From 1917 to the present writing, Rev. L. A. Malecki has been serving as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church of Central Falls, Rhode Island.
St. Joseph’s parish was established in 1906 for the Polish Catholics of Central Falls and vicinity. The first pastor, Rev. Francis Keuger, organized the parish and for eleven years gave his time and energy to the task of building up the interests of church and parish. By 1915 the time seemed ripe for the erection of the present fine new church, which was completed in 1916. The following year the present pastor, Rev. L. A. Malecki, took charge, and during the thirteen years of his pastorate he has accomplished much for St. Joseph’s.
Rev. L. A. Malecki was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania, and received his early education there, and then entered a seminary in Detroit, Michigan, for his theological training. After taking his theological degrees he was ordained in the cathedral in Detroit, in 1910, and assigned to St. Stanislaus’ Church in Fall River, Massachusetts, as pastor. While serving there he purchased a house as a home for the Sisters who taught in the school, and worked effectively to forward the interests of his parish, which numbered six hundred souls. At the end of four years of successful work he was transferred to the Church of Our Lady of Czenstochowa, in Quidnick, and there he built a rectory and made extensive repairs in the remainder of the church property. That parish had a membership of about one thousand people, and among them Father Malecki was held in high esteem. For four years he continued his labors for the parish of Our Lady of Czenstochowa and at the end of that pastorate, in 1917, he came to his present charge as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church of Central Falls.
At the present time (1930) St. Joseph’s parish numbers four thousand and has a Sunday school with an enrollment of six hundred pupils. It is steadily growing. There is a parochial school which takes care of five hundred children, who are taught by thirteen Bernardine Sisters. The eleven classrooms of the school are well lighted and well equipped, and the school ranks high in the quality of its work. Father Malecki built the present rectory in 1924, a fourteen-room dwelling, well planned and fitted with modern conveniences. He has also painted the church since taking charge and has added a fine tower to the building, greatly improving its appearance. The main body of the church provides seating for six hundred persons, the basement seats five hundred, and the choir loft, which is equipped with a fine-toned organ, makes provision for one hundred singers. The high arched ceiling rises above an interior which is harmonious and beautiful. An exquisitely hand-carved marble central altar dominates the scene, as is fitting, and the usual two smaller altars, one on each side, are of the best material and workmanship. Eight large stained glass windows, four on each side, soft and mellow the abundant light which they admit, and one hundred and fifty electric lights, grouped in three chandeliers, fifty lights to each, flood the church with soft light in the evening. The twelve stations of the cross, placed around the sides of the room, are beautiful and impressive, and the entire interior is harmonious and artistic, creating an atmosphere of peace and reverence. The church, which is approached from the street by a flight of twenty-one steps, stands upon an embankment and from its elevated position the massive 75 foot tower built by Father Malecki can be seen for miles outside the city. All the property is kept in excellent repair and the grounds are well cared for. The parish societies are active and prosperous, and include a Holy Name Society for men, Holy Rosary Society for the women, a Children of Mary Society, a Guardian Angel Society, a vigorous chapter of the Order of St. Francis, and several others. When Father Malecki took charge of the parish he had one assistant, but growth has been so rapid and the activities of church and parish have multiplied so fast under Father Malecki’s able leadership that a second assistant became necessary and he now (1930) has two assistants.
Father Malecki is well known in Central Falls as an earnest and sincere Christian gentleman, of nobility and talent. He has won the full cooperation of his people and is accomplishing a splendid work for St. Joseph’s parish.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.