In The Beginning ...

How did Ss. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church begin a century ago? What were the founders thinking when they first struck out to establish a parish in Detroit in the early decades of the 20th Century? Were they aware that they were creating an institution that would endure for 100 years and beyond? Did they realize that their efforts would provide a home not only for Slovak Americans and new immigrants from the homeland, but would serve as a melting pot for Americans and immigrants of many ethnic backgrounds; a welcoming place of peace and prayer for all who came? This is the story of our parish, told by the very pioneers who established this Church and shared through a series of articles that will eventually bring us to this current day. Fr. Libor

 

Začiatky Slovákov v Detroite

 

Aj keď oficiálna história kostola Sv. Cyrila a Methoda začína zaregistrovaním a otvorením v roku 1918, v skutočnosti sa dejiny tejto farnosti začali odohrávať už v roku 1915. Pravdepodobne sa táto myšlienka začala ako krásny sen, ale vďaka iniciatíve malej skupiny Slovákov žijúcich v Detroite a okolí sa tento sen začal aj pomaly realizovať. Bolo to v období prvej svetovej vojny a mnohí emigranti prichádzali v dôsledku politickej situácie v Európe a v Rakúsko-Uhorskej Monarchii. Väčšina emigrantov pochádzala z chudobných vrstiev obyvateľstva a začiatky v novej krajine boli veľmi ťažké. Viera bola pre mnohých z nich jedinou oporou, a preto sa už od počiatku usilovali združovať a navzájom si pomáhať. Mnohí určite ani nevedeli písať. Napriek tomu máme zachované písomné svedectvo z týchto čias, keď sa pár Slovákov spolu zišlo a rozhodli sa, že začnú organizovať Slovákov žijúcich na východnej strane Detroitu. Ich cieľom bolo založenie slovenskej farnosti.

Z tejto prvej základajúcej schôdzi sa zachovalo aj dobové svedectvo vo forme ručne písanej zápisnice. Uvádzame ju v prepise bez gramatickej opravy a s následným anglickým prekladom.

Detroit Mich dňa 16-ho Decembra 1915.

Začíname z Božiu Pomocu!

u brata Olekšaka Domiňika, ohľadom sa založenia slovenskej Osadi, a postaveňím slovenského Kostola tuna v Detroit. pri temto začiatku zme sa zešli tuna v pritomnosti Stefán Ďuraňa, Dominik Olekšak, Bella Tarabek, Stefan Cenklér, Tomaš Vojtašík pri tejto priležitosti, zme sa dohodli, ponajprv íst oznamit bratske spolki. I.K.S. Jednotu, a Penn. slov. Jednotu jakú vec mi tuna na East side steme začať. v prípade nás budú podporovat, ze slovom, a peňažite, potom sa obratime o pomoc v Redakcii Jednota, o lepšie vísvetleňie, potažne da do vízvaňia, sktereho sa nám bude hlásiť ňiekteri slovenski kňaz, a zavita kunám.

s kterej príležitosti nám bude na pomocí, zorgaňízovať národ Slovensky, a prívede ho k láske, pracovat všemožnu sílu pre Kostel. dóhoda je ponajprv medzi nami, písat do novín dopisi, o símpátiu národnu a pomoc.

stím toto končíme. Dúfajuc pomoc Božiu ženám popraje pekni víhlad v budúcnosti. budúcňe sa zeídeme u Brata Cenklera #930 Trombly Av. o dva tižňe tojest, 31ho Dec. 1915.

na temto prvem zasedaňí zme zvoleli Úrad dóčasní, kteri ma mat na starosti, a dbat o zveladeňie Osadne kteri pozostáva

Dominik Olekšak, Predseda * Štefan Ďuraňa, zápisník * Štefan Cenkler, Pokladnik * Štefan Ďuraňa, doč. zap. Osadni

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The Beginnings of the Slovak Community in Detroit

 

Although, the official beginning of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Church dates back only to year 1918, in reality the forming of the parish and our written documents began already in 1915. Most likely, this idea stared as a beautiful dream, but thanks to the initiative of a small group of Slovaks, who lived in the Detroit area, this dream was slowly put into action. Many Slovaks immigrated to the United States, especially during World War I, due to the political situation in Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The majority of them came from poor populations and beginnings in their new country were very difficult. Faith was the only support for many of them, and they sought to come together and help each other from the beginning. We have a preserved book of meeting minutes documenting when a few Slovaks gathered together and decided to start organizing and persuading the Slovak people living on the east side of Detroit of the idea of founding a Slovak parish.

Below is a transcription of the handwritten notes from this first founding meeting.

Detroit, Michigan, December 16, 1915

We begin with the help of God!

We are at the house of our brother Dominik Oleksak, for the purpose of forming a Slovak parish and building a Slovak church here in Detroit.

For these reasons we are meeting here in the presence of brothers Štefan Durana, Dominik Oleksak, Bella Tarabek, Štefan Cenkler and Tomaš Vojtašik.

On this occasion we decided first of all to inform our Slovak organizations, the First Catholic Slovak Union and the Pennsylvania Slovak Union as to what we are trying to start on the east side (of Detroit) so that they will help us verbally and financially, then we will turn to the Jednota newspaper for help to publish an article with a better explanation and maybe some Slovak priest would respond and come to us and he would help us organize our Slovak people and bring them to love and work in all ways possible with all their power to build our church.

First of all, we agreed to write a letter to the newspaper asking our Slovak people for help. With this we are ending this meeting, hoping for God’s help that he will grant us a good outlook to the future.

The next meeting will be at brother Cenkler’s house at 930 Trombly Ave. in two weeks, which is December 31, 1915. At this first meeting we elected temporary officers to be responsible and in charge of working towards building a Slovak parish. They are:

* Dominik Oleksak, President * Štefan Durana, Secretary * Štefan Cenkler, Treasurer * Signed by: Štefan Durana, Temporary Parish Secretary

In The Beginning ...

How did Ss. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church begin a century ago? What were the founders thinking when they first struck out to establish a parish in Detroit in the early decades of the 20th Century? Were they aware that they were creating an institution that would endure for 100 years and beyond? Did they realize that their efforts would provide a home not only for Slovak Americans and new immigrants from the homeland, but would serve as a melting pot for Americans and immigrants of many ethnic backgrounds; a welcoming place of peace and prayer for all who came? This is the story of our parish, told by the very pioneers who established this Church and shared through a series of articles that will eventually bring us to this current