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Electric City Immigrants: Italians and Poles of Schenectady, N.Y., 1880-1930
Chapter 2: Fraternal Societies and Churches

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[This information is from pp. 52-98 of Electric City Immigrants: Italians and Poles of Schenectady, N.Y., 1880-1930 by Dr. Robert R. Pascucci (State University of New York at Albany, Department of History, 1984). It is copyrighted by Dr. Pascucci and reproduced here with his permission. It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 325.24 PAS.]

To satisfy a need for fellowship among kinsmen and provide assistance for families in the event of sickness or death, the immigrants formed a variety of benevolent societies. Through these organizations, Italians and Poles were able to experience a full associational life amidst familiar surroundings which helped ease the difficulties of adjusting to life in their new environment. In 1892, seventeen Schenectady Italians organized the Società Unione Fratellanza and elected as its first president, Stephen Abba, a skilled machinist at General Electric. The following year, Pasquale DeMarco succeeded to the presidency and held the office throughout the decade. The membership, which grew to forty by 1900, consisted mainly of the more successful, especially those in business, the so-called "prominenti." Included in this group, besides banker-barber DeMarco, were a storekeeper (Anthony Della Rocca), a barber-saloonkeeper (Anthony Riccio) and a grocer-banker (Albert Lenta). (1)

The Fratellanza remained the only fraternal society until the formation in 1900 of the Società Giuseppe Garibaldi, a combination political (GOP) club and mutual benefit society. Many of the same individuals belonged to both the Fratellanza and the Garibaldi Society. In fact, Stephen Abba, who was the first to head the older group, became the first president of the Garibaldians. Strong competition for the presidency, a position of prestige in the community and a vehicle for exercising political influence, resulted in three leaders in as many years. Anthony Della Rocca replaced Abba and was, in turn, succeeded by Mike DeFeo who held on to the top post for years and moved the society's headquarters to his saloon on Westinghouse Avenue in the Fifth Ward. According to the Daily Union, the unsuccessful attempt to expel the popular John Nicodemi from membership stemmed from DeFeo's fear of a potential rival for leadership in the society. Commanding the group's political marching club, whose members dressed in alpine uniforms, Nicodemi received his education in Naples, attending school until he was eighteen. Enlisting in the cavalry for four years, he served as a fencing master, attaining the rank of sergeant. Upon his discharge, he became a steward and worked on the estates of several noblemen until emigrating to America. In 1896, Nicodemi arrived in Schenectady and found work at the General Electric Company.(2)

The continued influx of Italians to Schenectady allowed several societies to be organized on the basis of a particular region and (in one case) commune of origin. Too few to gather together with others from the same region, northern Italians, Stephen Abba, Albert Lenta and four others, formed, in 1902, The Benevolent Brotherhood for the Sons of Northern Italy, popularly known as the Alta Italia Society. (3) Although approximately 60 percent of Schenectady Italians were natives of the region surrounding Naples (Campania), no provincial or even regional organization was ever formed by those from there. However, one communal society was established (the only one in Schenectady) among the fellow townsmen of Pasquale DeMarco from Alvignano (province of Caserta) — The Society of the Laboring Men of Alvignano. One of the early members, Pasquale Giaquinto, left home in 1886 and settled in New Haven, where a colony of Alvignese also existed, before joining relatives in Schenectady. In later years, an Alvignano Ladies Society was created. And in the 1930s, a committee was formed of Alvignese and those from neighboring Dragoni for the purpose of honoring their towns' protector, San Fernando. Each year on the saint's name day, a festa was celebrated by a mass and then a street fair on North Jay Street. (4)

In 1912, the first regional benefit society was organized, the Societa Abruzzese, which consisted of immigrants from Abruzzi-Molise on the Adriatic Coast. Almost 60 percent of these Italians came from the province of Chieti (Abruzzi), and 30 percent from the province of Campobasso (Molise). Within a few years, the society had seventy-two members. Other regional groups followed the example of the Abruzzese. In the 1920s, both the Calabrians and Sicilians organized, and Italians from the Rome area (Lazio) formed the Societa Laziale in 1930. The largest of the societies, however, were those affiliated with the Sons of Italy, a growing national organization. During World War I, three local lodges appeared: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Oltre Oceano and the women's group, Pieta D'Amore. (5)

In a typical mutual benefit society, a member paid monthly dues of fifty cents and was entitled to six dollars a week (for a maximum of twelve weeks) for periods of illness, and fifty dollars in the event of death. The payment of the mortuary benefit, following the death of Joseph Catenaccio, however, created considerable anger among the membership of one society. Catenaccio had joined on May 1, 1905, and died seven days later. All were required to attend the funeral services of a deceased member. Joseph Banco was "borne to the grave with military honors," accompanied by a brass band and his former Garibaldi Society dressed in full regalia. (6)

The monthly meetings of the Abruzzese Society provide a look at the varied activities of an immigrant fraternal organization. Periodic disbursements were made to Dr. Arnaldo Samorini for attending to sick members, and providing physical examinations to those applying for membership. The payment of sick benefits ($1.50 a day) was approved, generally for five or more days, for those unable to work (most often the result of an injury on the job). Although the mortuary fund was little used during the early years of the society, all too frequently the death of a member's child occurred and an appropriation was approved for the purchase of a wreath (ten dollars) and the rental of a carriage (fifteen dollars) for the funeral procession in which rode four representatives of the organization. Failure to attend brought a five-dollar fine. Bereavement in other groups did not go unnoticed by the Abruzzese. In 1916, a letter of condolence was sent to the Garibaldi Society on the death of Mike DeFeo. Such gloomy details were, however, not the only items on the agenda of the meetings. Plans were made for various social functions, and letters were received from other Italian societies inviting the Abruzzese to picnics and other entertainments. One of the very first expenditures that the society approved was for a banner ($150) and badges (fifty cents each) that would be used in parades and other public events. (7)

The immigrant societies placed considerable emphasis on social activities. The number and size of dances, picnics, banquets, parades and other celebrations grew from year to year. Each summer, the Fratellanza held a sustained picnic at Brandywine Park which was usually attended by the other Italian societies in the city as well as several from neighboring communities. The day began with a parade that wound through the streets of the immigrant neighborhoods, passed city hall to pay "respects to the city municipal government," and then on to the park. There, one found "old country games," raffles, and, in the dancing to the music of Zita's orchestra. As a finale, "Professor" Philip Bencivenga presented "a grand display of fireworks." As a climax to the 1907 picnic, Bencivenga offered a pyrotechnic "transparent likeness" of Steve Montenaro, a local politician. (8) The Garibaldi Society, dressed in uniforms of blue trousers and red shirts and caps, also held an annual parade and picnic; but the event that most distinguished the group was their yearly masquerade ball. In 1903, the fifty members, dressed to look like a "Japanese band," began the evening with a march to the Centre Street Opera House, along with other costumed groups, including the Mazzini Society of Amsterdam. (9)

