History of St. Michael's the Archangel ~ 1918-1949
Fr. Jackovics arrived in Passaic on March 3, 1918, and under his guidance St. Michael's was truly able to flourish as a parish. His strong enduring presence together with his foresight and vision contributed to the cohesiveness of the parish as a “family” – members of St. Michaels's were made to feel closer to God, closer to their Church, and closer to each other.
Among the first of his many achievements was in 1921 “opening” – for use as a cemetery- of the land initially purchased by Fr. Balogh in 1917. Fr. Jackovics was to consecrate half the cemetery grounds in 1921 and the other half in 1936.
In 1922, in order to nurture his flock both spiritually and intellectually, Fr. Jackovics established classrooms in the old auditorium for the purpose of catechetical and cultural education. These he initially staffed with two lay persons, and later with the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil, the Great.
During his tenure, Fr. Jackovics not only ensured that his parishioners would be better educated, but, he insisted also, that they be further inspired by more active and better organized choirs. This he accomplished only through the dedicated efforts of such skilled musicians as Ignac Pelazzi, John Saxun, Theodore Ratzin and his son, Anthony Racin, who was destined to faithfully serve St. Michael's as cantor/choirmaster for almost 3 decades, until his death in 1954. Another noteworthy reform during Fr. Jackovics' tenure was the change from the old Julian calendar to the new widely observed Gregorian calendar. While some of this change was met with opposition by some, most parishioners welcomed the opportunity to celebrate Church and civil holidays with their friends, relatives, or co workers in a relaxed unified manner.
A man of untiring devotion to the Church, Fr. Jackovics confirmed his ability maintain and improve the physical properties of the parish: foundations were made firm; brick walls were re pointed; new roofing was added; towers were aligned; tower clocks were refaced and electricified; and the center dome, damaged by the constant structural vibrations emanating from the many passing locomotives, were removed entirely.
In 1935, Fr. Jackovics introduced to St. Michael's their next major asset: the present Rectory and Auditorium. These were built to replace the old, dimly lit, deteriorating, unsafe, wooden, former versions of the same. To financially assist in this major endeavor, each family of St. Michael's was asked to pledge several hundred dollars payable over the course of several months. These two buildings, which still stand firm today, give constant visible witness that could be achieved by dedicated and committed Christian people united for a common goal, for nothing else short of this commitment could allow for two massive, expensive structures to be built during the height of the Depression Years.
Later in 1935, St. Michael's saw the birth of the “Mothers Club”, a society of 29 charter members organized by Fr. Jankovics to conduct socials and cater funerals for the benefit of the parish. Celebration was the theme once again in 1940 when, on November 24, Fr. Jackovics led the parish in celebrating its Golden Jubilee. And, one year later, St. Michael's, now a prospering parish, rejoiced once again as it received the first of many Assistant Pastors in the person of Rev. John Macko .
Because Fr. Jackovics, together with his assistant pastors, always faithfully administered and dutifully maintained his parish, his parish family was eager to rejoice with him as he celebrated his 50 th Anniversary as a priest in 1949. The celebration continued as the parish anticipated the long awaited burning of the mortgage on November 7, 1949. Their great joy, however was soon to be extinguished by the death of their beloved pastor one month later, on December 7, 1949. When their 75 year old Shepard died in his sleep, another era in St. Michael's history found its conclusion
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