[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]
1894 (Chapter 5)
January 1894 The Detroit News publishes letters of a debate nature from parish priests regarding the reinstatement of Fr. K.
February 3, 1894 Satolli’s personal representative, Msgr. Donato Sbaretti, came to Detroit to negotiate a settlement with Fr. K. The church wanted the 10,000+ members of SHM parish in their flock.
February 4, 1894 Organ recital is given to dedicate the new organ at SHM. There was a large turnout from the city at large.
Februray 6-10, 1894 Sbaretti and Kolasinski negotiated an agreement to reinstate the parish of SHM into the good graces of the Roman Catholic Church. Fr. K would do a one week period of penance but the church would not be closed (even temporarily). Fr. K would have to read his recantation in 3 languages before his congregation.
Fr. K went to St. Michael’s Benedictine monastery in Chicago for a week of penance. Detroit clergy thought he got off too lightly. Bishop Foley reconciled himself to the reinstatement of Fr. K so as not to antagonize the apostolic delegate.
February 17, 1894 The announcement was made about the rededication of the church the next day. Fr. K let his followers think he was in Washington DC finishing up details of the negotiations and he let them… no mention of his doing penance.
February 18, 1894 Over 10,000 show up to attend the rededication of the church. Some of the crowd feint from being pressed against walls, doors, etc. Fr. K didn’t say Mass but he did give a sermon. (p. 141) after which he had to read a statement of submission and retraction of his errors in 3 languges (Polish, German, English) to the congregation. He did this in little more than a whisper after having given his sermon at full volume. Most of those present didn’t hear him. Sbaretti admonished him twice to speak louder but he ignored him. Then he ended by saying a profession of faith in Polish and descending the pulpit. He was instructed to repeat the profession of faith in English but he refused and the Mass continued. Afterwards he appeared at the Episcopal residence before Bishop Foley where he professed his repentance and made a promise of obedience and kissed his ring.
Fr. K had turned what should have been a humiliating affair into a victory of sorts.
April 1894 Newspaper reporters launched an investigation into the cemetery that Fr. K had bought for SHM parish. He bought it just after he organized his flock but it was nothing more than swamp land. It had drainage problems and sometimes coffins would float up. Many were only buried a couple feet deep instead of the 6 feet required by state law. Nearby residents began to complain of a smell (in April 1894) prompting the investigation.
When Fr. K bought the cemetery he failed to tell the township that he was putting a cemetery in and he didn’t incorporate it according to state law. So after the reporter’s investigation the township filed papers to have the bodies exhumed and the cemetery vacated. The Bishop would not allow the 200+ bodies to be buried in a Catholic cemetery because they died “outside” the church.
April 24, 1894 The township was granted an injuction and Fr. K had to improve the cemetery. It was incorporated as a public cemetery named “Greenwood” and became known as Sacred Heart Cemetery.
The church was still heavily in debt.