Contemporary, as well as historic, Italian events received substantial attention during the early years of settlement. And the immigrant societies usually provided the leadership for any organized observances. Following the assassination of King Umberto (1900), an impressive commemorative service was organized by the Fratellanza. Hundreds marched in the funeral cortege that included a mounted escort, a hearse, the dirge-playing 37th Separate Company Band, and such dignitaries, riding in carriages, as: Italian Vice Consul Bacelli of Albany, Mayor White, District Attorney Wemple, and other city and county officials. The occasion was noteworthy for the considerable respect and attention paid to the developing Italian community by the press and city government. (10) The anniversary of the capture of Rome (September 20, 1870) by the forces of the Kingdom of Italy was a major event that was celebrated yearly by a parade and a banquet and dance. At the 1897 affair, which featured a "distinctly French menu," Police Justice Eisenmenger remarked that he understood the immigrants' love of Italy, but reminded them that in America, the land of their adoption, they "owed superior allegiance to the stars and stripes." (11) In 1896 the Fratellanza raised money to aid the families of Italian soldiers wounded or killed while serving in Abyssinia. Schenectady Italians also responded to the news of disasters at home, such as the 1906 eruption of Vesuvius and the 1908 earthquake that devastated Sicily and Calabria, by holding mass meetings and raising relief funds for the victims. Following the outbreak of the Libyan war in 1911, questions arose about the responsibilities of the nearly 2,100 males of military age in the community. Pasquale DeMarco estimated that about 1,200 of them had already served in the Italian army. On this occasion, Vice Consul Bacelli declared that no Italians would be compelled to fight in the colonial war, but with Italy's entry into World War I in 1915, the consul ordered the one thousand reservists in the city to register and be ready to return home for duty. The Union Star reported that the immigrants approved of Italy's declaration of war, and were expected to respond to the call. (12)

Gradually, the purely Italian holidays, such as the 20th of September, that had little significance to Americans and even to the children of the immigrants, were supplanted by those that had relevance to the new homeland of the Italians. By happy coincidence, the birth date of Giuseppe Garibaldi corresponded with the Fourth of July. The centenary of Garibaldi's birth in 1907 was observed with considerable fanfare in Schenectady, but in later years the Italian aspect of the day went unrecognized and the immigrant societies, forming a single division in the parade, joined in the celebration of the American holiday. However, Columbus Day soon eclipsed all the other festivities celebrated by the immigrant societies. In Albany the day was first celebrated in 1892 with an elaborate parade commemorating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. The, then, small Italian community was only a minor participant on this occasion. Thereafter, Columbus Day became an annual holiday celebrated by the Italian communities. In Schenectady the event was honored as early as 1901. The ceremonies became even larger when the day was declared a state holiday in 1909. Sponsored by the Garibaldi Society, the elaborate celebrations, now partially subsidized by the city government, also included observances in the schools, such as Mary Ferro's reciting the "Three Ships," and Peter Aceto's (grade 6) reading of his essay, "The Early History of Columbus." In 1910, the holiday began with early morning concerts (to "arouse people") in the Italian neighborhoods. A reception for out-of-town guests followed. And at 12:30 p.m. a parade of three thousand adults and children (in five divisions) started which included the Fratellanza (dressed in cowboy outfits) on horseback, the seven other Italian organizations in the city, seven hundred hod carriers, Italian societies and bands from Ballston Spa, Saratoga, Mechanicville, Troy and Albany, as well as city officials and politicians in carriages. That evening, at Crescent Park, fireworks and a concert took place, including speeches in English and Italian. During the course of these, Pasquale DeMarco made a plea that the press of the city give the Italians a "square deal" in stories about them. In the 1920s, an unsuccessful effort was made to raise funds for a monument to Christopher Columbus. In a letter to the Italian newspaper, the Record, Dr. Samorini observed that the city did not need another statue, that a more fitting way to promote the Italian heritage would be to provide Italian language instruction at the high school. (13)

The Italians of Schenectady were without a church of their own until 1902 when, through the efforts of eleven leaders of the immigrant community, an old Protestant chapel, located at the intersection of Park Place, Nott Street and Seward Place, was purchased for $6,500. Pasquale DeMarco, one of the founders, secured a fellow townsman from Alvignano, Giovanni Bencivenga, to serve as pastor of the church, Sant' Antonio di Padova (St. Anthony's). (14)

Never attaining a grasp of the English language, the pastor relied on, first, a self-appointed eleven-member council (consiglio curatoriale) and, later, his two trustees for financial management of the parish. Initially elected secretary of the council and later a trustee, DeMarco, however, kept the accounts, paid creditors and, in general, supervised daily fiscal matters. A printed budget for the years 1903-1910, lists $8.33 paid monthly to the pastor for the year 1903. (15) Seeking some restitution from Bishop Gibbons years later, Bencivenga, who had returned to Alvignano, claimed that he never received the promised $1,000 a year salary at St. Anthony's and was forced to live on the meager marriage and baptismal fees. The 1910 federal manuscript census lists the pastor and his brother boarding with the family of Luigi Pirro, a merchant, on North Jay Street. (16) The principal financial support of the church during the first two years was raised by the council members and the pastor, who circulated through the community with "collection books," seeking contributions — most of which ranged from twenty-five cents to one dollar. Oddly, of the $1,978.85 collected, almost one-third of the amount was donated by non-Italians (gli Americana). Money was not raised easily among immigrants who argued that they came to America to work, not to attend church. (17) Father Buono, pastor of St. Anthony's in Albany, explained that his congregation had dwindled (and, consequently, donations too) because so many returned to Italy for the winter. (18)

The "collection book" system was discontinued in favor of a seat fee of five cents, charged at each of the two Sunday Masses. Between 1904 and 1911, total receipts averaged $1,000 a year. For years, no financial accounting was ever made to the congregation, which aroused questions and then anger. Albany's Father Buono, charged with similar neglect by his parishioners, informed the bishop that his critics were mostly "nominal Catholics." In 1910 and again in 1913, Pasquale DeMarco, responding to criticism, prepared a financial report that covered the years 1904-1912, in which receipts and expenditures were itemized in detail. For example, the festa di San Antonio held on June 13, 1907, yielded $25.06, and on May 17, 1908, Leopoldo Buonfiglio, the undertaker, was paid five dollars for providing a carriage for the visiting bishop. (19) Apparently, DeMarco was skeptical that the financial accounting would quiet the critics, for just before the publication of the second report, he and his fellow trustee sent their resignations to the bishop. If DeMarco's standing in the community suffered, the damage was not irreparable. Albany's Italian-language newspaper, La Capitale, reported the results of a popularity contest held in the Schenectady immigrant colony in 1924, and DeMarco placed fourth. (20)

In 1916, Reverend Michael A. Bianco became pastor of St. Anthony's, replacing Bencivenga, who remained for a few years as an assistant until returning to Italy. Born in Candida (near Avellino), Bianco, at the age of fourteen, emigrated in 1902 with his parents. After spending two years in Orange, New Jersey, he studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph's College (Troy) and, later, at Niagara University. Following ordination, Bianco served as an assistant pastor in Troy and then as a pastor in Hudson and Amsterdam, respectively, before coming to Schenectady, where he soon immersed himself in plans for a new church. (21) The existing ediface "slowly but surely coming down" seated only 162 people, totally inadequate for the colony then estimated at 8,500 adults and children. Individuals reportedly refused to attend either of the two Sunday Masses, because "they must be forever standing up when they get there." If a larger church were not acquired, Bianco advised Bishop Gibbons, the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, who were "not losing any time," would continue to attract Italians to their services. In fact, the Presbyterians, Bianco warned, had recently approved the expenditure of $30,000 to build a mission church for Italians and were planning to publish a weekly tract in the Italian language. Repeating a proposal originally made to Bishop Cusack, Father Bianco offered $25,000 for the purchase of "old" St. John's, most of whose former parishioners had moved and built a new church a half mile away on Union Street. Constructing a new church would be unwise, Bianco concluded, since:

