It’s here! The most glorious time of the year! And in spite of the continued pandemic, hope is in the air! The birth of our Savior brings out the best in people and joy to our hearts. Just as we cautiously celebrated Thanksgiving, we will cautiously celebrate the Christmas holiday season. After all, the virus cannot take the sparkle out of our children’s and grandchildren’s eyes and the love out of our hearts nor replace the peace and understanding of our spirit.
November began with the remembrance of families and friends who are no longer with us here on earth. Whether in Poland, here in the United States or elsewhere in the world, we pay homage to their memory, lighting a candle in their name and praying for their soul. This year, on November 1st, two Wesoly Lud members, John and Sabina Slubowski, lost their father, Zbigniew, age 53. Our condolences to his wife Elizabeth and the family. May he rest in peace.
The Polish Museum of America hosted its Summer Gala on a beautiful warm sunny day in November (November 7, to be exact). James Robaczewski and I, as not only PRCUA Officers, but also Chair and Vice Chair of the PMA, were honored to be invited to participate in this virtual event. Details on page 23 of the Narod Polski December issue.
Danielle and Robert Kroplewski welcomed a bouncing baby boy on Poland’s Independence Day and Veterans’ Day in the U.S. (November 11). Weighing in at 6 lbs. 14oz. and 18.5 in. long, Lucas Dominic Kroplewski, joins siblings: Emilia, Karolina, Aleksandra, Anthony and Joseph. Congratulations to the parents and family including proud grandparents: Krystyna (former Director of District 8) and Tadeusz Lech, and Vicky and John Kroplewski. Danielle is the President of the Maria Konopnicka Polish Language School Board. Again, congratulations!
There were gatherings to commemorate Poland’s Independence Day organized by the Consul of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, Mrs. Małgorzata Bąk-Guzik, and simultaneously, the 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago. One celebration took place on Saturday, November 7th, 2020 at the Saint Mary of the Angels Church, 1850 N. Hermitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, with Holy Mass. Due to new Covid-19 guidelines, the special concert featuring the 144th Illinois Army National Guard Band which was to follow Mass, was recorded to be enjoyed on YouTube (https://youtu.be/t__d9KzFWh4). Earlier that same day, the Consul together with a special delegation including General Richard Nelly of the Illinois National Guard, Commander Andrzej Janczak of the Chicago Branch of the Polish Army Veterans’ Association in America and Chairman of the Board, Beata Chodorowska-Niebrugge placed wreaths at the Polish Army Veterans Memorial (Section 35) at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois. The renovation of this memorial was completed this past summer with the cooperation of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Cemeteries and the Polish Consulate. Resurrection Cemetery is the final resting place of among others, soldiers of the Blue Army of Gen. J. Haller from Chicago, participants of the Battle of Warsaw 1920 and the Polish-Bolshevik war and soldiers of the Second World War, many of whom were awarded the highest Polish military decoration, the Order of Virtuti Militari.
On November 12, we lost a great PRCUA advocate with the passing of Thaddeus Klamerus in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. A very distinguished gentleman who just celebrated his 90th birthday on October 29th and whose great smile lit up a room. His love for and dedication to the PRCUA, was only surpassed by his love for and dedication to his wife, Sally, and their family. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace, Amen.
Sincerest birthday greetings to the lovely Sally Klamerus on her 90th birthday (November 17). God has blessed Sally with good health, a loving heart, and a wonderful family. On behalf of the PRCUA Officers and Members, we wish her strength in the days ahead and continued good health. Sally has been my “bowling coach” at the last few PRCUA Tournaments and a very dear friend. Sto lat!
I reviewed my article from just a year ago – what a difference a year makes. Of all the annual events that did not take place, none saddened me as much as not being able to enjoy and share with you the names of the new Royal couple at the Cinderella- Prince Charming Ball (it would have been the 49th one for the Adult Culture Group of PRCUA) as well as the PRCUA National Volleyball Tournament that District 8 was preparing for here in the Chicagoland area. Please don’t get me started regarding the cancelled Christmas pageants and parties, but I do give credit to those like Stan Pasko and Society 162 for organizing a drive-by Christmas party for its youth members and District 8 for hosting its quarterly meeting virtually.
Several PRCUA dance groups and language schools have been able to hold in person classes and at times, have had to revert to remote learning when COVID-19 hits too close to home. I sympathize with their plight and applaud their efforts to try to keep the momentum going, but I also commiserate with those who have been forced to take a step back and let this virus run its course. In any event, the PRCUA will be there to assist as much as possible. After all, the Officers and Employees at the Home Office continue to maintain PRCUA’s essential business relations with its members, staying safe and healthy as much as possible.
2020 is fast coming to an end and with any luck, it takes the coronavirus with it. This has truly been a challenging year, but hopefully, it has taught us not to take our lives or each other for granted. Human nature is creative and resourceful, finding new ways to celebrate birthdays, showers, even weddings and holidays, but this health crisis continues and it cannot be taken lightly. Remember that this too shall pass and one day, 2020 will be a distant memory. To all celebrating birthdays and anniversaries in December, including Danielle Kroplewski (12/4), Renee Kroplewski and Dr. Katarzyna Rogala-Jacher (12/5); Fraternal Department Coordinator, Conrad Wiecek (12/15); past PRCUA President Joseph A. Drobot Jr. (12/20); Marketing Associate Anne Moschopoulus and Paul Pazdziora (12/26). In the meantime, enjoy the Christmas spirit a little earlier and a little longer this year. Relish the memories of Christmases past adding new ones with Skype calls and Face Time with friends and family. Be creative with your Christmas cards (I think mailing them will have new meaning this year). May health and happiness guide you through the season of Christ’s birth and into and throughout the coming year. From all of us to all of you – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!