Saint George Roman Catholic Lithuanian Church - Founding


Lithuanians began to emigrate to the United States at the end of the 19th century. There is no precise data about the first Lithuanians in Rochester. Antanas Sabalis in his 1983 book about St. George's Roman Catholic Lithuanian Parish and the Rochester Lithuanians quotes Mykolas Ventis remembering that the first Lithuanians came to Rochester about 1890. By the end of 1905, there were some 400 Lithuanians in Rochester, many of them young men having escaped the hardships of the coal mines of Pennsylvania. Visiting Lithuanian priests from other cities held Mass in Lithuanian in the Holy Redeemer Church or the parish's Concordia Hall. German Pastor Jacob Staub encouraged local Lithuanian men to seek a permanent Lithuanian priest. Before the Easter in 1905, they invited Father Kazimieras Urbonavičius to come. To appear more favorably, they also organized the Saints Peter and Paul Society with 28 initial members.

It was at the September 9, 1906, meeting of the Saints Peter and Paul Society that Adomas Butrimas proposed the idea of establishing a Lithuanian Roman Catholic Parish. All 200 members in attendance agreed. At the October 14 meeting of the Saints Peter and Paul Society, 134 members pledged their support and decided that members would go house-to-house collecting funds for the new parish. At the next meeting on November 13, the members settled on the name of Saint George, the Martyr, for their new parish. At the October 14 meeting 461 potential parishioners were enrolled; by April 1909 there were 690.

On January 23, 1908, St. George's Roman Catholic Church (Lithuanians) was incorporated.

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