St. Basil's Ukrainian Catholic Church, Lancaster, New York

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Front Row Left to Right William Jamelsky

Short History of St. Bassils' Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Lancaster, New York

A meeting was held on September 18, 1915 of all local Ukrainian people living within the vicinity of Lancaster and Depew consisting of about thirty-six people (twelve families and twelve single people) who decided to form a parish and to start building a church. Officers elected were; Duytro Suchyna, President; Peter Smolnesky, Assistant President; Stephen Kin, Secretary: Louis Kuryla, Assistant Secretary, Michael Makar, Treasurer; Sydor Macko, Assistant Treasurer: Theodore Kin and Ilko Nestor, Auditors; Wasyl Jamelsky, Wasyl Udych, and Theodore Maksymik, Collectors; Wasyl Moskal, and Maxim Kotansky, Trussees. (St. Basils' Society purchase 4 lots for $450.00 and Donate to the Parish)

On February 18, 1916, about eight members formed a building committee with Stephen Kin as chairman, to start on plans to build a church. Within six months a small church was built at a cost of $3800.00. (with free labor donated by the parishioners)

A building committee of twelve parishioners was organized in 1957 with the church trustees Frank Small and Michael Kotansky in charge to start plans on building a new church. The present church was built in 1958 at a cost of $65,000.00 for the building, $7,000.00 for the windows, pews, alters etc. Total cost of $72,000.00. The parish is in debt $30,000.00. There are about 165 active parishioners. The present spiritual leader is the Rev. Philip Grushetsky, pastor.

Compliment from

St. Gregory Society Branch 22, Ukrainian workingmen's Association

Tekia Nestor, President; Rose Kin, Vice President; Stephen Kin, Secretary; Peter Sandusky, Assistant Secretary; Michael Kotansky, Treasurer, Nestor Wydysh, Assistant Treasurer, Mildred Sandusky, Anna Gawron, and Anna Zachidlo, Auditors.

St. Basil's Ukrainian Catholic Church is located at 3657 Walden Ave., Lancaster, New York. The pastor is Father Joseph Chaikovsky. The parish consists of 37 families.

The original church was erected in 1917. This was a frame building, 26 ft. wide by 50 ft. long. Mr. Stephen King Sr. headed the organization committee.

In the early 1940's, church officials foresaw that the original structure would have to be remodeled or rebuilt if the parish were to continue in existence. At that time, there was established a small building fund, expressly designated for church remodeling or reconstruction.

During the ensuing years, the building fund was gradually but steadily enlarged by private contributions, donations from the various church affiliated associations, and profits from the many church-sponsored entertainment functions.

During 1957, the church leaders decided it was time for action. While a new building was given early consideration, conservative thinking seemed to indicate remodeling as the wisest choice. However, when bids for remodeling ranged at about $30,000.00, much more serious thought was given to new construction. Mr. Frank Small, General Chairman, requested one year's time to obtain complete new building specifications and bids. The details were all prepared and bids were obtained.

The final choice had to be made, and it was unanimous for a complete new church to be built on the site of the original structure. The original building was to be moved behind the now church for later remodeling into a rectory.

The most favorable bid was from the D. H. Lorenz Construction Co. and the contract was awarded to them for a brick building 26 ft. wide by 80 ft. long. The original, bid of $53,602.50 was later increased to a total of $65,000.00 to allow for added features.

Since the funds available were far short of the total cost for the new building and fixtures, each family was requested to pledge $300.00 and each single person $150.00. Cooperation by all parishioners was most gratifying.

The immediate financing was arranged by a 15 year mortgage furnished by the Providence association of Philadelphia, Pa., for an amount of $32,000.00, to be repaid at the rate oil $253.12 per month. The first payment was made Nov. 7, 1958.

Ground breaking ceremonies, under the spiritual guidance of Father Joseph Chaikovsky, Pastor, were conducted on May 18, 1958. At that time a donation of $1,000.00 was made by the St. Mary's Sodality. Presentation was made by Mrs. Takla Nestor, President. An equal amount of $1,000.00 was donated by the Ukrainian Catholic Youth Club. Presentation was made by Mrs. Eva Spisjak, President. A private contribution of $2,350.00 was made by Mr. Stephen Kin, Sr. and family for Maas Nowe chimes.

The first mass was celebrated on Christmas, December 25, 1958. The cornerstone was laid April 12, 1959, with dedication tentatively scheduled for July 4, 1959.


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