HAPPY NEW YEAR! May this year be healthier, happier and filled with wonderful memories. Each and every one of you deserves this and as for your New Year’s resolutions – read the poem that I have selected. I believe it says quite a lot and will give you “food for thought.” Cheers to 2024!

As the Christmas festivities wind down, it is time to prepare for “Carnivale,” which begins on the Feast of the Three Kings (or Little Christmas, as some of us remember) and ends on Fat Tuesday. There will be many PRCUA events during this time including the 55th Anniversary celebration of the St. Raphael Kalinowski Polish School (2/3); “Polskie Zabawy” hosted by Wesoły Lud (1/20), Polonia Ensemble (1/27), Konopnicka Polish School (2/3), Sienkiewicz Polish School and Zajączek Ensemble (2/10), among others. Please check the Calendar of Events in the Naród Polski for dates and details. If you find none in your area, how about organizing one?

December was once again filled with beautiful celebrations of Christmas and our Polish traditions – from the Wigilia Dinner Dance sponsored by the Polish Club at Macomb College (Tatry graduate, Elise Lubiarz, is President), the Opłatek luncheons and show on December 3 (hosted by the Michigan Women’s Division and Gwiazda Dancers in Michigan) and December 10 (hosted by District 8 together with Southwest Center of Polish Song and Dance in Illinois) respectively, to the Christmas performances by our PRCUA dance groups. Of course, there were many gatherings to which PRCUA was invited – from the Polish Consul in Chicago, Paweł Zyzak; Polish American Chamber of Commerce; Alliance of Polish Clubs, the Union of Polish Silesians; etc. You can read all about many of these events in this issue of our Naród Polski. While on the subject of Christmas gatherings, I hope your families’ Wigilia and Christmas were all that you hoped – it is the here and now that we must enjoy, and it is those memories that will be treasured for years to come.

For our family, the happy Christmas season took a detour when Richard’s beloved mother, Maria Jamińska, passed in her sleep on December 10. This was an exceptionally difficult year for her health wise, although she was in relatively good health at the start of 2023. Maria Jamińska and her husband, Jan (who passed in 2013), raised two amazing sons, were professionals both attaining master’s degrees, and survived the turbulent times of World War II and its aftermath. Her love of learning reached beyond just book learning and her inquisitive mind made her an outstanding educator in and outside the classroom. She was a school teacher and principal in Rzeszów for many years until she was promoted to an assistant superintendent in the Rzeszów School System. She was ahead of her time, using a blackberry when I had a flip phone; mastering the computer where she logged her intense genealogical research on both sides of her family; emailing when others her age would shy away from this communication. She was the matriarch of the family (the eldest of seven children), who was the glue that held a very extensive family together, and a great party planner – coordinating gatherings, especially when we were in town. As a mother-in-law, she was a great role model and became my mentor and Polish best friend. We could talk for hours about everything and nothing. She was the Wesoły Lud and Southwest Center of Polish Dancing ambassador for the festivals in Poland, and my representative when I was unable to attend an event. Although contracting Covid probably aggravated her manageable health problems, it was during the pandemic that prompted weekly Skype meetings and continued even until the week before her death. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her, especially by her family and yours truly, but they came and paid their respects to her, bringing their love, prayers and many flowers to her funeral in Krasne, Poland. To all who sent condolences and Holy Masses in her name, please accept our deepest gratitude. In the words of a religious song Maria Jamińska taught me, “Serdeczna Matko, zrób Jej miejsce zrób, maleńki kącik u Jezusa stóp.” (Dearest Mother Mary, make room for her, a little corner at Jesus’ feet).

Dear members and friends, permit me to end this article at this point. If I have learned anything from the last month – CARPE DIEM!