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St. Mary’s Assumption Roman Catholic Church

Farms and quarries brought immigrants to Orleans County in the second half of the nineteenth century. The first five Poles arrived in Orleans County in the spring of 1877, having heard of the need of stone workers in the area. Finding steady work and good wages at the sandstone quarries, they encouraged friends and family to move to Albion. The first year saw the Polish population grow to 20 and more American born Poles moved in. In 1879 the first Poles began arriving directly from Poland and the population grew rapidly.

These first settlers attended St. Joseph’s, Albion’s Irish parish. By 1890 the church was home to 200 Polish families and Father Castaldi set up a mission for them within the parish. But when word reached the bishop of the size of the Polish congregation, he transferred Father Bartholomew Swinko out of St. Casimir’s in Elmira and into Albion. On August 12, 1891 St. Mary’s Assumption Roman Catholic Church was formally established with Joseph Cichocki and Stephen Daniels serving as its first trustees.

Father Swinko started using the chapel in St. Joseph’s School as the base for the parish as he began looking for a suitable location to place his church. Finding a lot at the corner of Brown and Moore, Father Bartholomew secured it and on August 15, 1892 the cornerstone for the new church was laid.

The new brick church with Medina sandstone trim and remodeled home that became the rectory cost the congregation $19,000. Father Swinko left in 1896 and the parish saw 10 priests over the next 25 years but St. Mary’s became a proving ground for several priests. It was the last stop before they would be assigned to establish a new parish. After serving at St. Mary’s Father Leopold Stein became the founder of St. Luke’s in Buffalo’s East Side in 1908; in 1909 Father Stanislaus Bubacz would organize a mission in Medina and establish Orleans County’s other Polish parish, Sacred Heart of Jesus; Father Ladislaus Brejski was charged with opening St. Valentines in the First Ward of Buffalo in 1920; and Father John Paul was sent to Lackawanna to start St. Michael’s in 1921.

It was under the leadership of Reverend Stein that a new parish school was built in 1907. Working with a $5,000 budget, J. L. Houghton gave Father Leopold a two-story, 84 by 40-foot structure with four classrooms and living quarters for the Felician Sisters on the first floor. The second floor had space for a large open auditorium that could serve as a community gathering place. Bishop Colton dedicated the building on April 14, 1907 and served as the parish school until 1977 when it closed. In 1924 St. Mary’s Athletic Club was established with Stephen Lubawy serving as president and Adam Lewandowski and Martin Zwifka as trustees.

In the 1940s and ‘50s St. Mary’s Church was completely redecorated with new murals and a fresh set of stained glass windows. The paintings by Joseph Mazur included The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek and The Sacrifice of Isaac. The stained glass windows, executed by Frohe of Buffalo told of the Life of Christ and Mary.

As part of the Diocese of Buffalo’s Journey in Faith and Grace, Assumption was joined to St. Joseph’s Church. In 2011 the building was sold and became the Light of Victory Church.


A Brief Chronology of Saint Mary's Assumption Church, Albion, N. Y. N.d. Albion, NY.
Album Pamiatkowe I Przewodnik Handlowy: Osady Polskiej W Miescie Buffalo, Z Dolaczeniem Okolicznych Miejscowosci Ze Stanu New York. Buffalo, 1906. Print.
Ballard, Matthew R., and Orleans County Genealogical Society. "Albion's Polonia." Albion's Polonia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
Drabik, Michael. "Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin Mary Church Albion, New York."Searchers 25 (Spring 2000): 15. Print
Ederer, Martin F. "Catholic Polonia in Western New York - 9 Orleans County's Polish Parishes." Am-Pol Eagle [Cheektowaga, NY] 3 Feb. 2005: 16. Print.
Fronczak, Francis Eustace, Aleksander Pitass, and Mieczysław Haiman. "Ci, Którzy Do Pomogli Do Wydania Księgi Jubileuszowej - Wladyslaw H. Zawadzki." Księga Pamiątkowa Złotego Jubileuszu Osady Polskiej I Parafji Św. Stanisława, B. I M. W Buffalo, New York, 1873-1923. [Buffalo, N.Y.]: Nakładem Komitetu Wydawniczego, 1923. Print.
Kobielski, Milton J. Millennium of Christianity of the Polish People, 966-1966: Buffalo Diocesan Observance. [Buffalo]: Millennium Committee of the Diocese of Buffalo, 1966. Print.
"Light of Victory Church." Light of Victory Church. Light of Victory Church, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
"PGSNYS" Polish Parishes of WNY - Detail. Assumption, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.
"Polish School House." The Orleans Republican [Albion, NY] 17 Apr. 1907: n. pag. Print.
"St. Mary's Polish Church and Rectory on Brown Street." The Orleans Republican [Albion, NY] 5 June 1907: 1. Print.
The Catholic Church in the United States of America. Vol. III. New York, NY: Catholic Editing, 1914. Print.

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