Start Date: 16 February 2019
End Date: 16 February 2019
Place: 365 Burrows Ave.
Bishop Franciszek Hodur (1866–1953) was the founder and the first, and long time, Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church. Hodur was born on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1866, to Jan and Maria Hodur in the village of Zarki, 35 miles from Kraków, Poland. He enrolled as a seminarian in Kraków and studied at Jagiellonian University. He left Europe in December 1892 for the United States of America, where he hoped to serve Polish immigrants. Hodur made his way to the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was sent to the seminary at St. Vincent’s Benedictine Archabbey in Latrobe. On August 19, 1893, he was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church by Bishop William O’Hara. When issues of contention arose between Polish Catholic immigrants in Scranton, Nanticoke, Wilkes-Barre, Plymouth, Duryea, and Dickson City, and their Irish-American bishop, Father Hodur traveled to Rome in January 1898 to seek redress from the Holy See. Without finding satisfaction, he returned to the United States. After meeting with the parishioners he represented on that voyage, he made known his decision not to remain under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. Franciszek Hodur was consecrated a bishop on September 29, 1907, by Gerardus Gul, the Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht, Holland, assisted by Bishop Jan Van Thiel of Haarlem and Bishop Peter Spitz of Deventer. He then served as the first Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church and consecrated other bishops, ensuring the maintenance of apostolic succession. Prime Bishop Hodur died on February 16, 1953, in Scranton. His funeral was attended by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Charles L. Street, suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, and Bishop Frederick J. Warnecke of the Diocese of Bethlehem, along with other prominent Episcopal Church leaders.
Among his many accomplishments:
– Composed the Confession of Faith and the Eleven Great Principals of the PNCC
– Published the first church newspaper, Straż, in 1897
– Visited Poland 18 times to teach the beliefs of the PNCC
– Organized the Polish National Union, a home for the aged, and a camp for children and youth
– Ordained more than 200 priests, consecrated 9 bishops, baptized more than 4,000 children, performed over 1,700 marriages, spoke 6 languages, wrote 17 books, published 2 newspapers, composed three hymns, left no material wealth, but bequeathed a spiritual legacy that will never die.