There is a place! Without an appointment, without phoning in advance, you can come and kneel before an icon of the Black Madonna and unload all your deepest thoughts, secrets, and desires. There is a place ....
This place is located at the corner of LeBreton and Louisa Streets and it is known as the Polish Church under the patronage of St. Hyacinth. This Saint is still visible in stained glass above the main altar which was designed by Mr. Waclaw Czerwinski.
But let's go back to the beginning...
In the years after the War, 1945 - 1949, Canada invited many Polish soldiers from Great Britain & Italy, as well as Polish people freed from the concentration camps, to come and make their home in this new land. After fulfilling their contractual commitments to this new country, many settled in Ottawa to begin a new life. They immediately set out to find a Polish priest who could spiritually serve them in their own tongue. In 1948, the Missionary Oblates came to minister to these people both in Ottawa as well as in the surrounding valley. Fr. Jan Sajewicz OMI arrived in 1951 and shortly thereafter planted the idea of building their own church. In January 1952 Fr. Sajewicz formed a Church Committee and over the next few years it was their task to organize the community and raise funds. The Parish was given official status on January 28,1957 and by July of the same year the community moved into their new building. Mr. Roman Stankiewicz was the architect who was responsible for the project and the first Mass was celebrated in the new building on August 4, 1957.
Polish People have always had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother; so when the Church was completed one of the side altars was dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Poland. Today this devotion has grown to a special celebration once a month to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Every third Wednesday of the month, parishioners gather around this altar to pray for their homeland, as well as to celebrate and thank Our Lady for the many blessings she has bestowed upon the Polish community.
Even though the Parish has struggled over the years to meet its financial obligations, in 1996 it was decided to start and complete a major renovation project in preparation for its 40th Anniversary. Through the generosity of its parishioners, the parish raised over $120,000 in just a few months. A new roof was installed on the church as well as on the other church buildings, a new gas furnace replaced the old warn out oil furnace, the buildings were painted and the whole complex was brought up to fire and safety code with the installation of fire alarms, exit lights, and burglary alarms. Just like in the beginnings, the parishioners can take pride in their accomplishments of doing so much in such a short time.
The life of the parish is not limited to liturgical services. Committees have been formed to help the social life of the parish flourish. One such committee is the Social Events Committee, which organizes dances and other activities for the growth of the parish family. Coffee & cakes are always served after Masses on Sunday in the parish hall thanks to initiative and help of Irena Kaczmarek & Zenobia Kania.
One group which has been revitalized is the Living Rosary Circle. Under the direction of Mrs.Zofia Szarska, this group has brought the young and old together to pray the rosary. They meet every First Friday of the month after our liturgical service.
The Parish Bulletin which is issued weekly, is a main source of information for the parish as well as for the larger Polish community. In it is found not only dates and times of meetings and other gatherings in the parish but also news about what is going on around the city, in the area of the arts and other cultural activities. Parish Committees at St. Hyacinth Parish:
1. Pastoral Council
2. Finance Council
3. Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist
5. Rosary Group
6. Religion Classes for Sacramental preparation for children
7. Youth Group
8. Youth Teams of Our Lady
10. Renew Program
11. Father Pio Prayer Group
12. Knights of Immaculata
13. Parish Choir
14. Children Choir
15. Altar Servers
16. Visitors for the Sick & Lonely