On Sunday morning, October 1st, the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America began its 150th anniversary celebration with a solemn Mass. A large crowd gathered at Holy Trinity Parish in Westmont, Illinois. The choice of this particular church was not accidental, as the parish is served by the priests of the Congregation of Resurrection, the same order that co-founded the PRCUA in 1873. The Mass was concelebrated by His Excellency, the Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, the highest ranking Polish American bishop in the U.S.; Bishop Mark A. Bartosic, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago; Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Kurtz, CR, Diocese of Hamilton in Bermuda; Provincial Superior Very Rev. Steven Bartczyszyn, CR; Very Rev. Canon Walter J. Ptak, PRCUA National Chaplain; Rev. Rafał Wasilewski, CR, Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish; Rev. Eric S. Orzech, Pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish in Cleveland, Ohio; Rev. Martin Bratek, CR; Rev. Paul Sims, CR; and Rev. Joseph Malczyk, CR.
The turnout at Holy Trinity was incredible, as parishioners and guests filled the entire church! There were our members, friends, Executive Committee, current and former directors and officers, Consul General of the Republic of Poland Paweł Zyzak with guest from Poland: Małgorzata Gosiewska – Deputy Marshal of Polish Sejm, as well as young people and representatives of Polish dance and language schools operating under the patronage of PRCUA. Dancers from the Southwest Center of Polish Song and Dance, Wesoły Lud, Polonia Ensemble and the Polanie Dance Group were in attendance, dressed in beautiful folk costumes. The Mass was also attended by 2023 Cinderella and Prince Charming Magdalena Truta and Eric Wildhirt, who read the Prayers of the Faithful.
The current officers of the PRCUA, President James Robaczewski, Vice President Micheline Jaminski and Secretary-Treasurer Agnieszka Bastrzyk presented the gifts for the offertory. Alan Królikowski, accompanied by organist Megan Hassinger, sang during the Mass, and the Polonia Polish Folk Song & Dance Ensemble sang the song “Panno Pszeniczna,” with accompaniment by Mieczysław Dziś. The homily was delivered by Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, who was welcomed with the traditional gift of bread and salt prepared on the occasion of our jubilee. It was a beautiful service, and we came together in prayer, asking for a blessing for our organization, the Holy Church, PRCUA leaders, living and deceased PRCUA members and for the parishioners of Holy Trinity. President James Robaczewski spoke at the end of the service, and the Mass ended with a commemorative photo.
After the Mass, the celebrations moved to the Drury Lane Banquet Hall, which we will report on tomorrow, on our 150th birthday!