The Polish Roman Catholic Union of America is the oldest Polish-American Fraternal. It was established in 1873 and is still today the largest Polish Roman Catholic fraternal benefit society in the United States.
The founders of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America were Rev. Teodor Gieryk; Rev. Vincent Barzynski, CR; and Jan Barzynski, editor of the “Pilgrim” one of the earliest Polish language papers in the U.S. By the late 19th century, large numbers of Polish immigrants were arriving in America, seeking a better life. Jan Barzynski was writing editorials that these Polish immigrants should unite into one organization. To effect this he organized the Polish Organization in America. The first convention of this was held at St. Adalbert Church in Detroit, Michigan in 1873. At this convention delegates renamed the organization the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, as they felt it was important for Poles to remain faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. The convention approved a pioneer social work program to administer to the spiritual and material needs of the Polish immigrants. Rev. Teodor Gieryk was elected the first president of the PRCUA and Rev. Leopold Moczygemba, founder of the first organized Polish colony at Panna Maria, Texas, was elected to succeed him.
Initially, the PRCUA had no insurance system. It helped its members by collecting donations for widows, orphans, and the needy. In 1886, Rev. Vincent Barzynski, CR introduced an insurance system, which was implemented. The PRCUA donated large sums of money to build churches, schools, and do the worthwhile projects of Polonia.
They urged members to blend the best of their Polish culture with their newly acquired American virtues and ideals so they could become good citizens and loyal patriots.
Today the PRCUA is licensed in 24 states and has 565 active Societies.
Jerry S. Kucharski, FIC, FICF, who is a historian and long time genealogist, compiled these records.
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Copyright © 2001 Jerry S. Kucharski. All rights reserved. Used by permission.