The Italian population has not finally settled one definite place; they are constantly moving from one quarter of the city to another. (22)

However, the arrangements that Father Bianco laid before the diocesan officials did not reflect the wishes of his congregation, especially those of the parish trustees. As early as 1905, a building fund was started to raise money for the construction of a new church, but despite various fundraising efforts, only $3,000 had been collected by the time Bencivenga stepped down as pastor in late 1916. Early the next year, the trustees and the new pastor reaffirmed an earlier decision to build on the site (Park Place) of the existing structure. Later, Father Bianco would claim that the trustees had, in fact, handed him a fait accompli. Indeed, on the same day (January 2, 1917) of this meeting, at which the construction plans and a new building fund were approved, Father Bianco wrote his letter to Bishop Cusack in which he expressed his wish to purchase "old" St. John's and repudiated the project of his trustees. Terming the Park Place location "decidedly out of place," Bianco, citing his recent census, argued that the approximately 350 families who lived in the southern part of the city (Mt. Pleasant, Weaver Street and Strong Street areas) "never hear the word of God in the language they understand" because of their distance from St. Anthony's. With entrance into World War I, and a war time city prohibition against building any structure that cost in excess of $5,000, the "Italian problem" was shelved. (23)

When peace returned, Bianco continued his reasoning, at greater length and more carefully researched, in a report requested by Cusack's successor, Bishop Gibbons. As though a week, not two years and a new bishop, had passed since his last letter on the subject, Bianco added to the list of those distantly located from his church sixty families who resided over the city line in South Schenectady (town of Rotterdam). Something should be done, Bianco advised, because their children were "growing simply wild." Emphasizing the centrality to the Italian neighborhoods of St. John's, located on Franklin Street (near city hall), Bianco had enclosed a map of the city with the immigrant settlements circled in red, and described in detail the various walking distances to St. John's, including its close proximity to different trolley lines. Turning his attention again to the Park Place site, the pastor was convinced that the area would never be able to support a new church. Immediately adjacent to the small triangular piece of land on the east was Union College, covering an area of three-quarters of a square mile, and a few blocks to the west sprawled the property of the American Locomotive Company which, Bianco commented, would not "move away for our accommodation." On this point, he concluded:

So, the people attending our Church must come solely from the North and South. Under these circumstances, I could not guarantee the paying even of the interest on a debt of $50,000.

Finally, in an attempt, perhaps, to deal indirectly with the idea that two Italian parishes were really needed, an idea that had been suggested to Bishop Cusack, Bianco proposed the erection of a chapel in Mt. Pleasant for the elderly and Sunday school children. He also suggested that the present church on Park Place be retained for the same purposes. (24)

After conferring with Bianco, Bishop Gibbons made the surprising announcement that, to serve the growing Catholic population (Italian and non-Italian) in the northern end of the city, a new St. Anthony's would be constructed at the corner of Van Vranken and Seneca. Because of its mixed congregation, the future St. Anthony's, the bishop added, would not be a national or ethnic parish, but a territorial one, open to all. Denationalizing the parish was a step Father Bianco had been prepared to take himself, in order to obtain St. John's, since many of the old parishioners were still using the church. The Americanized Bianco anticipated no problems:

They mingle in schools and in business and professional life, why not in a religious way?

He further noted that such mixing of congregations was common in the larger cities and was "in accordance with the spirit of America and the desire of the Catholic Church." (25)

Following the bishop's unexpected decision, four hundred outraged members of St. Anthony's congregation met to discuss appropriate measures that should be taken. Particularly astonishing to the Italians must have been the bishop's plan to use the $16,000 that had been collected from Italian parishioners to build a church that would not be exclusively for the immigrants and their children. After an unsuccessful meeting with the bishop, the trustees, Peter Dente and M. Castelli,sought an injunction to stop the bishop from using their building fund for any other purpose than to build a church on the Park Place site. (26)

Although the petition was denied, that summer (1920) a committee of sixty was formed (Grande Comitato dei Sessanta) to conduct a short campaign, "the twenty days," that would add sufficient money to the building fund to allow for the purchase of a new church. Father O'Brien, pastor of "old" St. John's, kept the bishop informed by sending him copies of the local Italian-language newspaper, Il Corriere, with the pertinent articles outlined. In his previous meeting with the trustees, the bishop was willing to allow an ethnic church, but was adamantly opposed to construction on Park Place. (27) Nevertheless, St. Anthony's anniversary history, which makes no mention of the bitter controversy, describes that a year later (on "a day of great rejoicing") Bishop Gibbons came to Schenectady to bless the cornerstone of the new St. Anthony's that would be built on the spot — Park Place. (28)

In 1922, a second Italian parish, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, was established. Located on Schenectady Street, the new church, which was completed the following year, served the Italians, approximately nine hundred families, who lived south of State Street. Father Bianco, however, had opposed the division, wondering "if our people can hardly support one church, will they support two?" (29) Similarly, when Italians in Amsterdam requested a second parish, Father DiDonnato informed Bishop Burke that

…two pastors must fight, struggle for their living and then both churches go in the hole. (30)

For some time thereafter, Bishop Gibbons was compelled to settle disputes between Bianco and the new pastor, Rev. James Matturro. Following a complaint from Matturro, the bishop wrote Bianco, forbidding him to serve Italians who lived in the new parish. (31) But loyalties to the older church were not easily broken. In a letter to one individual who insisted on being married at St. Anthony's, the bishop denied his request, stating:

Father Matturro as pastor of the new parish has certain rights which I am bound to protect. (32)

As Father Bianco had, Matturro, during the early years of his pastorate, attempted to Americanize his congregation at a pace they were unwilling to accept. Like Bianco, Matturro (born, 1880, in the province of Salerno) emigrated as a youngster (age nine) to the United States. Receiving his early education in Philadelphia, he, however, returned to Italy to study for the priesthood. In 1909 (at age thirty) he returned to the United States and served in Trenton, Newark and Cleveland before coming to Schenectady. (33)

Father Matturro supported the bishop in his prohibiting the use of the church banner in the annual Mt. Carmel festa. Money had been traditionally pinned to the Stendardo della Madonna in a street procession in honor of the Holy Mother, which was followed by a fair or bazaar. Insufficient evidence is available to determine whether Matturro hurled his calunnie (calumnies) from the pulpit against the tradition itself or against the independent committee, which used a religious holiday for, allegedly, secular gain. A delegation, sent to Albany, failed to change the bishop's mind. Il Corriere questioned the logic of the decision, and this time the editor, and not Father O'Brien of "old" St. John's, sent Gibbons a copy of the issue that contained coverage of the controversy. Despite the opposition (l'antagonismo delle Autorita Ecclesiastiche) the festa took place, "the best to date," and the committee promised even better ones in the future (piu grandi, piu belle piu solenna). (34) The bishop's refusal to allow statues to be carried in the procession in Albany, in observance of the same holiday, led the vituperative La Capitale to charge that this "ukase" proved that "His Emminence?" barely tolerated Italians. (35)

