St. Stanislaus Church is located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region, just off Route 226, in Bradford, New York.
In the beginning: 1923 and Father Joseph A. Balcerak
The church had very humble beginnings, starting as a catholic chapel, mission of the Diocese of Rochester. By 1923, the congregation had grown to about twenty-five families, most of whom were eastern European immigrants who bought land in the area and settled into farming. The Reverend Joseph A. Balcerak saw a need to minister to these recent immigrants. For several years, Mass was celebrated in private homes.
In 1926, Reverend Balcerak purchased a corner lot and the adjacent house for the church. The house served as both the chapel and rectory until the present church was built in 1930. The following year the original chapel/rectory was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by parish volunteers.
The first residential priests for Saint Stanislaus’s Church
The first resident administrator, Reverend Method Szymanski, was followed by Father Stanislaus H. Bialaszewski, who remained with the church for twenty-nine years. He left St. Stan’s in 1965 to serve at the Veteran’s Administration in Bath, New York.
With Reverend Bialaszewski’s reassignment, the Reverend Henry F. Adamski assumed duties at St. Stanislaus. During his administration, the church acquired beautiful stained glass windows, depicting the Agony in the Garden, and The Pieta, and several Saints, including St. Stanislaus located over the main entrance. He also made great improvements to the basement hall and the kitchen, making them comfortable and inviting places for parishioners to meet and work.
After the next three priests served St. Stan’s in the rapid succession, the Reverend Gerald O’Connor came in 1982. In 1983, the interior of the church was completely renovated, with new electrical and plumbing systems and new walls. More recently, new heating and air-conditioning systems were installed, as well as handicap ramps to both the church and the downstairs hall. Finally, two altar windows were placed, one depicting the Jesse Tree, and the other depicting the Sacramental Tree of Life. Most of the furnishings in the church are memorials made by parishioners for members of their families.
Perhaps Father O’Connor’s most notable accomplishment was raising the attendance of Mass to the largest number ever. St. Stan’s would hold three Masses on weekends from May through October and two throughout the rest of the year. By 1991, because of his extensive duties with all three parishes, Father O’Connor enlisted the help of the retired Reverend Andrew Kalafsky. Father Kalafsky was invaluable in assisting with the parishes, especially when Father O’Connor became ill. Deacon Mike Mangione has also assisted on many occasions.
Fr. O’Connor continued his duties at the three worship sites until his retirement in 2007. Rev Gerald O’Connor died November 20, 2009 at his home in Himrod, New York, at the age of 69. Fr. Kalafsky died after a brief illness on April 13, 2007 at age 88, spending sixty-four of those years as a priest
FATHER PATRICK CONNOR
In June of 2007, Father Patrick Connor was assigned to St. Stan’s as part of the “ABC” parishes, St. Catherine’s in Addison and St. Joseph’s in Campbell, New York.
Father Connor grew up in Our Lady of Victory parish in Lackawanna, New York, and graduated from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, with degrees in Communications/Journalism and Religious Studies.
He attended St. Bernard’s Seminary and Theological College in Washington, DC, and was ordained April 8, 1983 by Bishop Matthew Clark. He has served as Parochial Vicar and Pastor in several Southern Tier parishes before his assignment to Saints Isidore & Maria Torribia Parish.