Greenbelt's 1473 Catholics will soon be a parish, the Rev. Leo J. Fealy announced on February 2, 1947. Father Fealy was pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in Berwyn, whose parish had charge over Greenbelt Catholics during the first ten years of the town's existence.
"A new parish and new priest have been planned and promised for the past two years," the June 20 Cooperator explained, "but due to the heavy drain of chaplains for service during the war and subsequent readjustments, the Bishop was unable to spare a full-time priest until the recent June ordinations made new priests available."
The Rev. Victor J. Dowgiallo, the new pastor of St. Hugh's Catholic Church, was welcomed into the community through a reception held at Greenbelt Center School on July 13.
Rabbi Morris Sandhaus of the Jewish Community Center (himself newly appointed in April) told Father Dowgiallo, "You will have a happy time in this community . . . I extend to you our welcome and say, as in the Latin, ‘Pax Vobiscum,' or as in the Hebrew, ‘Peace to the one who comes.'"
The Rev. Eric T. Braund, pastor of the town's Protestant, interdenominational Community Church, echoed the rabbi's sentiments. "Nothing makes a Protestant happier than to see a Catholic happy also," he said. "Serious problems confront the people and society in these days, problems which no one church can solve alone. If these problems are to have a solution, the churches must work together."
According to the July 18 Cooperator, Father Dowgiallo "stressed his desire to meet and know every resident of Greenbelt, regardless of profession of faith."
Greenbelt News: A Jubilant Jubilee at St. Hugh's (July 31, 1997)
Greenbelt News: St. Hugh's Turns Fifty (June 1, 1997)
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson