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You Are Here : Parish History  >>  Five Holy Martyrs History Thursday, August 13, 2020
In Memoriam
Magdaleno Raymundo, 82
     Deceased 6/17/2019
     Husband of Gloria Raymundo
     Father of Oscar, Alejandro,
          Gustavo, Eddie & Marisela
Richard J. Maciuszek, 89
     Deceased 6/12/2019
     Son of the late Stanley
          & the late Sophie Maciuszek
     Brother of Eugene &
          the late Joseph, the late Bruno, 
          the late Thaddeus, the late Frank,
          the late Victor, the late Walter,
          the late Edward, the late Stephanie,
          & the late Leonard
Maria de Jesus Ruiz, 57
     Deceased 6/5/2019
     Mother of Llesica, Llanderin
          & the late Maria
Margarita Ramirez, 83
     Deceased 6/3/2019
     Wife of the late Jose Ramirez
     Mother of Alfonso, Jose, Ramon,
          Ana Maria & Maria Isabel                                                                                               
Jacek "Jack" Wojcik, 53
     Deceased 4/25/2019
     Son of Stanisław & Daniela Wojcik
     Brother of the late Waldemar Wojcik
     Husband of Urszula Wojcik
     Father of Cynthia, Veronique
          & Violeta
John Hummel, 48
     Deceased 3/25/2019
     Son of the late Raymond Hummel
         & Maryann Hummel
Marion Niedospial, 90
     Deceased 3/11/2019
     Brother of Casimir Niedos
Zofia Bystrek, 62
     Decaesed 1/12/2019
     Wife of the late Bogdan Bystrek
     Mother of Malgorzata
Rev. Wojciech Baryski SChr, 79
     Deceased 1/3/2019
     (Puszczykowo, Poland)
     Former Pastor of
          Five Holy Martyrs Parish from
Helen Troska, 97
     Deceased 1/1/2019
     Mother of Robert Klimek
Maria Perez, 105
     Deceased 11/27/2018
     Mother of Jose, Brigido, Fulgencio,
          Altagracia, Julieta, Juanita, Reyna,
          Maria, the late Merced, & the late
David Quiroz, 33
     Deceased 11/13/2018
     Son of the late James Quiroz
     & Natalie Quiroz
     Father of Arianna, Izabella & Damian
Mary Ann Spanski, 87
     Deceased 11/6/2018
     Wife of the late Henry Spanski
     Mother of Marilyn, Evelyn, Steven,
          Ellen, Nancy & Grace
Andrzej Chmenia, 82
     Deceased 10/24/2018
     Husband of Ludwina Chmenia
     Father of Antoni & Stanley
Kazimiera Sulkowski, 89
     Deceased 10/22/2018
     Wife of the late Josep Sulkowski
     Mother of Lucyna, Zuzanna,
          Thaddeus & Richard
Eleanore P. Brasky, 96
     Deceased 9/26/2018
     Wife of the late Edmund J. Brasky
     Mother of Theodore, Randal,
          Daniel, Terrence & Edmund
Stanisław Dyngosz, 80
     Deceased 9/22/2018
     Husband of Leokadia Dyngosz
     Father of Krzysztof & Wiola
Joann Smith, 70
     Deceased 9/6/2018
     Mother of Rachel
Gonzalo Vazquez, 27
     Deceased 8/20/2018
     Son of Marco Antonio Munoz &
          Ana Maria Vazquez
     Father of Isaiah, Javier, Julian,
          Jacob, Elizabeth, Ava,
          Ariana & Dalia
Denise Storcz, 67
     Deceased 8/6/2018
     Pre-School Teacher at
     Pope John Paul II Catholic School
     Daughter of the late Stanley &
          the late Lillian Storcz
     Sister of Richard
Jesse R. Nava, 69
     Deceased 8/4/2018
     Father of Jessica & Melissa
Marek Antolak, 45
     Deceased 7/30/2018
     Stepson of Zofia Antolak
Urszula Gierlak, 91
     Deceased 7/13/2018
     Wife of the late Alexander Gierlak
     Mother of John, Bozena & Lucy
Richard T. Czerniak, 88
     Deceased 6/10/2018
     Husband of Gertrude Czerniak
     Father of Thomas, Judith
          Valerie, David & Richard II
Frank Mogelnicki
     Deceased 5/2018
Josephine Sadley-Stachyra, 93
     Deceased 4/8/2018
     Mother of Rev. Kenneth & Gerilynn
Rose Marie Stalman, 85
     Deceased 3/28/2018
     Daughter of the late Joseph
     & the late Clara Stelmachowski
Emily Bzdel, 68
     Deceased 3/15/2018
     Wife of Antoni Bzdel
     Mother of Adam & Wieslaw
Ann Barashas, 105
     Deceased 3/2/2018
     Wife of the late Alex Barashas
Edward Bogus, 99
     Deceased 2/4/2018
     Husband of the late Mary Bogus
     Father of Sharon, Shirley,
          the late Sheila, & Edward G.
Julia Hebda, 89
     Deceased 1/7/2018
     Daughter of the late Peter
     & the late Agnes Hebda
Wiesława Rzadkowska, 82
     Deceased 11/20/2017 (Poland)
     Wife of the late Jan Rzadkowski
     Mother of Urszula, Mark, Peter
          & Joanna
Aloysius Lustofin, 77
     Deceased 10/29/2017
     Son of the late Alojzy & the late
     Mary Lustofin
     Brother of Mary, Christine & Stella
Irene Tomasiewicz, 90
     Deceased 10/24/2017
     Wife of the late Stanley Tomasiewicz
     Mother of Patricia, Donna, Denise
          & the late Debbie
Frank Moron, Sr., 96
     Deceased 9/28/2017
     Husband of Margarita Moron
     Father of Frank, Gloria,
          Linda, Susan & Mario
Sylvia Mizerka, 86
     Deceased 9/11/2017
     Wife of the late Robert Mizerka
     Mother of Deborah
Kenneth Walsh, 87
     Deceased 9/9/2017
     Husband of the late Alice Walsh
     Father of Mary & Michael
Walter Guzy, 101
     Deceased 8/31/2017
     Husband of the late Josephine Guzy
     Father of Diane & Carol
Theresa Rzeszutko, 86
     Deceased 8/17/2017
     Wife of the late Stanley Rzeszutko
     Mother of Katherine, Barbara
          & Kenneth
Genowefa Zalewska, 87
     Deceased 7/27/2017
     Wife of the late Stanisław Zalewski
     Mother of Stanisława Danuta,
          Stanisława, the late Andrzej
          & the late Tadeusz
Nancy Gacki, 61
     Deceased 6/10/2017
     Daughter of the late Bruno
          & the late Harriet Gacki
Arleen Hildebranski, 83
     Deceased 5/5/2017
     Wife of Joseph Hildebranski
     Mother of Felicia, Lawrence,
          Christine & Valerie
Władysław Zolnik, 77
     Deceased 4/28/2017
     Husband of Genowefa Zolnik
     Mother of Wes, Krzysztof,
          Wojciech & Sebastian
Robert J. Kaczmarek, 51
     Deceased 4/21/2017
     Husband of Irena T. Kaczmarek
Maria M. Mechlinska, 91
     Deceased 3/6/2017
     Wife of the late Jerzy Mechlinski
     Mother of Marek
Barbara Kopsky, 71
     Deceased 3/1/2017
     Wife of the late Lawrence Kopsky
     Mother of Jeffrey & Christopher
Mary Ann Sikorski, 74
     Deceased 2/14/2017
     Wife of Ronald Sikorski
     Mother of Lisa
Józef Maśnica, 87
     Deceased 2/14/2017
     Husband of Wanda Maśnica
     Father of Stanisława, Kazimierz
          & Krzysztof
Franciszek Kopeć, 74
     Deceased 1/3/2017
     Husband of Anna Kopeć
     Father of Piotr, Wojciech,
          Beata & Renata


Five Holy Martyrs Parish at Pope John Paul II Drive (43rd St.) and Richmond St. on the southwest side of Chicago was founded as a national parish in November 1908 to serve Polish families in the Brighton Park neighborhood. As early as 1878, St. Agnes Parish had been founded by Irish Catholics of Brighton Park and in 1887, French Catholics established Sts. Joseph & Anne (now Our Lady of Fatima) Parish.
In addition to organizing Five Holy Martyrs Parish, Rev. Joseph H. Kruszka also cared for the Polish Parish of St. Mary of Gostyn in Downers Grove, IL until March 21, 1913. This national parish is now located in the Joliet diocese.
For a time, Father Kruszka celebrated Mass on Sundays in the Davis Public School building, 3014 W. 39th Pl. In May 1909, the cornerstone of a combination church/school building was laid and by the time this structure was completed at 3141 W. 41st St. in December 1909, 95 families belong to Five Holy Martyrs Parish. Lay teachers staffed the parish school until 1912 when the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Kunegunda were given charge.
The growth of this parish was slow at first. However, many Polish families settled in the neighborhood after 1914, when Crane Company relocated its manufacturing plant from 15th and Canal St. to 4100 S. Kedzie Ave., across the street from Five Holy Martyrs Church. By 1916, 308 children were enrolled in the parish school.
With the influx of new families into the neighborhood and the shift of the business district to Archer Ave., it soon became apparent that Five Holy Martyrs Parish was not centrally located. Father Kruszka began to search for a parish site south of Archer Ave., and he purchased the city block bounded by 43rd St. (now Pope John Paul II Drive), 44th St., Richmond St., and Francisco Ave., which had been owned by the Jesuit Fathers of St. Ignatius College.
The cornerstone of the new church building was laid on August 3, 1919 and the Spanish “mission style” structure was completed at the southeast corner of 43rd St. (Pope John Paul II Drive) and Richmond St. according to plans drawn up by architect Arthur Foster. During the dedication ceremonies on October 31, 1920, Archbishop George W. Mundelein “congratulated the pastor, the Rev. Joseph H. Kruszka, and his congregation on the beautiful by inexpensive buildings that they had erected and encouraged them to greater things.” The parish school, which adjoined the church at 4317 S. Richmond St., contained 12 classrooms.
By 1920, 1,298 families belonged to Five Holy Martyrs Parish. Named pastor of St. Ann Parish at 18th Pl. and Leavitt St. in April 1921, Father Kruszka was succeeded by Fr. James J. Strzycki, former pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Harvey, IL.
The new pastor directed the construction of the present rectory at 4327 S. Richmond St. as well as the present convent, which was completed at 2901 W. 43rd St. in 1922. After two years of commuting each day from their living quarters at the old church building on 41st St. near Kedzie Ave., the Sisters finally had a conveniently located convent.
In 1924, St. Pancratius Parish was established to serve 773 Polish families—many of whom were recent immigrants from Poland who settled in the area North of Archer Ave. The old Five Holy Martyrs church and school building at 3141 W. 41st St. was given over to the new parish.
Enrollment in the parish school continued to increase so rapidly that by 1924, more classrooms were needed. To alleviate this situation, Father Stryzycki financed the construction of an $85,00 building at 4328 S. Francisco Ave. with an adjoining wing which was know as the “Bungalow (now Bishop Abramowicz) Hall.” This school addition was completed according to plans drawn up by architect Leo Strelka and it was dedicated by Cardinal Mundelein on May 17, 1925. At the time, 1,235 children were enrolled under the direction of 22 Sister of Blessed Kunegunda (now the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago). By the end of the 1920's, parish membership numbered more than 2,000 families with more than 1,800 children enrolled in the school.
Throughout the Depression, Father Strzycki operated a free employment bureau for his parishioners who were in need of work. In addition to obtaining jobs for neighborhood men and women, he employed many parishioners to landscape the parish grounds at a rate of $.30 an hour.
November 19, 1934 was a red-letter day for the parish: Cardinal Mundelein dedicated the new L-shaped addition to the church and he invested Father Stryzcki as a Papal Chamberlain with the title Very Reverend Monsignor. To meet the needs of the many children of the parish, the pastor established a recreation center that was dedicated on July 17, 1938. The athletic field included baseball diamonds, a boxing ring, and playground space. One of the principal speakers at the dedication ceremony was Mayor Edward J. Kelly.
Hundreds of young men from the parish served in the armed forces during World War II and a monument was erected in front of the Richmond School building in honor of the 60 members of the parish who were killed in the war.
In 1946, Msgr. Strzycki was named a Domestic Prelate with the title Right Reverend Monsignor. In 1950, he erected a shrine tin honor of Our Lady of Fatima on the rectory lawn and this shrine is now the site of the annual May Crowning.


At the time of Msgr. Stryzcki’s death on July 28, 1956 at the age of 69, more than 2,500 families belong to Five Holy Martyrs Parish. His successor was Father Edward A. Maday, who served as an assistant at the parish following his ordination in 1929. Father Maday returned to Brighton Park in January 1957 from St. Helen Paish where he had been an assistant.
Throughout the 1950's, parish membership continued to increase steadily and Fr. Mayday directed an extensive program of renovation during which most of the parish buildings were updated. The church was air-conditioned and redecorated in preparation for the golden jubilee, which was celebrated on November 8, 1959. At the time of this event, 3,800 families belonged to Five Holy Martyrs Parish and 918 children enrolled in the school.
Although the pastor was not able to fulfill his plan for a new church edifice, he did receive permission from the Chancery Office to remodel and enlarge the church. Work on this project began on May 1, 1963 and during the next 10 months, Masses were celebrated in the Bungalow Hall. The nave of the church was lengthened and the new sanctuary was constructed as part of the modernization program. Five Holy Martyrs Church was reopened for worship in March of 1964.
In July 1968, Father Maday requested permission to resign from his position as pastor because of poor health. He died two months later on September 5, 1968.
Most Reverend Alfred L. Abramowicz, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, was appointed pastor on July 15, 1968. He had served as an Archdiocesan Consultor and as Vice Officials of the Metropolitan Tribunal prior to his consecration as Auxiliary Bishop on June 13, 1968. Bishop Abramowicz was baptized in the original Five Holy Martyrs Church and his family remained as parishioners until St. Pancratius Parish was organized in 1924.
Bishop Abramowicz continued the remodeling program begun by his predecessor. The school buildings were renovated to comply with current fire regulations and they took on the appearance of newly-built structures. Both parish halls and kitchen facilities were updated and parishioners donated their labor to convert the old parish hall in the Francisco Building into a gymnasium. The convent was refurbished and a new chapel, dining room, kitchen and laundry were constructed.


