Every year on All Souls Day, November 2nd at 10 am, a service is held at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Brooksville, Florida. That is the only service held in the church all year. The church is named after one of the patron saints of Poland, St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów.
All Souls Day is also referred to as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead. It is a day of remembrance for the souls of those who have passed on.
The initial congregation of the Church and its small cemeteries were largely composed of Polish farmers. Some of the cemetery markers bear the names of Buczak, Budowski, Detwiler, Gnacinski, Homentowski, Kozak, Marek, Mullen, Skarzynski, And Zagar. A priest from St. Leo Abbey would visit the church once a month to celebrate mass and provide other services.
The original church was built in 1915. A fire destroyed the church in 1929 and it was rebuilt in 1931. The steps to the church bear the date of November 29, 1931. There are references in genealogical sites and google maps to the cemetery portion as Saint Joseph Cemetery.
The twenty-acre property was donated by the Sims family.
A caretaker recounted how at one point the archdiocese of St Petersburg was interested in turning the property into a larger cemetery. Currently, only a small portion of the property is used. The archdiocese had an arborist determine the species of the trees. The cemetery idea was abandoned after discovering that the county would require too many of the trees to remain to allow its use as a cemetery.
The Celebrant of the All Souls Day service was Reverend Fr. Pecchie. He held a short service in the church and another service at the edge of the cemetery. The services had the feel of a family gathering as many of the parishioners have known each other for many years. Their relatives are in the cemetery and they show up on All Souls Day to honor them.
The belief expressed by Father Pecchie is that humans are imperfect and have to go to purgatory to be cleansed before going to heaven. Prayers of their friends and family can help with this process.
The address of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church is 14249 Citrus Way, Brooksville, FL 34601.