Italians regarded the church hierarchy as opposed to their religious traditions and national aspirations. The American church, which had considered Italian nationalism and allegiance to the Catholic Church contradictory, viewed such celebrations as the 20th of September and Garibaldi anniversaries as an insult to the faith. (36) In a letter read in all churches of the Albany Diocese in 1884, Bishop McNeirney recounted the latest, "sacrilegious" acts committed by the Italian government against the Pope, who had become its "vassal." Continuing, the bishop further expressed his hostility toward the recently united country:

It is a fact of history that, since the entrance of the Piedmontese into the Eternal City, the Holy Father has been the victim of most oppressive measures, all tending, by their very nature to obstruct and impede the mission which the master has confided to him on Earth. (37)

Although Bishop Gibbons was personally liked by Italians, who regarded him as a gentleman and appreciated his modest ability with the Italian language, he continually aroused their anger by what was perceived as attempts to Americanize them. When the bishop named Rev. Emmett O'Connor as pastor of St. Anthony's in Albany, letters ware dispatched to the Vatican protesting the appointment of an "Irish" priest (sacerdote Irlandese) to an Italian church. One letter was re-routed to Gibbons from a regular correspondant in Rome, Bishop Cerrati, and another was received from the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Fumasoni-Biondi, who, understanding the difficulty in getting Italian priests, requested Gibbons to comment on the issue. Bishop Gibbons wrote a response to each of the ecclesiastics but in the letter to Ceratti, expressing more candid thoughts, Gibbons apparently reconsidered and did not send it. Denying a concerted effort to replace Italian priests with what his critics "sneeringly" called Irlandese, the Albany bishop explained that

If Italy cannot supply us with a sufficient number of worthy and efficient priests to care for the Italians in this country, there is no alternative but to supply them ourselves.

Gibbons, who pointed out that as a young priest he was a pastor of an Italian church in the Diocese of Buffalo, believed that any priest, able to speak Italian fairly well and devoted to the people, could easily take charge of an Italian parish. (38)

Defending the American-born O'Connor, Gibbons described him as a "model priest" who, like himself, was a graduate of the American College in Rome, where he learned Italian. The Albanians, however, had complained that O'Connor spoke Italian poorly (balbetta la lingua Italiana), and were unable to understand his sermons. The editor of La Capitale, in his letter to the Holy See, claimed that gravely ill parishioners had written him, asking how they could give their confessions to a priest who did not understand them. Gibbons reported that O'Connor, who had been an assistant at the Albany church, was actually loved by the parishioners, especially the young people, who had never been so devoted to the church since the young priest's arrival. In fact, a committee of parishioners, the bishop observed, begged him to ignore La Capitale and keep O'Connor in St. Anthony's. The former pastor, Father Scialla, Gibbons claimed, sounded O'Connor's praises and before leaving, the seriously ill Scialla told the parishioners to love and obey Father O'Connor. (39)

Gibbons argued that he and other bishops should not yield to the clamor of an "unreasonable nationalistic set." shop described his critics as a "small but noisy element" led in Albany by the "irreligious" editor of La Capitale, who had been a thorn, for years, in the side of Father Scialla. This editor, Gibbons asserted, was a troublemaker and Catholic "in name only," particularly when it suited his purposes. (40) The editor had disputed the bishop's claim that no Italian priests were available. Noting that Schenectady had five, he asked Rome: Why not give us one (perchè non darne uno a noi)? He further observed that the other nationalities in the diocese had their own priests, and wondered why they could not.

I francesi, polacchi, tedeschi, lituani hanno loro preti e noi che veniamo dalla culla della Chiesa No: perchè?

The Albany editor answered his own question by charging Gibbons with an "ardent desire" to Americanize Italians (ardente desiderio di americanizzarci). If the bishop is successful, he warned, Protestantism will flourish within the colony. (41)

Gibbons scoffed at the accusation made in the local Italian press that he was using the American College in Rome to staff his Italian parishes. Including O'Connor, the bishop had placed three graduates of the College in Italian parishes, and had thirteen seminarians currently enrolled. Gibbons thought that Italian priests in the diocese, "whose motives I hesitate to characterize" were also responsible for the "culumny." He insisted that such American-born priests were helping in the "Herculean task of saving the Italian emigrants to the church." Claiming that the Italians had no better friend than he, the bishop stated that he had created four new Italian parishes in the last four years, including Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Schenectady. The seminarians at the American College in Rome (a "nursery of zeal"), he continued, were his most promising students, and the three graduates who were serving in Italian parishes would not think of leaving. (42) However, in his unmailed letter to Bishop Cerrati, Gibbons described them as doing "work of sacrifice to aid their bishop" and indicated that they would "rejoice if removed from the difficult charge." His aim, and that of the American hierarchy, Gibbons asserted, was to help the immigrants become Americans, but not in an "offensive way." To maintain a love for one's mother country, he thought, was fine but opposed the

establishing in this country colonies of Europeans with no regard for the United States beyond that of a place in which they could make a profitable living. (43)

The controversy arose, Bishop Gibbons admitted, because of his need for priests in the Italian churches with sufficient knowledge of English and "capacity to manage the temporal affairs of their parish." [sic] He described Father Scialla as a good priest, but one who could never manage financial matters satisfactorily," and reportedly asked for help to pay the church debt and bills. The ability to speak English was also needed the bishop added, with the children, who knew only that language, and with many young men and women who preferred to use it over Italian. (44)

Acquiring capable priests for the Italian parishes appeared to be a considerable problem. Some of the Italians who came to serve the religious needs of their fellow nationals did not have the highest motives. (45) In commending Father O'Connor, Gibbons claimed that the young priest was "not out for gain like many Italian priests who came to this country." (46) When Bishop Cusack was an auxiliary bishop in New York City, he received a report on Carmelo DiSano, a Sicilian, who had been expelled from several Italian seminaries, and on arriving in the city attempted, unsuccessfully, to get ordained by the church, but since had become an Episcopal minister. The informant referred to two other so-called priests, one definitely a 'counterfeiter" and, as for the other, additional information was expected soon. Later, as bishop of the Albany diocese, Cusack received a letter from Apostolic Delegate Bonzano in Washington, D.C., who recommended that he accept a priest in Italy who desired to come to Albany. However, the Apostolic Delegate began his description of the Italian priest: "Although his past record is not an edifying one…" (47)

The correspondence that took place between Gibbons and Bishop Michele Cerrati, from 1923 to 1924, revealed the difficulties of locating suitable Italian priests for the ethnic parishes in the diocese. As rector of the Pontifical College for Emigrants in Rome, Cerrati (Vescovo per l'Emigrazione Italiana) provided special training for Italian priests who wished to emigrate and made arrangements for their placement. (48) Cerrati sent his regrets about Father Fontino, who Bishop Gibbons had placed in Gloversville. His knowledge of English proved to be slight. The Italian bishop, however, remarked that the study of English was being intensified at the college. Unlike the year before when Gibbons had asked for two priests but only one (Fontino) was sent, this year (1924), Cerrati announced that Gibbons' request for two additional priests could be filled, making a total of fourteen Italian priests in the Albany diocese. (49)

One of the priests, forty-eight-year-old Pietro Offredi, who Gibbons would place with Father Bianco, spoke English fluently, having been raised in England, and had been a missionary to India. Unusually candid, Cerrati scribed Offredi as pious but without initiative, "one would say lazy," and with "little culture or cleverness:"

…senza spirito di iniziativa, si direbbe pigro, indolente… non ha grande coltura ne grande intelligenza.