It was with great joy that Five Holy Martyrs parishioners learned that the parish had been selected as the site of an open-air Field Mass to be celebrated by Pope John Paul II on October 5, 1979 during his three-day visit to Chicago. In preparation of the Pope’s visit to Brighton Park, homeowners decorated their bungalows and two-flats with papal banners and signs of welcome. More than 17,500 people, representing predominantly Polish parishes, organizations, and institutions of the Chicago Archdiocese participated in the special Mass that was held in the parking lot of Five Holy Martyrs Parish. Speaking in his native tongue, the Pope told the assembled crowd that their offertory gifts represented “all the contributions that the sons and daughters of our first homeland, Poland, have made to the history and life of their second homeland across the ocean.” On January 16, 1980, the street in front of Five Holy Martyrs Church was renamed Pope John Paul II Drive. As a result of the action of the Chicago City Council, the portion of 43rd Street which extends from Kedzie to Western Avenues now bears the name of the first Polish Pope.
Because of a large influx of Polish immigrants to Brighton Park, Bishop Abramowicz stressed the ethnicity of Five Holy Martyrs Parish. The Polish language was taught at “Saturday school” in the PRCUA-run Maria Konopnicka Polish Language School and traditional Polish customs were, and continue to be, observed. The Mass is celebrated in the Polish language during alternate weekdays, at two Masses on Sunday and the parish bulletin is published in both English and Polish. In keeping with the precepts of the Second Vatican Council, missions, penitential services, novenas, and various liturgies including Divine Mercy have been inaugurated in the parish.
From “A History of the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago” – 1980
Reprinted with permission of the Chicago Archdiocese



Canonization Celebration at FHM on April 27, 2014

 Five Holy Martyrs Parish plans “Night Vigil” 

to celebrate the Canonization of

Blesseds Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII

        Five Holy Martyrs Parish, 4301 S. Richmond St., in Chicago, is planning to celebrate the Canonization of Blesseds Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII on April 27, 2014 - Divine Mercy Sunday - with a “Night Vigil” in our church.

