Burke moves Polish Masses permanently.
By Tim Townsend
Of the Post-Dispatch

The decision Friday by the St. Louis Archdiocese to make St. Agatha's parish the permanent official Polish parish in St. Louis ratcheted up the continuing battle between parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and the archdiocese.

The decision was made, according to an archdiocesan spokesman, to accommodate a group the archdiocese said was made up of 150 to 200 Polish Catholics who remained loyal to the archbishop in the struggle for control of St. Stanislaus.

St. Stanislaus, which is northwest of downtown, has been controlled by its own board since 1891. It was the home of Polish-language Masses until August, when Burke temporarily transferred the Polish apostolate to St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.

"The archbishop decided it was necessary for them to have their own parish and, at the same time, help to save St. Agatha's," said Jamie Allman, the archdiocese spokesman. St. Agatha's was most recently used for the archdiocese's Tridentine, or Latin, Mass.

Allman said if Burke and the parishioners remaining at St. Stanislaus resolve their dispute, it would be up to the group at St. Agatha's as to whether or not the archdiocese would return the Polish apostolate to St. Stanislaus.

He did not say what would happen to St. Agatha's. "That would be determined then," he said.

For more than a year, St. Stanislaus parishioners and Burke have been arguing over control of the church's governance. Robert Zabielski, a member of the St. Stanislaus board, said he was not surprised by Burke's decision to name another church as the official Polish church in the archdiocese.

"We're still the Roman Catholic Polish church in St. Louis," said Zabielski. "It looks like he doesn't want to work this out. He's abandoned us. We have not abandoned him."

Zabielski said the parish is currently looking for a Roman Catholic priest who will regularly celebrate Mass in the church.

Tim O'Neil of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Reporter Tim Townsend
E-mail: ttownsend@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 314-340-8221
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