… we look forward to the renovation of our church interior. That and so much more…

Check out all this and more here in our May 2021 Newsletter.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

This Easter Season is marked by the particular joy of being together in-person in church once again. The beauty of each of your faces, your smiling eyes, the thanksgiving, the song, the praise reverberate with that joy. One year ago we could not gather in-person. We did not know what might happen. Would the parish survive? Would we ever gather again? How will I shop? How will I obtain my most essential needs? Most of us had never faced a challenge of the magnitude brought about by COVID-19. We deeply felt the loss of normalcy. The questions and the fears were natural. Tears were natural. Yet, in spite of those rightly placed feelings and fears, the parish persisted. Prayer and supplication were made for each of you, our entire Church, the nation, and the world. Holy Masses were offered. God’s mercy was called upon in Jesus’ Holy Name. Prayers of intercession were offered to the Blessed Virgin. Yes, throughout it all, the parish bore on, carrying out its witness before the world. Your discipleship fought against despair. The greatest testimony of the time was the gift of perseverance all of you, the parishioners, friends, and members of Holy Name of Jesus were graced with. You did not throw in the towel, nor would you even think of allowing for defeat. By God’s grace the parish not only survived, but grew and was strengthened. Your hearts were uplifted, but not only. The hearts and minds of countless others known and unknown encountered our witness to our risen Lord and Savior. We bore witness in ways seen and unseen, by prayer, outreach, charity, kindness, and sacrifice. Because of what we did together, witnessing to the might of Jesus’ Holy Name, grace continues to abound. The Lord Almighty is the creator of the times and the seasons. He chastises, but also lifts up. He tests and rewards those who bear up. You, my brothers and sisters, have borne up mightily in witness to the power of the Risen One in our lives.

April brings us again to Easter joy. Celebrating Easter in our 100th year as a parish recalls past joys and resurrects our hope for the future. Abundant blessings are being received as we continue moving forward.

This month we focus on Mother Teresa as a faithful disciple of our Lord who lived her life in a beautiful way showing unconditional love. We celebrate the return of two Holy Masses on Sundays and the regular reception of Holy Communion. We remind ourselves of our Sunday obligation which, first and foremost, requires our presence in church each Sunday. We learn various ways of giving the Easter greeting in many languages. Check out information on our Music Scholarship program. We look forward to this summer’s national activities, the Men’s Retreat and the Kurs Encampment for children and youth. Read our special thank you for great work and a beautiful donation. And, we also share more of our 100 years of memories.

Check out all this and more here in our April 2021 Newsletter.

Our parish has some really amazing artifacts, part of the wonderful legacy we have inherited. Among these are:

The chandelier at the center of the church’s nave: The chandelier came from the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs. The chandelier had been located in the grand parlor of the hotel. The historic hotel began as a boarding house built by Gideon Putnam in 1802, and eventually grew into the world’s largest hotel. The hotel was demolished between 1952 and 1953. Ironically, after it was demolished the hotel’s vacant lot became the site of a Grand Union Supermarket.

The church’s bells: We are still trying to track down the history of the church’s two bells. Thankfully, those glorious bells (a great bell and a tolling bell) are still in place and functional. Parish lore informs us that the bells were forged at the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in Schenectady where many of our parishioners worked.

Tadeusz Kszesniak created the Szopka which has been displayed in our church for the Christmas season for over 30 years. Tadeusz immigrated from Poland in the late 1970’s. Tadeusz had offered his artwork to St. Paul’s R.C. parish in Schenectady where it was rejected. He approached Stefan Węglinski from our parish who gladly accepted it.

Our 100th Anniversary web page at has a listing of all benefactors and what they donated.

Stay tuned for more to come – and comment if you are in the picture.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention…

Joseph, the man, the myth, the legend, the reality.

There is so much tradition around St. Joseph, whether it be his particular patronages, to the myths that surround his intercession, that we tend to lose the reality of the man. The myth and legend sort of push out Joseph’s reality. So today, on the Solemnity dedicated to his role as the spouse of the Blessed Virgin, let us focus on his reality. That is where we, as followers of Jesus, can take instruction and improve in our discipleship. 

Let us look at those words found in today’s Gospel which focus on Joseph’s reality.

He decided.
He intended.

Don’t we all do that. The old saying, ‘The best laid plans…’ Like St. Joseph, we decide things, we intend things, yet in all those thoughts and plans we often find God taking us by surprise. St. Joseph certainly did. He found himself with a wife, and a soon to be born child. He found his life trajectory now subject to change.

His trajectory would be affected not just by God, but also by the political machinations of his day. Suddenly, off to Bethlehem of Judea for a census ordered by Caesar since he was of the house and lineage of David. Nathan’s communication of God’s promise to David would be fulfilled in that. David’s throne is now forever since his descendant, Jesus, the Christ, sits upon it and reigns from it.

From there, Joseph is to be affected by the murderous intents of Herod. Joseph, take your wife and the Child and go into Egypt. Well, that’s new. Then, Herod dies. Joseph, go back, but not to Judah, you have to move to Nazareth in Galilee. 

I do not think many of Joseph’s plans, aspirations, decisions, or intentions worked out the way he planned. On top of all that, he and Mary sort of existed in a constant state of wonderment – What did Simeon’s statement about Jesus mean? Why did Jesus say what He did after remaining behind in the temple?

