Saint John of Kanti Catholic Cemetery

Ceslaus J. Jakubowski

The area’s first full-time Catholic priest would serve West Point for 43 years. Born in Sochocin, Poland on September 13, 1890, Father Jack came to America as a child, and attended parochial school in Chicago. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he completed his preparation for priesthood at Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan in 1918. In both 1915 and 1917, Father Jack visited West Point, spending his summers as a guest of the Pumphrey family at the O’Connor Hotel. He was appointed pastor of St. Theresa’s Parish, West Point in July 1918.

His territory was broad, stretching from Tappahannock to York County. In 1938, his flock grew with the construction of the Church of St. Therese The Little Flower in Gloucester. A chaplain at Fort Eustis for many years, Father Jack celebrated Saturday Masses with hundreds of servicemen. In the early years of the West Point parish, the indefatigable father traveled by bicycle or horse and buggy, using ferries where bridges stand today. In later years he would travel by automobile, in a convertible donated by DeShazo Motors, the Ford dealer in West Point.