Holy Name of Jesus Church, South Deerfield, Massachusetts
The formation of Holy Name of Jesus Church in 1929 by former members of St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church is a significant chapter in the immigration history of the village of South Deerfield. Holy Name chose to affiliate with the Polish National Catholic Church, whose first parish was organized in 1897 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, during a time of large-scale Polish immigration to the United States. Polish immigrants felt little affiliation with the largely Irish and German congregations of U.S. Catholic churches and were often shut out of church governance. At first the Polish National Catholic Church did not break away from the Roman Catholic Church but by 1904 it held its First General Synod (a council of all its churches) as a separate denomination. The early 20th century brought an influx of Polish immigrants to South Deerfield, drawn by the agricultural work available in the Connecticut River Valley. When Holy Name of Jesus Church was first formed, services were held in Redmans Hall, a fraternal hall on South Deerfield's main street. The church was built in 1930. Like other churches in the Polish National denomination, Holy Name conducted services in Polish and celebrated Polish traditions for the major holidays. Today, although the Polish National Catholic Church ritual closely follows the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic model, services are in Polish and English and the General Synod maintains ultimate authority; membership has grown to over 25,000 in the U.S. and Canada as of 2009.