Andrew Wilczek

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 254-255
Hancock County

REV. ANDREW WILCZEK. During the six years that Rev.
Andrew Wilczek has been the pastor of Sacred Heart
of Mary Catholic Church at Weirton he has impressed the
community with his disinterested work in the cause he
serves, and has given evidence of the possession of qualities
which must assuredly call forth general admiration, even
from those who differ most sharply with him theologically
and otherwise. His sincere piety, his intense moral earnest-
ness, his uninterrupted industry, his unfailing kindliness
and his spirit of tolerance have gone far to make him beloved
by his flock and prosperous in the affairs of his parish,
and have gained him the good will and assistance of those
of other creeds, without which no priest considers that
he has achieved the fullness of his mission.

Father Wilczek was born in Poland, where he received
his early education at the University of Cracow and a
Military Academy and held the rank of sub-lieutenant in
the army. Coming to the United States in 1910, he com-
pleted his theological education and was ordained a priest
of the Catholic Church at Detroit. His first services were
at Norfolk, Virginia, where he built a church and spent
two years, and at the end of that period came to Weirton.
accepting the call to Sacred Heart of Mary parish. This
parish was started at the beginning of the town of Weirton
by Father Madert, the first congregation of thirty of forty
families meeting for service in a small building on Avenue
A. Father Madert remained one year and was succeeded
by Father Przybysz, who continued for a like period, the
next priest in charge being Father Lo Monacco, who re-
mained only a few months. His successor was Father
Pawlowski, who continued one year, and October 16, 1916,
he was replaced by Father Andrew Wilczek, who has con-
tinued to the present.

One year following his arrival Father Andrew Wilczek
had so straightened out the financial affairs of his parish
that he was able to buy the present property on Avenue
F and to build a combination building of church, school,
hall, dining hall, kitchen, etc., at a cost of $100,000. On
September 7, 1919, the corner stone was laid and the church
was dedicated October 24, 1920. On both these occasions
Father Wilczek entertained Bishop P. J. Donahue of the
Diocese of Wheeling, who assisted at the above named
ceremonies. Prominent men of Weirton were served at
a banquet in the rectory. The neighboring clergymen, with
their people, participated in both those events, and high
compliment was paid the Pastor, Andrew Wilczek, by sev-
eral of the speakers present for the wonderful growth
and development of this congregation. In September, 1917,
the school started, under the charge of two Franciscan
Sisters, there being at that time eighty pupils in attendance.
At this time there are 250 pupils and five teachers, and the
high school graduation is on the same basis as that of the
public schools. At the present time the Sacred Heart
of Mary congregation includes some 220 families, or ap-
proximately 1,000 souls. The parish maintains nine Polish
societies, of which two own their own buildings, and these
societies include in their objects dramatics, music and
civics. About 120 of the parish own their own homes, their
inclinations in this direction having been encouraged by
Father Wilczek, who realizes what a great factor the home
is in making for education, higher morals and better citizen-
ship, for he himself became a citizen of the United States
January 16, 1917. He is active throughout the Wheeling
diocese, and acts not only as a spiritual guide to his people,
but as their advisor on all matters pertaining to their wel-
fare and as their sincere friend in all the situations of life.