Cerrati concluded his unflattering sketch of Offredi by saying he had "one flaw, a preoccupation with money, one would call, avarice":

Ha un difetto: preoccupazione del denaro: anzi derei, avarizia. (50)

Only a few days after arriving in Schenectady, Offredi went to see Bishop Gibbons and, detailing a list of complaints, asked Gibbons to write to Cerrati (Offredi's superior) and request that he be returned to India. Offredi, a northern Italian, objected to the "uncongeniality" of living in the rectory with Bianco's southern Italian parents, Carmine and Carmela. He disliked the salary and the food, abhorred the climate, and had expected his own parish in Little Falls. Father Bianco, himself, was not too pleased with the new arrival. The Schenectady pastor said that Offredi neglected his duties and that his sermons, in either English or Italian, could not be understood by the parishioners. (51) The final report on Offredi was provided (via Cerrati) by a steamship chaplain, who described him as obsessed with his health, fearing bronchitis and intending to sail to Milan and then on to India. (52)

The other priest, Reverend Angelo Mastandrea, who Bishop Gibbons assigned to Father Matturro at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Schenectady, was also a disappointment. Cerrati described the forty-four-year-old southern Italian only as talkative and possessed of little culture (di coltura superficiale and di molte parole). (53) Although Father Matturro (characterized by Gibbons as a splendid priest) found Mastandrea of little use, he was willing to keep him. However, difficulties arose between the two. First Mastandrea requested a transfer; then Matturo complained that his new assistant was not learning English, negligent of his duties, and altogether of little value. The pastor advised that Mastandrea be sent to a larger parish. Gibbons wrote Cerrati that, without a knowledge of English, the Italian priest would never be able to manage a parish, and that he had no other place for him in the diocese. Thereupon, Cerrati, describing Mastandrea as a pious, zealous priest, "but rather old and not so broad minded," agreed to send him to New York City. (54)

Of the three priests that Cerrati sent during the two year period, only Fontino proved to be useful. After transferring him from Amsterdam to St. Anthony's (Troy), whose pastor had returned to Italy to stay, Gibbons claimed that he was doing well. Fontino, returning the compliment, wrote Cerrati that Bishop Gibbons was zealous in his care for Italians. (55) Throughout the correspondence between the two bishops, Gibbons frequently sent contributions. In June (1924), Cerrati received a check for $200; in July he expressed surprise at receiving another $170, and in October, $150. Informed by Cerrati in March that he had some capable priests, Gibbons thanked him, but said he had no need for the coming year. (56)

In the Polish community, the church played a far greater role and received much more support than it did in the Italian. Sociologists Thomas and Znaniecki observed that the Catholic church was the heart of a Polish immigrant colony, and that the parish was "simply the old primary community, reorganized and concentrated." (57) Not surprisingly, Schenectady Poles soon formed a society, Bratniej Pomocy, for the purpose of organizing a parish. In 1891, Bishop McNierney sent the newly ordained priest, Rev. Joseph Dereszewski, to Schenectady to establish the first Polish parish in the Albany diocese. The thirty-three-year-old Dereszewski had left Poland six years before with his parents and his three sisters. A graduate of St. Joseph's Seminary in Troy, Dereszewski had been ordained just three weeks before his arrival in Schenectady. Until a church was erected, Father Dereszewski said Mass for his congregation of 120 families at the German church, St. Joseph's. Apparently attracted by the building fund, thieves broke into the priest's room in St. Joseph's rectory and stole $150. Undeterred, the community raised enough money within a year for construction to begin on the church. Of the $9,000 collected, the eighty-two member (church-related) Matki Boskiej Czestochowskiej (St. Mary's) Society provided $1,000. Completed in 1893, the red-brick St. Mary's, which cost $15,000, was located on Liberty Street (renamed Eastern Avenue) about a half-mile east of the Polish colony known as "Little Castle Garden" (Fourth Ward). (58)

Until other Polish churches were established, Father Dereszewski ministered to the Poles in neighboring communities, including seventy families in Amsterdam and approximately two hundred in the Albany-Troy area. After gaining experience at St. Mary's, his assistants went on to establish parishes of their own. Born in Prussian Poland, Valentine Gierlacki, studied for the priesthood in Poland and at the American College of Louvain (Belgium). Ordained in 1903, Gierlacki, who had been accepted as a seminarian of the Albany diocese, was sent to St. Mary's as an assistant to Father Dereszewski. After only two months in Schenectady, Gierlacki was named pastor of the parish in Cohoes, St. Michael's. (59)

The Polish community in Schenectady was growing so rapidly that it was necessary to replace the church with a larger one within only ten years (1903). In addition to the strikingly attractive, granite church, which cost $125,000 (including $25,000 for furbishing the interior), a three-story school ($16,000) and a rectory ($6,000) were all completed that same year. Even a plot of land was purchased ($2,000) on McClellan Street for a cemetery. Later the original church was redesigned as a convent for the teaching nuns, the Sisters of the Resurrection. By the time of Dereszewski's death in 1911 at age fifty-one, the self-sacrificing congregation had eliminated the debt completely. (60)

In the same year that the new St. Mary's was completed (1903), St. Adalbert's (Św. Wojciecha) parish was organized to serve the spiritual needs of the Poles in the fast-growing Mt. Pleasant area as well as the older Weaver Street neighborhood of the Fifth Ward. Within just seven months, three frame structures were built: a church, a school and a rectory, with a value of $33,000. The new pastor, Rev. Joseph Gogolewski, thirty-five, only recently arrived from Poland, where he had been a professor of Theology and a seminary administrator until Russian authorities compelled him to emigrate. In 1909, the church was destroyed by fire, but through the efforts of the congregation, which had grown from two hundred families to five hundred, an imposing brick church (1,600 seats) was erected two years later at a cost of $100,000. Since the establishment of the parish in 1903, $150,000 worth of property had been secured, but within ten years the total indebtedness was reduced to $50,000, and the congregation accepted the burden of an additional $100,000 for the construction of a new school, which was completed in 1914, a year after St. Mary's replaced its school building with a new one. (61) The generosity of the Poles in the support of their church is indicated by the published financial statement for 1919-20, which lists the names of approximately 1,400 contributors and $30,000 total receipts for the year, or, approximately, $21.93 per capita. (62)

Since the parish played such an indispensable role in the immigrant community, the pastor, not unexpectedly, was a most respected and influential person. At times, however, the pastor was perceived as seeking to command the complete obedience and support of his parishioners in both religious and secular affairs, and dissension arose. During the 1890s, the Evening Star reported a series of violent disputes between the faction supporting Stanislaw Kowalski and that of Father Dereszewski. Saloon-keeper and "captain" of the Polish Lancers, Kowalski was regarded as the head of the Polish community until the arrival of the priest in 1891. Kowalski was a leading organizer of the new parish (St. Mary's) and disagreements between the two strong-willed and forceful men soon occurred. Kowalski's influence, however, began to wane and, following a liquor law violation which Kowalski claimed to be a frame-up, he moved to Albany. (63)