       The event, coordinated in association with the Polish Highlander Alliance of North America and the Solidarity Circle of Chicago, will begin at midnight and will include the recitation of the rosary, poems about Pope John Paul II, solo and choral performances, and organ and Polish Highlander folk music. We are pleased to have the following people take part and perform in the “Night Vigil” celebration: Jan Zoltek, Miroslawa Topor-Sojka, Bogdan Pawlikowski, Witold Socha, Adam Chlebek, Jozef Bafia, Polish Highlander String Ensemble, and members of the Polish Highlander opera “John Paul II in the Highlands”.

       There will be a short break at 2:00 a.m. for coffee, pastries, and snacks in the Bishop Abramowicz parish hall. At exactly 3:00 a.m. the live transmission of the Canonization Mass in Rome, courtesy of TV Trwam, will be broadcast on jumbotron screens in the church. Immediately upon conclusion of the transmission, a Mass will be celebrated in our church to fulfill the Sunday obligation with veneration of the relic of Pope John Paul II. The normal Sunday Mass schedule will then follow with Masses at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.; with an additional Mass at 3:00 p.m. to celebrate the feast of the Divine Mercy.

       It is our great honor to announce that the 9:00 a.m. Mass will be celebrated by Most Rev. Alberto Rojas, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, with participation by members of our parish Pro-Life Group, Holy Name of Jesus Society, Catholic War Veterans Post #500, Scout Troop #465 & Pack #3465, and the students of Pope John     Paul II Catholic School. After the Mass there will be the opportunity to venerate the relic of Saint John Paul II.

       Pope John Paul II holds a special place in the hearts and homes of the people of Five Holy Martyrs parish, as well as the Brighton Park community, because he celebrated a Mass on October 5, 1979 at a special altar that was erected in our parish parking lot specifically for his visit. The Mass was attended by thousands of people who crowded the lot and the streets before dawn just to catch a glimpse of our Holy Father and be a part of that historical day.

       The main part of this altar still remains in our lot and a Mass commemorating the anniversary of Pope John Paul II‘s visit is celebrated at this altar every year on the first Sunday of October. The Pope John Paul II Centrum Committee of our parish has raised over $70,000 so far, and continues raising funds, in order to renovate this altar to make it a more permanent fixture in our community, where one can come to and honor Pope John Paul II in prayer. The first phase of this project began on March 19 – the feast of St. Joseph.

       Other notable remnants of that Mass include the Papal chair and processional cross. The Papal chair was carved from wood by an artist and former parishioner, Jerzy Simon Kenar. It was used by Pope John Paul II during the October 5, 1979 Mass, thus now making it a secondary relic. It can be viewed at the main entrance to the church. The ten foot processional cross was carved by a professional wood carver and former parishioner, John Jachymiak. It was carried in the procession during the 1979 Mass and is now located in the priest’s sacristy in our church. These items are prized treasures of the parish.

       On September 24, 2011, Five Holy Martyrs parish was very fortunate to have received a primary relic of Blessed Pope John Paul II from His Eminence, Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, and the former personal secretary to Pope John Paul II. The relic is a drop of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s blood on a cloth protected by a lunula, a small, round glass encasement. The lunula has been mounted into a reliquary, a vessel in which a relic is held and exposed.

       Since receiving this relic, Five Holy Martyrs parish celebrates and honors the life of Pope John Paul II every first Sunday of the month by sharing interesting facts, stories, and poems about him in a special bulletin insert; by offering up our petitions to God through his intercession and venerating his relic at the 9:00 a.m. English and the 11:00 a.m. Polish Masses; reciting the prayer for his canonization as a community of believers; and finally by receiving a special blessing with the relic at the end of Mass.

       All past parishioners, neighbors and friends are cordially invited to join us for this once in a lifetime Canonization Mass celebration at Five Holy Martyrs church beginning at midnight on April 27, 2014. There are no tickets required to attend this event and it will be general seating on a first come basis.

       For more information about the Canonization Mass celebration or the renovation of the outdoor Papal Altar, please contact Five Holy Martyrs parish office at (773) 254-3636, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.




Five Holy Martyrs Catholic Church * 4327 S. Richmond St. * Chicago, IL 60632 * 1-773-254-3636        email:


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