Don Bujak calls Immaculate Conception Church in Kingston his second home. The parish council president was the altar server as Cardinal Dolan celebrated Mass Sept. 4 to mark the 125th anniversary of Immaculate Conception Church and the 25th anniversary of the neighboring Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel.
“It’s just a big part of my life,” Bujak told CNY. “It’s a big part of my faith. It feels good to go there every week. It gives me a warm feeling and makes me feel good, especially serving on the altar.”
Bujak, 58, serves at 11 a.m. Mass each Sunday and was excited to do so for Cardinal Dolan’s visit, which included a reception on the church grounds after Mass.
“He’s never been to our church, which makes it even more special,” said Bujak, a lifelong parishioner of Immaculate Conception, a small parish church started in the late 1800s for Polish settlers in Kingston.
“The people are very dedicated to the Eucharist. They’re very caring people about the church,” said Father Miroslaw Pawlaczyk, who has served as pastor since 2016.
Father Pawlaczyk is the 12th pastor in the parish’s history. His predecessor, Father John Borzuchowski, who served as pastor, 1991-2016, is pastor emeritus.
Weekend Masses are celebrated at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday. A Polish Mass is offered at 9:30 a.m. on the first Sunday of the month.
Weekday Masses are offered at 8 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and on Saturday. A 7 p.m. Thursday Mass is followed by novena prayers honoring Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Confessions are offered at 4 p.m. Saturday or by appointment. Karen Wereszynski is the director of religious education.
The parish ministries include Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, lectors, altar servers, Living Rosary and adoration.
The parish also held its annual bazaar in July, featuring foods such as Polish sausage and peppers, stuffed cabbage and fried dough.
“Everyone looks forward to the bazaar,” Bujak said. “It’s a nice, big event.
“It’s a beautiful church on nice grounds. The parishioners and (Father Pawlaczyk) have a lot to do with it being a good parish. (Father Pawlaczyk) is phenomenal. Everybody loves him. He’s very active and energetic. He’s done a lot since he’s been here.”
The parish dates back to 1893, about 15 years after the first Polish settlers came to Kingston, when Father Francis Fremel, who served at St. Peter’s in Kingston and spoke German and Polish, was inspired by the Polish people to start a parish for them. He was appointed the first pastor.
On Christmas Day in 1896, Father Francis Fabian, the parish’s second pastor, celebrated the first Mass in the current church, which was completed in 1897 and blessed by Archbishop Michael Corrigan on Nov. 21, 1897.
The Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel officially opened on Oct. 20, 1996, when Cardinal John O’Connor, who was then Archbishop of New York, celebrated Immaculate Conception’s centennial Mass and carried the Blessed Sacrament from the church to the chapel after Mass. The chapel, in a renovated former convent, came into existence after a group of Catholics in the Kingston area, who were looking to expand adoration, organized a committee in 1994.