During World War I, a parishioner of St. Adalbert's expressed his dissatisfaction with the "regime" of Rev. Chmielewski, who succeeded Goglewski in 1916, by exploding a three-inch shell (manufactured at General Electric) in the rectory ("one of the blackest crimes ever committed in Schenectady"). Fortunately, the pastor was not at home, but friction continued in the parish because of his "dictatorial" methods. (64) One forner parishioner remembered Father Chmielewski "ruining" a parish elementary school graduation. The pastor chose the happy occasion to decry, in angry, harsh words, the "sins" of the young graduates. (65) In defense of Chmielewski, one should realize that Bishop Burke had set somewhat of a precedent when he chose a confirmation exercise at St. Adalbert's to denounce dancing, warning that the tango was especially "endangering the morals of youth." (66) At least fifty families of the eight hundred in the parish were disaffected, and in 1921 a score left St. Adalbert's to organize St. Joseph's (later renamed Holy Name of Jesus), a Polish National Catholic church. At the time of its fiftieth anniversary, the national church contained about 175 parishioners. (67) The great majority of parishioners at St. Adalbert's were from the Russian partition who, Bishop Burke thought, were far less amenable to authority (compared to German and Austrian Poles) because of the oppressive Russian rule endured at home. (68) Three other national parishes were established in the diocese (Albany, Amsterdam and Little Falls). In Little Falls, the refusal of the pastor to give a financial accounting and his failure to operate a Sunday school, created dissension and eventual separation when the obstinate priest challenged those who opposed him to open an independent church. (69)

A majority of the Polish fraternal and benefit societies were associated with either St. Mary's or St. Adalbert's churches. These and the other groups, in time, affiliated with such national ("superterritorial") organizations as the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Roman Catholic Union, the Polish Union of America, the Polish Falcons of America and the Polish Singers' Alliance of America. (70) During World War I, Schenectady became a center of "Polonia" when each of the three largest Polish fratenals chose the city as the site of its national convention. In the summer of 1914, six hundred delegates of the Polish Union of America (PUA) arrived and devoted much of their time in an unsuccessful attempt to effect a union with the dissident faction (PUA Wilkes-Barre). (71) The next year, Schenectady Poles hosted the twenty-first biennial convention of the Polish National Association (PNA), the largest Polish fraternal organization in America (125,000 members). Opened with a message of greeting from President Wilson, the convention was further honored by visits from Governor Charles Whitman and the acclaimed pianist and Polish patriot, Jan Paderewski. (72) The last of the major conventions, the Polish Roman Catholic Union (PRCU), was held in the fall of 1917, despite attempts of its officers to postpone it because of "unsettled" conditions in Poland. (73)

The outbreak of World War I was the occasion of an awakening of Polish nationalism among Poles that had been confined, largely, to the intelligentsia and upper classes. (74) At a meeting sponsored by Polish Socialists during the Balkan crisis of 1912, Schenectady Poles had been informed that, should war come, Poland "may have her chance" to escape the Russian yoke. Local Poles were urged to organize and "prepare for the uprising." (75) With the start of hostilities, Schenectady Poles quickly organized a division of the Polish National Defense Committee that supervised the collection of funds for the suffering in Poland. Generously the immigrants taxed themselves monthly through their societies, conducted tag days, held special war-relief programs, and took up collections at all Polish gatherings, including the national conventions and sporting events. (76) To keep patriotism at a high pitch, exercises were instituted to commemorate the anniversaries of such events in Polish history as the adoption of the "Constitution of 1791," the "January Uprising" (1831), and the "November Uprising" (1863). (77)

The creation of a Polish Legion within the French army in 1917 was greeted with tremendous enthusiasm and support. Poles were convinced that a Polish army in the field would guarantee recognition at any peace negotiations and made the persistent dream of an independent Poland a reality once again. A Polish War Commission was established in the city to recruit soldiers and raise money for the new "army of Polish liberty." At one meeting, held in Proctor's Theater, visiting Polish officers and Prince Stanislaus Poniatowski (a descendant of the former Polish monarch) made an appeal for support that was met with $600 in contributions and several enlistments from the audience. Those unable to speak English were particularly encouraged to join the Polish unit. By the summer of 1918, fifty men left for training at Fort Niagara (New York) and then shipment to France for service in the Polish Legion. (78)

Upon America's entrance into the war, German and Austrian Poles became classified as enemy aliens. They have found little comfort in the assurance of the Union Star that they were "as safe in Schenectady as anywhere on the globe," after being marched into a public auditorium (along with German and Hungarian aliens) to hear an immigration official explain the "best manner of conducting themselves." Many of these Poles must have felt uneasy when one speaker warned that the "chief enemy" was the spy who "lurked, not only in Washington, but in Schenectady." The General Electric Company did its "bit" to counter the activities of "enemy agents" among its alien employees by forbidding conversation in any language but English, and by conducting Americanization classes. More often, however, American authorities sought the support of the Poles. Former Socialist mayor of the city, but now a Democratic congressman, George Lunn chose the one-hundredth anniversary of the death of Thaddeus Kosciusko to remind the Poles that victory would not only preserve democracy, but would liberate a Poland that he compared to a "piece of meat torn apart by hungry monsters." Turning from Polish patriotism to the more general emotional fare of the three-minute speakers, Lunn concluded by urging his listeners to:

…avenge the helpless women being massacred either on land or water by the tyrannical kulture of the Hohenzollerns.

Poles demonstrated their allegiance to America and the war effort by turning out in large numbers for Fourth of July parades, purchasing Liberty Bonds and volunteering for American military service. Three hundred Schenectady Poles served in the United States Army. (79)

On one of his several fund-raising visits to Schenectady during the war, Paderewski applauded the primary role played by the Polish churches in the relief work, and reflected on the importance of the faith to the Polish people:

Poland is like a kernel, the shell of which is the Roman Catholic religion. Without it, Poland would have been lost many years ago. (80)

The pastors of St. Mary's and St. Adalbert's served as hosts to visiting Polish patriots, opened the parish facilities for various war rallies, and tirelessly made appeals for money and volunteers for the war effort. Rev. Alexander Kowalski, who succeeded Dereszewski at St. Mary's, volunteered as a chaplain in the Polish army and continued in service after independence, during the war with Russia. (81) Particularly active in the cause of Poland was Father Gogolewski, who returned to Poland in 1919 to work for the government at the request of Paderewski, the country's premier. At his farewell speech at the Mohawk Theater, Gogolewski predicted that Bolshevism was doomed to a short existence, and that Poland would have friendly neighbors, with the exception of Germany, and would have internal peace. (82)

Until their numbers were large enough to support their own churches, Lithuanians and Slovaks, generally, attended Polish churches. With their own sense of nationalism awakened, the two groups found the heightened Polish patriotism often unbearable. Not long after Father Gogolewski left St. Adalbert's for St. Joseph's in Herkimer, the Polish activist, reportedly, alienated "practically all the Lithuanians." (83) Angered by the constant support from the pulpit of Schenectady's Polish churches for the "Polish fatherland," and "its imperialism," a petition, representing 138 Lithuanian families, was sent to Bishop Gibbons in 1921 requesting a church of their own. Serving as pastor of Albany's Polish church, St. Casimir's, since 1893, Rev. Bartholomew Maleikajtys, a Lithuanian, "was unjustly and heartlessly driven from that place by a nationalistic mob," in 1922. (84) Slovaks at All Saints Church in Granville wrote Bishop Gibbons in 1923 expressing their fear that the Poles were planning to eject them, and requested that the editor of the Catholic Directory list the church as "Polish-Slovak" and not just "Polish" as at present. To calm the growing crisis, the Polish pastor requested the bishop to send a letter saying that Slovaks and Poles have the same rights in the parish which he thought would satisfy everyone, "forever, I suppose." Having reconsidered their strength, apparently, the Slovaks sent another petition to the bishop asking that the directory list All Saints as "Czecho/Slovak and Polish." (85)

By the early 1920s, the period of building the ethnic institutions of fraternal societies and churches was largely completed. For the Poles who gave greater support to them, the institutions served as vital elements in the preservation of their cultural heritage, which appeared more secure with the reestablishment of an independent Poland.

