Date of Award

Spring 1986

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This is a story about a church which really isn't much of a church. It is not a multi-million dollar institution, nor does it play bingo. This church, which is not much of a church, is a church of immigrants, immigrants who built her with their hands, with their sweat and with their blood. It is a church of the Polish language, Polish customs, and Polish traditions. It is a story of priests who are allowed to marry, it is a story of the celebration of the Eucharist that is not in Latin, and it is a story of councils and synods instead of papal dogmas and decrees. This church is about struggling people, of suffering, of bloodshed, and yet also of triumph. It is also my story, it is the church that I was baptized in, it is the church that I was confirmed and married in, it is the church I swore to obey and defend. I am a Polish National Catholic. This essay will deal with the immigrants of Polish descent and the emergence of the Polish National Catholic Church in and around the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. For a point of clarification, the Scranton based movement was contemporaneous with two other major independent movements: the Chicago movement under the leadership of Rev. Kozlowski, from 1897-1907 and with the Buffalo, N.Y. movement under the leadership of Rev. Kaminski from 1897-1914. There were several smaller independent movements during this same time frame, however, alone they did not have the strength to survive. Eventually, the Scranton movement surpassed and outlasted the others as her members increased and her unity began to solidify.