In our discipleship journey, the best lesson we can take from St. Joseph is his complete trust in God’s plan, ears that listened to and accepted God’s word, and a willingness to go in a direction that was not in his personal game plan. St. Joseph teaches us to accept God’s plan with great patience and trust. His example calls us to live that patience and trust, to go God’s way, in an upright, virtuous, and moral manner.

One hundred years ago a group of people, right here in Schenectady, got thrown off kilter. Everything they thought would happen, everything they had planned for went away. They had already faced changes they might not have otherwise imagined, crossing the ocean, third-class steerage, and arriving in a new country, often without any resources other than hope. Once relatively established and in place the next challenge arose. They had to set off in a different direction so to honestly and forthrightly follow God’s Holy Word, the Gospel way. They had to trust in God Who was showing them the path to faithfulness. This they did, taking St. Joseph as the patron for this journey. How apropos! How right they were.

Like Joseph, the surprises kept coming, and the road was not easy or smooth for those people, yet they prevailed, and today we walk in the footsteps they first trod. How blessed we are to be Jesus’ disciples and heirs to holy St. Joseph’s beautiful legacy right here in Schenectady.

Certainly, St. Joseph will continue to intercede for each of us, as immigrants, caretakers, husbands, fathers, foster parents, expectant mothers, workers, and for a peaceful falling asleep in the Lord. Who knows, he may even intercede for the sale of our homes…

More importantly, as we continue our journey, let us be imitators of St. Joseph’s reality, ever ready to say yes to God’s promptings; to go in a direction we otherwise would not. Let us be ready to go and to build. May we trust in God’s way. So too, let us remain loyal to the Blessed Mother Mary by properly honoring her and most of all, let us love Jesus above all by walking as Joseph did. Amen.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now

In this, our centennial year, we are taking opportunities to look back with thankfulness and ahead with determination. It seems that along with the blessings of this year we have experienced the blessing of an ever more active parish. Things are going full steam ahead and are only going to increase. Just consider our Lenten journey. It is not only Holy Mass on Sundays, but also Stations on Fridays, Bitter Lamentations every other Wednesday, as well as ongoing Together in Faith and Love Zoom meetings every Thursday, time spent at the parish working on our centennial plans, and undertaking projects that need doing. We have an exceptionally rich heritage of prayer, music, and service before the Lord and we have been blessed more than abundantly. We share that abundance both in the parish building and virtually on Facebook and YouTube. The scripture quote above comes from Romans 13:11. It falls under the scriptural category of heritage. This passage reminds us that heritage is not a stagnant looking back, but rather a light guiding our preparation for the future, looking forward, constantly growing. In this Season of Lent and this centennial year let us resolve to press ever onward, eyes forward, to the salvation promises made to us on Easter: Freedom from every evil; Full possession of all that is good and glorious; Growth and increase in the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit; Being brought nearer to the saints; and Greater enjoyment of God’s marvelous love than we had when we first believed.

March and we are living out our Lenten journey. Lent in our 100th year as a parish allows us to use our past and heritage as a light guiding our preparation for the future. Abundant blessings are being received as we move forward.

This month we focus on Blessed Francis Hodur and making Christ’s principles and teachings more effective and evident in our discipleship journey. We hold our annual budget meeting, a tradition and obligation instituted by those who organized our parish – honoring each person’s voice and vote in the governance of the parish and the management of its funds. Our Valentine’s Raffle winners are announced. In our centennial article we focus on special items we have inherited. We will celebrate our next centennial event on the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19th) at 7pm. Information is provided on our national virtual Lenten retreat (March 23rd). And… you can donate to purchase a Blessed Polish Easter Basket.

Check out all this and more here in our March 2021 Newsletter.

Organizations

Our parish was blessed with many organizations and societies that have worked to build up membership, the youth of the parish, our financial security, educational achievement, and to ensure an environment of glorious worship. These included:

The Chopin Male Chorus, the Harmonia and Concordia Choirs, Branch 56 of the Young Men’s Society of the Resurrection, The Women’s Adoration Society, two relief societies: the Men’s St. Joseph Society and the Women’s Maria Konopnicka Society, an educational group: “Ognisko,” The Girl’s — Children of Mary (Dzieci Maryi) and the Young Men’s — Defender’s Society (Obrońców Kościoła Narodowego), a Mother’s Club, and Branch 140 of the Polish National Union, Spójnia.

We will continue to bring you snippets of history throughout 2021 and will keep you informed as to the many spiritual, liturgical, and social events planned for the celebration.

Foundations

Our parish was initially founded as St. Joseph’s parish on Raymond Street in Schenectady in 1921 and was formally incorporated on June 5, 1922.

St. Joseph’s parish experienced a fire on Good Friday in April 1935, and it had hoped to remain open to serve the Northside neighborhood. At that time land had also been purchased on Pearl St. in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood for the foundation of a second parish, Holy Name of Jesus.

Work started immediately on the construction of a new parish based on architectural drawings by E.G. Atkinson. The members of the new parish built the edifice by hand. Construction costs were initially estimated at $261,625.

Unfortunately, the continuance of St. Joseph’s parish could not be fulfilled, so the two parishes were combined and Holy Name of Jesus was formally incorporated on July 27, 1937.

We will continue to bring you snippets of history throughout 2021 and will keep you informed as to the many spiritual, liturgical, and social events planned for the celebration. Also see our 100th Anniversary page.