St. John Cantius

St. John Cantius was founded as a mission in 1892 on the corner of Pitkin and Wyona, and the church was organized in 1901 as St. John of Kenty. In 1905 the name changed to St. John Cantius. Father Misicki founded the church for the growing Polish population in Brooklyn, but in fact the area around the church filled up with mostly Jewish residents. Located on the corner of New Jersey and Blake, the church was constructed in 1903.

In 2007, the Brooklyn Diocese merged St. John Cantius with St. Gabriel's and renamed the parish Mary, Mother of the Church.

Thanks to Ted Maciag for the early photo material.

St. John Cantius School, undated
The school dates to 1907 but I believe the building was constructed in 1921. The building is still standing though the school was shut in 2005 and is currently used by a non-profit. On the right, from the 2005 yearbook.
St. John Cantius School, undated
A promotional postcard, undated.
Early photograph outside of the church of the honor roll section. We are fortunate to have a current resident, Monica, who has supplied us with more information, updates, and pictures. The honor roll was in rememberence of those parishioners lost in the wars. Monica recalls the memorial remained in that location into the 1980s, but it has since been removed. The statue of the Virgin Mary now stands in the yard of the former nun's residence. That's her daughter Kayla by the statue in June 2005. The nun's residence became the site for the Pre-K and kindergarten class, known as the Monsignor Walter Galuska Kindergarten. (Jane H. tipped me off that Father Galuska led the congregation in the 1960s.)
Clearly a popular spot for photographs; Stephanie Johnsen shares these 2 images. On the left is her mother in the 1940s and on the right Stephanie years later by the Honor Roll.
That's Monica celebrating her confirmation in 1987 and you can see the honor roll memorial was still in its original location then. With Monica is her mother and Bishop Thomas Daily.
I hope Kayla doesn't mind being the star of our page! A new statue sits outside the church, entitled Our Lady of East New York. That's Kayla after her Pre-K "Stepping Up" ceremony by the statue in 2004.
Confirmation classes, circa 1942-3. Courtesy of Ted Maciag.
St. John Cantius Thrift Class 8-A, 1946
This 1946 image came from an East New York Savings Bank newsletter.
Also from Ted; this 1948 East New York Savings Bank photo lists the names; check out the suprising number of Polish names at the time. George Kowalczyk contacted me and informed me that up to about 1962, it was a requirement that both parents of all students be of Polish descent. George , who attended from 1954-62, did recall a few non-Polish names however.
Class picture from 1949
It wasn't until people began sending me class pictures from the 1960s that I realized the Polish community was still a vibrant force in this area into the 1960s. Alan Galonski not only sent these two ENY Savings class Thrift photos from 1960 and 1961, but noted he is probably the altar boy in the wedding picture a few rows below.
It was George Kowalczyk who first sent me a class picture from the 1960s that educated me about continued presence of the Polish community. The picture is his brother's 3rd grade class taken by the East New York Savings Bank. Following up George's observation that having both parents of Polish descent as a requirement eased about 1962, George noted that by 1967 no Polish lineage was required. He also noted that Polish was taught in the school up to about 1954. We heard from George Aslaender, who appears in this photo. He noted that Polish was still taught in 1965, though its not clear if it was required or not.
On the left an interior shot of the church during a 1960 wedding; apparently this was after a recent renovation. (Alan Galonski believes he is the altar boy in that pic). On the right, Monica sends in a 1980 wedding shot presided over by Father Czok. Apparently Father Czok still offered a polish language service at the church into the late 1980s.
Monica's 2007 images from her daughter's first communion show the front of the church, and on the right the location of the former honor roll memorial. That's Kayla with her aunt and cousin posing outside.
Monica sent in this 1979 image looking east. The Local Live view shows the church and the school today. The white building to the right of the church serves as the parish. Thanks to Ted and Monica for all the contributions on the page.