Notes — Chapter 2

  1. Daily Union, September 22, 1896; Schenectady County Clerk, Certificate of Incorporation (A-124), November 5, 1896.
  2. Daily Union, September 28, 1900, March 22, 1906, November 10, 1909; Certificate of Incorporation (A-195), December 5, 1900.
  3. Certificate of Incorporation (X-76), September 24, 1902.
  4. Certificate of Incorporation (B-402), November 3, 1910, (Book D, p. 50), August 19, 1919; Record, July 18, 1930; Interview with Ralph Giaquinto, August 15, 1983.
  5. Golden Jubilee 1912-1962, Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Abruzzese Society (Schenectady, 1962), p. 4; Certificate of Incorporation (C-246), January 23, 1936; Record, June 21, 1929, August 8, 1930; Origin of Abruzzese based on nativity of 457 grooms married at St. Anthony's between 1918 and 1922 (St. Anthony's Marriage Registers); Order Sons of Italy in America, Gabriele D'Annunzio Lodge 321, Golden Jubilee, 1915-1965 (Schenectady, 1965), unpaged.
  6. Evening Star, September 22, 1902, May 13, 1905.
  7. "Libro Dei Processi Verbal, Della Societa Abruzzese," [Minutes of the Abruzzese Society], (For example, see: September 6, 1912, March 13, 1914, March 29, July 8, September 12, 1915, September 10, 1916, April 16, May 6, 1917, April 17, 1918.) Money was later provided for seriously ill members who wished to die at home in Italy. Societa Abruzzese Souvenir Album, Silver Jubilee 1912-1937 (Schenectady, 1937), unpaged.
  8. For example see: Evening Star, August 11, 12, 1899, July 16, 1902, August 6, 1900, August 3, 1905, August 16, 1907, September 14, 1908.
  9. Ibid., April 5, July 5, 1902, February 18, 1903, July 8, 11, 1904.
  10. Ibid., August 22, 28, 29, 1900; Daily Union, August 29, 1900.
  11. Evening Star, September 21, 1897, September 21, 1899, September 21, 1905.
  12. Daily Union, May 24, 1906; Evening Star, December 30, 31, 1908, January 2, 18, 1909; Union Star, September 29, 1911, June 5, 1915.
  13. Daily Union, October 12, 1904, September 10, 23, 1908, October 12, 1909, Evening Star, October 8, 1902, July 2, 1907, October 12, 1909, October 8, 1910; Union Star, October 11, 1912; The Citizen, October 14, 1910, May 29, 1914; Record, October 30, 1925.
  14. John DeSimoney, "Italian Immigrants and Their Families in Schenectady," Works Progress Administration Writers' Project, 1938, p. 2. (Typewritten.), New York State Archives (Hereafter cited as NYSA); The Golden Thanksgiving Jubilee, St. Anthony's Church, Schenectady, N.Y., 1902-1952 (Schenectady, 1952), p. 6; Record, December 20, 1929.
  15. Rendiconto della Chiesa Italiana di Sant Antonio di Padova in Schenectady, N.Y. (Schenectady, 1910), pp. 3-6, 28-29.
  16. Rev. Giovanni Bencivenga to Bishop E. F. Gibbons, Albany Diocese Archives (Hereafter cited as ADA), July 28, 1937; USFMC, 1910.
  17. Rendiconto, 1910, p. 45; Rudolph Vecoli, "Prelates and Peasants, Italian Immigrants and the Catholic Church," Journal of Social History, II (Spring 1961), 230-231.
  18. Rev. Francesco Buono to Bishop T. Burke, October 28, 1908, ADA.
  19. Ibid., Rendiconto, 1910, pp. 3-4; Continuazione del Rendiconto della Chiesa Italiana di Sant Antonio di Padova in Schenectady, NY (Schenectady, 1913), pp. 1, 10-11.
  20. Achille Ruscitto to Bishop T. Burke, [March, 1912], Pasquale DeMarco to Bishop Burke, March 3, 1912; La Capitale, August 23, 1924 (clipping in St. Anthony's-Albany file, ADA).
  21. Attesto di Riconoscenza al Rev. Michael A. Bianco in Occasione del 25 mo Anno di Ministero Sacerdotale Nella Citta di Schenectady, N.Y. [Rev. Bianco's twenty-fifth anniversary at St. Anthony's] (Schenectady, (1941]), pp. 2-3; Fiftieth Anniversary of Rt. Rev. Monsignor M. A. Bianco (Fifty years in priesthood], (Schenectady, 1962), unpaged; Listing of pastors and assistants from 1906 — 1936 (St. Anthony's file), ADA.
  22. Rev. M. A. Bianco to Bishop T. F. Cusack (two-page report, typewritten), January 2, 1917, Rev. M. A. Bianco to Bishop E. F. Gibbons (four-page report, typewritten), May 2, 1919, ADA.
  23. Union Star, November 18, 1912; St. Anthony's Church, Minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees, January 2, 1917, January 7, 1918, January 5, 1920, Rev. M. A. Bianco to Bishop T. F. Cusack, January 2, 1917, ADA.
  24. Bianco to Gibbons, May 2, 1919, ADA.
  25. Schenectady Gazette, June 18, 1920; M. A. Bianco, memorandum, eleven page (handwritten) reply to allegations made by trustees of St. Anthony's in their application for an injunction [summer, 1920], ADA.
  26. Bianco, memorandum; Defendants' memorandum, action of Peter A. Dente and M. Castelli (trustees) et. al., against St. Anthony's Church, et. al., in State Supreme Court, July 8, 1920, ADA.
  27. Il Corriere di Schenectady, July 5, 12, August 26, September 2, October 2, November 4, 1920. These few newspapers at the diocesan archives are the only extant copies of Il Corriere. No other Italian-language newspapers are available except The Record which was published from 1928-1932.
  28. The Golden Thanksgiving Jubilee, 1902-1952, p. 7; The Van Vranken Avenue site had been purchased, however, and on it a school was built in 1958, and a convent in 1961. Fiftieth Anniversary of Rt. Rev. M. A. Bianco, 1962. Bishop Gibbons had changed St. Anthony's to a territorial church even before the cornerstone of the new church was laid, Bishop E. Gibbons, Decree, June 15, 1920 (St. Anthony's File), ADA.
  29. Bianco to Gibbons, May 2, 1919; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Schenectady, N.Y., Souvenir Booklet 1922-1932 (Schenectady, 1932), unpaged; Golden Jubilee, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, 1922-1972, Schenectady, N.Y. (Schenectady, 1972), unpaged.
  30. Rev. Joseph A. DiDonnato to Bishop T. Burke, July 29, 1911, ADA.
  31. Bishop E. Gibbons to Rev. M. A. Bianco, January 8, 1923, ADA.
  32. Bishop E. Gibbons, to Giuseppe B., July 26, 1923, ADA.
  33. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, 1932; "Rev. James Matturro" (Priests' File), ADA.
