Biography of Rev. Walter J. Rozpad

The present pastor of St. Cassimir’s Church of Warren, Rhode Island, Rev. Walter J. Rozpad, took charge June 15, 1928, since which time he has been successfully carrying forward the work so well begun by his predecessors.

St. Cassimir’s parish was organized October 21, 1908, with the Rev. Peter Switala as its first pastor. Father Switala purchased land as the site for a church, December 28, 1908, planned a modest church building, and placed the work of construction in charge of Thomas Loughlan. The work went forward successfully, and by July 25, 1909, the church was completed and consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Hawkins. But a great loss came to the church when, on May 1, 1913, at 4 o’clock in the morning, Father Switala noticed flames and smoke issuing from the church. Rushing into the building, at risk of his life, he went into the sacristy and rescued the Blessed Sacrament. With characteristic courage and determination, Father Switala set about the task of replacing what had been destroyed, and he again secured the services of Thomas Loughlan. The second church was completed in less than two years, but Father Switala’s health had suffered from the strain and he went away for a time, his place being taken by Rev. Vincent Koplerthenutz. Later, Father Switala returned and served for two more years, at the end of which period Father Kapturkiewicz came again to St. Cassimir’s, where he remained until June 15, 1928, when the present pastor, Rev. Walter J. Rozpad, took charge.

Rev. Walter J. Rozpad was born in Providence, Rhode Island, July 21, 1900, and received his early training in the Immaculate Conception parochial school, from which he was graduated June 10, 1915. His theological courses were completed in St. Bernard’s Seminary and he was ordained in 1919. An honorary degree was conferred upon him in 1921. He served at Central Falls, Rhode Island, as a curate for one year. He was then assigned to St. Cassimir’s Church, Warren, Rhode Island. On June 15, 1928, he came to his present charge, as pastor of St. Cassimir’s Church, and here he has been very active. He has put in new steps to replace the old ones in the front of the church; he had the church fitted with new windows throughout, and the interior of the church redecorated. and the entire church property has been put in the best possible condition. The rectory, which is more than one hundred and twenty years old, he has practically rebuilt, putting in new floors and entirely remodeling the interior. The various parish societies have been encouraged and stimulated, and the entire work of the parish has been invigorated. The Children of Mary, and the Holy Rosary Society-Dramatic Circle are doing splendid work. The parish numbers about six hundred souls, and is steadily growing.

Father Rozpad makes friends for himself and for his church wherever he goes. His genial, frank manner endears him to all whom he meets, and his sterling qualities of character and his ability win him the lasting respect of his associates, whether of his own or other faiths.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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