THE OPEN DOOR (VP Column – April 2020 issue of the Naród Polski)

The topic on everyone’s mind is the Coronavirus pandemic. Everywhere you turn, it’s there – on the television, on the radio, even on billboards as you are driving on the expressway! It is the new reality for now! Sanitizer, washing your hands, not touching your face… these are no longer being taken for granted. Staying healthy carries the same message it always has – eat well, get adequate sleep, keep hydrated, exercise and don’t stress! There’s no magic pill (yet), but what there is, is criticism of the government for being overly cautious, criticism for not implementing this caution sooner – hopefully there won’t be criticism that it was too little, too late. So what have we learned from this short period of time? That we are human – vulnerable, easily bored, not easily amused, and scared. We turn to our public officials for answers, but don’t heed their warnings until they are commands. We turn to God for hope and yet we do not heed the outcome – time heals all wounds and time will heal this crisis, hopefully with less casualties because we adhered to the warnings and took precautions. So if stocking up on food and household necessities makes you feel safe, go for it! Just be smart about it.

With this crisis, comes much disappointment – cancellations of celebrations and festive gatherings including the 83rd PRCUA National Bowling Tournament in Wyandotte, MI (April 17-19). My heart goes out to all the schools regarding dance recitals and other related events, especially Gwiazda, Southwest Center of Polish Song and Dance and Zajączek who were to celebrate their milestone anniversaries, 60th, 35th and 15th respectively. No doubt these will be rescheduled, but it is disappointing nonetheless. With states warning of an eight week “shut down,” the only sure thing for April is that Easter will be celebrated on Sunday, April 12th. Hopefully, our Święconka baskets will be able to be blessed by a priest but in the event the churches continue to be closed, my parents left me a bottle of Holy Water from the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, so our family is covered and hopefully, we will be able to gather together with our families to break bread and rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Wishing you a happy and holy Easter!

The saying “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb” refers to the fickle weather pattern, but this year, it’s not the weather that’s too blame, but the pandemic. The month began on a personal note with a unicorn birthday party for our four year old granddaughter. Happy Golden Birthday, Ariana! Sto lat! Sto lat! Niech żyje, żyje nam!   

The official start of March began with a very well attended Pulaski Day Celebration hosted by the Polish Museum of America and the PRCUA. As it is an election year, there were more politicians than usual but the standing room only capacity of the Great Hall of the museum, filled with many Polonian leaders and patrons, was impressive. The program was emceed by the Presidents of the PRCUA and PMA, with speeches by many illustrious guests including the current Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton; Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs; from Cook County, Treasurer Maria Pappas and Clerk Dorothy Brown; Illinois Appellate Court Judge Aurelia Pucinski; and many others. The festivities commenced with a breakfast buffet in the Boardroom of the PRCUA, where invited guests partook of Polish hospitality. Joining the PRCUA officers in laying the wreath at the Pulaski painting were the officers of the PNA: President Frank Spula and Secretary General Alicja Kuklinska. Later that evening, accompanied by their spouses (and Natalie and Alex Bastrzyk), the three PRCUA officers attended the Pulaski evening banquet hosted by Polish American Congress-IL, with Mirosław Niedziński at the helm. One of the highlights of the evening was a coloring contest sponsored by the Polish American Foundation and the PAC-IL, and one of the winners was our own Natalia Bastrzyk. Congratulations, Natalko!

Starting on March 5, the three PRCUA officers began a five-day, three-city trip – first to the AQS Insurance Symposium Investment in Scottsdale, Arizona, hosted by Larry White; then to the 86th PRCUA National Basketball Tournament in Muskegon, Michigan, hosted by PRCUA St. Michael Society #78 (Thank you, President Frank Swiatek and Chairman Drew Dodge; congratulations to winners – Men’s: St. Stan’s Society #718 Family 1 and Men’s over 50: St. Stan’s 718 Blue Team); and the “Flowers are Blooming Spring Fashion Show,” an annual event hosted by the Adult Culture Group of PRCUA (Bravo to Chairlady and choreographer Elizabeth Dynowski; all the lovely models and the Dancers of the ACG, who made their dancing debut). Details from the last two events will be in separate articles in upcoming issues of the Naród Polski.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Robaczewski and Secretary-Treasurer Bastrzyk for their lovely surprise acknowledging the Medal that I received from the National Education Commission during the Board of Directors meeting on Friday, March 13. There was a champagne toast from the President and a lovely bouquet of flowers from our Secretary-Treasurer, the directors and staff. Again, it is an honor and a privilege to be so recognized. 

The PRCUA would like to extend condolences to past National Director Richard Turkiewicz and his family on the sudden passing of his wife, Mary Agnes Turkiewicz, on March 7. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.  

Polish version of the article available in the April edition of Naród Polski

Pulaski Day Celebration at the Polish Museum of America
With grandchildren
Birthday Girl Ariana
L-r: Mateusz Bomba, James Robaczewski, Drew Dodge, Frank Swiatek, Micheline Jaminski, Agnes Bastrzyk
Basketball Champs
Dancers of the Adult Culture Group
At the 2020 Spring Fashion Show: Micheline Jaminski with her husband Richard Jaminski and the ladies from Mokena, IL
L-r: Fashion Show Chair Liz Dynowski, Mirek Cislo, Micheline Jaminski
Thank you for the flowers Agnes and Jim
L-r: Larry White, Agnes Bastrzyk, Colleen Bonkowski, James Robaczewski, Lou Perfetto, Tom Jesionowski, Mirek Cislo and Micheline Jaminski in Scottsdale, AZ

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