  34. Rev. James Matturro to Bishop Edmund F. Gibbons, July 16, 1924; Il Corriere di Schenectady, August 23, 1924 (clipping in ADA); For incorporation of society to conduct the festa, see, Schenectady County Clerk, Certificate of Incorporation (E-50), July 20, 1924.
  35. La Capitale, August 23, 1924, ADA.
  36. Silvano M. Tomasi, Piety and Power: The Role of the Italian Parishes in the New York Metropolitan Area, 1880-1930 (New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1976), p. 162.
  37. Bishop McNeirney Pastoral Letter, Feast of the Annunciation, 1884, ADA.
  38. Archbishop P. Fumasoni-Biondi to Bishop E. Gibbons, June 7, 1923, ADA; Bishop Michele Cerrati to Bishop E. Gibbons, April 2, 1923 [Cerrati and Gibbons wrote to each other in Italian], ADA.
  39. Gibbons to Fumasoni-Biondi, June 18, 1923; Gibbons to Cerrati [four-page unsent letter, 1923]; St. Anthony parishioner, letter to Vatican (unsigned), May 10, 1923, ADA.
  40. Gibbons to Fumasoni-Biondi, June 18, 1923, ADA
  41. Cerrati to Gibbons, April 2, 1923, ADA.
  42. Gibbons to Fumasoni-Biondi, June 18, 1923, ADA.
  43. Gibbons to Cerrati [1923], ADA.
  44. Ibid.; Father O'Connor, who became a monsignor, remained at St. Anthony's until his death in 1966, "Rev. Emmett Francis O'Connor" (Priests' File), ADA.
  45. Vecoli, "Prelates and Peasants," p. 240.
  46. Gibbons to Fumasoni-Biondi, June 18, 1923, ADA.
  47. Leonard Maretta to Bishop T. Cusack, May 14, 1913; Archbishop John Bonzano to Bishop T. Cusack, June 26, 1916, ADA.
  48. Jerome N. Zazzara, "Pastoral Care of Italian Emigrants," The Ecclesiastical Review, LXIV (March, 1921), 280.
  49. Cerrati to Gibbons, February 22, March 22, April 2, 1923, ADA.
  50. Cerrati to Gibbons, May 23, 1923, ADA.
  51. Gibbons to Cerrati, September 22, 1923; Rev. M. A. Bianco to Bishop E. Gibbons, December 18, 1923; Pietro Offredi to Bishop E. Gibbons, December 26, 1924, January 1, 1925; "Rev. Michael A. Bianco" (Priests' File), ADA.
  52. Cerrati to Gibbons, February 1, 1924, ADA.
  53. Cerrati to Gibbons, May 23, 1923, ADA.
  54. Cerrati to Gibbons, September 22, 1923, June 24, September 8, October 11, 1924, ADA.
  55. Gibbons to Cerrati, January 12, 1924; Cerrati to Gibbons, September 30, 1924, ADA.
  56. Cerrati to Gibbons, February 1, June 24, July 26, October 13, 1924; Gibbons to Cerrati, March 4, 1924, ADA.
  57. W. J. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, II (New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1958), 1523-1524.
  58. Pamietnik 1892-1947 Złoty Jubileusz Parafji Matki Czestochowskiej w Schenectady, N.Y., Golden Jubilee of St. Mary's Parish (Schenectady, 1947), p. 13; Schenectady Police Department, "Complaints and Blotter," May 26, 1892; Evening Star, July 1, 1893; Union Star, September 22, 1911.
  59. Diamond Jubilee St. Mary's Church 1892-1967 (Schenectady, 1967), unpaged; "Valentine Gierlacki" (Priests' File), ADA; The Evangelist, August 26, 1927 (newspaper of the Albany diocese).
  60. Pamietnik, pp. 13-14; John DeSimony, "Polish Immigration to Schenectady," Works Progress Administration, Writers' Project, 1938, p. 2, NYSA.
  61. Union Star, April 11, May 8, 1911, July 16, 1915; George Briskie, "History of St. Adalbert's Parish of Schenectady," Works Progress Administration, Writers' Project, 1938, NYSA.
  62. Sprawozdanie Kasowe Parafii Św. Wojciecha Schenectady, N.Y. (Detroit, 1920), unpaged.
  63. Evening Star, October 21, 1894, January 2, 1895; interview with Jerome Razewski, February 23, 1984.
  64. Union Star, October 6, 1917.
  65. Interview with Mrs. Josephine Panfil, May 28, 1980.
  66. Union Star, April 28, 1914.
  67. George Briskie, "Polish National Church," Works Progress Administration, Writers` Project, 1938, p. 5, NYSA; Holy Name of Jesus; Polish National Church Golden Jubilee 1921-1971 (Schenectady, 1971), unpaged.
  68. "Questio 61252" October, 1904, report (in Latin) to Vatican on the number of foreign churches and inhabitants in Albany diocese, ADA.
  69. "Polish National Churches," folder, ADA; Rev. Edmund A. O'Connor to Bishop E. Gibbons, October 3, 1934, Report on Rev. Joseph Blonkowski, ADA.
  70. Certificates of Incorporation (A-190), February 6, 1900; (B-218), November 24, 1908; (C-160), January 20, 1914; (X-180), October 4, 1917; Evening Star, June 22, 1896; Union Star, May 26, 1911, December 27, 1915, September 5, 1916.
  71. Union Star, August 22, 24-25, 27, 1914.
  72. Schenectadian, A. E. Rakoczy, who had been recently elected to head the PNA, was primarily responsible for Schenectady being chosen as the 1915 convention site. This decision undoubtedly influenced the other two national societies, as well as a few regional Polish groups, to choose Schenectady also. Union Star, September 15, 27, 28, 30, October 2, 4, 1915.
  73. Ibid., October 8, 11, 1917.
  74. Victor Greene, For God and Country: The Rise of Polish and Lithuanian Ethnic Consciousness in America, 1860-1910 (Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1975), pp. 23-24.
  75. The Citizen, December 6, 1912.
  76. Union Star, August 14, 28, 1914, January 31, March 8, 1916.
  77. A "Polish Day" also became an annual event, Union Star, November 28, 1914, January 15, 20, 23, May 31, 1915, June 10, 1916.
  78. Schenectady Gazette, January 1, 10, 1918; Union Star, March 11, May 25, June 11, 18, 20, 25, July 30, 1918.
  79. Ibid., March 27, May 3, 28, October 22, 1917, April 24, May 9, 25, June 20, 21, July 5, 1918.
  80. Union Star, October 2, 1915.
  81. Ibid., January 31, 1916, October 22, 1917; Schenectady Gazette, January 1, March 11, 1918; The Evangelist, July 5, 1929.
  82. Union Star, April 21, 1919; Bishop Gibbons to Rev. Joseph Gogolewski, March 6, 1931, ADA.
  83. Andro Mrocyek to Bishop T. Cusack, May 16, 1918 (St. Joseph's, Herkimer File), ADA.
  84. Petition to Bishop E. Gibbons, January 1, 1921, ADA; Rev. Bartholomew Moleikajtys to Bishop E. Gibbons, December 27, 1922, ADA.
  85. Petitions to Bishop E. Gibbons, May 10, 21, 1923; Rev. Joseph Chodkiewicz to Bishop E. Gibbons, May 12, 1923 (All Saints' File), ADA.

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