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Good Shepherd Church at 28th and Kolin ave. was established in 1907 to serve Polish families who had settled south of Ogden ave. and west of Crawford ave. (now Pulaski Rd.). The parish was formed from a portion of St. Mary of Czestochowa Church at 30th St. and 48th Ct. in Cicero, IL, and from part of St. Casimir Church at 22nd and Whipple St. in Chicago.

After the turn of the century, the South Lawndale neighborhood developed rapidly. In 1902, the Douglas Park branch of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway was built to Pulaski rd. and by 1907, it had been extended to Cicero ave. In 1903, the Western Electric Company was relocated from its Loop location at Congress and Clinton St. to 22nd and Cicero Ave. in Hawthorne (now Cicero), IL. Efforts at organizing this national parish began in 1906 when a group of Poles met at Biesiada’s Inn at 2801 S. Kostner Ave. A committee was formed and its members presented a petition for a parish to Archbishop James E. Quigley. The Archbishop did not give his immediate approval; instead, he encouraged the committee to return to the neighborhood and to begin house-tohouse collections for a church. For the next year, these energetic laymen raised money among the 100 Polish families who had settled in the area and in 1907, Archbishop Quigley officially established Good Shepherd parish. He also granted a loan of $4,000.

In June 1907, the Archbishop appointed Rev. Alexander Jung as pastor of the new parish while retaining his duties as pastor of St. Mary of Gostyn Church in Downers Grove, IL. (now in the Joliet diocese). For nearly a year, he commuted each Sunday from his country parish to the city via the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. Ten lots on the 2700 block of S. Kolin Ave. were purchased for the new parish. With the assistance of Rev. Adalbert Furman, pastor of St. Casimir 4 parish, a frame hail was acquired from a Swedish Protestant congregation and this structure was moved on rollers from 28th and Kostner Ave. to 28th and Kolin Ave. For the next five years, this building served as Good Shepherd Church. The new national parish was located within the boundaries of the territorial (English-speaking) parish of Epiphany which had been established in 1901 at 25th and Keeler Ave. In 1908, Father Jung was relieved of his Downers Grove parish and he turned his attention to organizing Polish Catholics who lived at the western edge of the city. In 1910, the Felician Sisters opened a parish school in a portion of the frame church. Under Father Jung’s leadereship, the present rectory was constructed in 1912 at 2719 S. Kolin Ave. At the same time, a combination church, convent, and school  structure was built at 2733 S. Kolin Ave. This brick building, which still serves as the school, was completed according to plans drawn up by the architectural firm of Worthmann & Steinbach. Following the opening of the new quarters. The old frame ediface was turned Into a parish hail.

After the United States declared war on Germany on Apr. 6, 1917, Camp Fort Dodge was established in the 2600 block of Kostner Ave. and Camp Grant was opened in the 2700 block of Kostner Ave. With so many men stationed in the army camps, area businesses thrived and parishioners enjoyed the nightly concerts sponsored by the Army Band.

Father Jung continued to serve as pastor until his death on Oct. 19, 1918; he was a victim of the influenza epidemic which took thousands of lives in Europe) and the United States.

On Nov. 4, 1918, Rev. Francis J. Wojciechowski was appointed pastor of Good Shepherd Church. Prior to this assignment, he had served as pastor of Transfiguration parish on the city’s north side.

In 1919, Father Wojciechowski directed the construction of a third story to the parish school which increased the number of classrooms from four to ten. By 1925, 264 students were enrolled under the direction of six Felician Sisters.

Although a building fund for a new church was begun in April 1932, only a small sum was raised during the Depression years. The silver jubilee of the founding of Good Shepherd parish was celebrated on June 26, 1932; at the time, 600 families belonged to the parish.

Following Father Wojciechowski’s death on Dec. 18, 1943 at the age of 64, Rev. Alois P. Szczerkowski was appointed pastor. He came to Good Shepherd parish in January 1944 from Chicago Heights, IL., where he had served as pastor of St. Joseph Church. Father Al, as he liked to be called, was appointed a Domestic Prelate with the title Right Reverend Monsignor in August 1957. He was the first American-born priest assigned to head this parish.

At the time of the 50th jubilee of Good Shepherd parish, which was celebrated on Apr. 27, 1958, 1,000 families belonged to the parish and 428 children were enrolled in the school.

To provide modern living quarters for the Felician Sisters, Msgr. Szczerkowski directed the construction of a convent at 2735 S. Kolin Ave., on the site of the old frame meeting hall. For years, the nuns had resided at 2724 S. Kolin Ave. in a house which had belonged to the Thomas Napolski family. The spacious new convent was dedicated on Sept. 24, 1961.

Following Msgr. Szczerkowski’s death on Oct. 19, 1963 at the age of 72, Rev. Anthony A. Ziober was appointed pastor. Prior to this assignment, he had served as an assistant at the Polish parish of SS. Peter and Paul.

Under Father Ziober’s leadership, plans for a new church were finalized. On Dec. 3, 1967, ground at the northeast corner of 28th and Kolin ave. was broken and Mass in the new structure was celebrated for the first time on Christmas Eve 1968. Chester Tobolski designed the modern brick edifice which was dedicated in imposing ceremonies on Nov. 23, 1969 by John Cardinal Cody.

Although school enrollment had been as high as 444 students in 1965, only 335 children were enrolled by 1973. This drop in enrollment came at the same time that costs of operating a parish school increased.

Following Father Ziober’s death on May 19, 1974, Rev. Norbert J. Lulinski was appointed administrator. Father Lulinski was well acquainted with the parish, having served as associate pastor since 1962.

Since its founding, Good Shepherd has been a national parish serving Polish families who live in the territory bounded by Ogden ave. on the north; the Sanitary and Ship Canal on the south; the railroad tracks at Cicero Ave. on the west; and Central Park Ave. on the east. Of the 900 families who now belong to the parish, 25% are Hispanic. In 1978, 274 children were enrolled in the parish school under the direction of five Felician Sisters and five lay teachers.

Under Father Lulinski’s leadership, the religious education program for Catholic children enrolled in public schools has been updated and a children’s liturgy has been initiated. The pastor works with any group that aims at bringing the parish community together; to this end, the parish auditorium has been opened up for meetings of neighborhood civic groups. Active parish organizations include the Good Shepherd School Board, Holy Name Society, Mothers’ Club, Rosary Guild, Ushers’ Club, and Lectors’ Club.

Rev. Alexander Krzywosz is associate pastor. Stanley Cebrzynski, the first permanent deacon to be ordained from the parish, now serves at Mercy Hospital.

From “A History of the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago” – 1980
Reprinted with the permission of the Chicago Archdiocese.

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