July needs no introduction as it screams out patriotism, fireworks, festivals, carnivals, golf and just good old summer fun – barbecues, swimming pools, campfires and get-togethers – in other words, the good life! Actually, July is just a continuation of the best of the season and catches the overflow of June.
Speaking of June, let us see just how memorable it was for PRCUA. On June 5, Polonia Ensemble (Anna Krysinski, Executive Director; Jaclyn Krysinski, Artistic Director and Choreographer; Mieczysław Dziś, Musical Director) celebrated its 35th anniversary after a two year pandemic pause, at McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage. Beginning in 1985, Cecylia Rożnowska and her daughter Anna organized children’s Polish dance groups in areas of Chicago’s northside and northwest suburbs under a variety of names, one of which was Polonia. Throughout the years, the ensemble travelled extensively to international festivals around the world. In 2008, Polonia fell in love with the Rzeszów Festival (formally known as the International Festival of Polish Folk Ensembles) and has attended five to date. President Robaczewski and Director D-7 Ewa Cholewinski represented the PRCUA – Polonia’s sustaining contributor since 1985. The Rożnowski-Krysiński family celebrated with their Polonia family which now includes the youngest, Lucas. Wishing Polonia much success in the future. Sto Lat!
The Chicago White Sox hosted Polish Heritage Night at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Fraternal Coordinator, Conrad Wiecek, reports 250 tickets sold through the PRCUA. Once again, Wesoły Lud performed on the field – this time dancing Spisz, right after the parade with a cast of “thousands” (okay, a lot less than that but the enthusiasm of thousands was there). The Sox may not have won but for the fans, it was a home run evening!
Jimmy Johns Stadium celebrated Polish Heritage Night in Utica, Michigan on June 9, 2022. PRCUA dance groups including the Zajaczek and Zakopane Dancers performed before the rain came. I love this photo of PRCUA National Director Colleen Bonkowski so much I had to share it with you. Look for details and other photos in an upcoming issue of the NP.
Friday, June 10, 2022, was the date of the Polish Museum of America 42nd Gala celebrating the 85th anniversary of the PMA which was founded by the PRCUA and honoring Mieczysław Haiman, the PMA’s first curator. It was an honor to be the emcee of the program as the Vice President of PRCUA and Vice Chair of the PMA and to recognize the efforts of the chair, Sharon Orlowski; the PMA dynamic duo – Managing Director Malgorzata Kot and President Richard Owsiany; and the PMA Chairman of the Board, PRCUA President James Robaczewski. The artistic portion of the program was provided by the 2022 Cinderella and Prince Charming together with the Runners-up and select Candidates who performed the Polonaise and Waltz, while the music of Anthony Kawalkowski and his Orchestra entertained and encouraged the guests take to the dance floor. Representing the PRCUA: Pres. James and Elaine Robaczewski, VP Micheline and Richard Jaminski, Sec-Treas. Agnieszka and Daniel Bastrzyk, National Chaplain Walter Ptak, Directors: Mitch and Krystyna Bienia, Thomas Jesionowski, Colleen and Brian Bonkowski, Elizabeth Dynowski, Myron and Bethie Cislo, Ewa Cholewinski and Anna Krysinski, as well as Director of Marketing Elzbieta Sawczuk-Jurak. Other familiar PRCUA faces were past Vice President Anna Sokolowski and current Executive Assistant to the Sec.-Treas. Mary Jane Robles (both are also PMA Board Members), Edward Muszalski and Walter Dynowski (President and Treasurer respectively of the Adult Culture Group of PRCUA). The Spirit Awards were given to the Polish Daily News (Alicja Otap, Editor; Lukasz Dudka, General Manager; Frank Spula, Publisher) and Polvision (Walter Kotaba, President and CEO) for their efforts on behalf of Polonia and the PMA. Please see the article and the many photos on p.14-15 of the July issue of Naród Polski.
Like in the fairy tale Cinderella, the Ball ended and it was back to work the following day as the PRCUA Board of Directors met at Home Office. The office was doubly busy with meetings of the Credentials and Qualifications Committees preparing their reports for the Board as well. Details of their findings are found in this issue of the NP.
On Sunday, June 12, Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park, Illinois was the site of the annual PRCUA Sacred Heart Mass, this time held during the regular 11 AM Parish Mass. District 8 with Krystyna Lech (District 8’s current Vice President and past National Director) at the helm, coordinated the Mass and hosted the luncheon which was held in one of the parish meeting rooms. In attendance were present and past PRCUA Executive Officers and Directors, as well as members and representatives of District 8 schools and groups, namely, the Wesoły Lud Polish Folk Dance Company, Southwest Center of Polish Dance and Song, Adult Culture Group, and Maria Konopnicka and John Paul II Polish Schools. The luncheon was a huge success with an absolutely delicious buffet prepared by Palos Deli (it was worthy of a SHOUT OUT!), overseen by Pani Lech, Danielle Kroplewski and family, Asia Niedzielski, Myron and Bethie Cislo, Liz Dynowski, James Rustik (District 8 President) and Joline Coltri. I direct you to p.8 of the July edition of Naród Polski for details and photos.
Same day, a second event – the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Barbara and John Frankowicz. Both were affiliated with M. Konopnicka Polish School in the past. Barbara was also a past School Director of FHM Youth Dancers and Southwest Center of Polish Song & Dance (SWCPSD) as well as a PRCUA insurance agent, and John has been the Vice President of the Adult Culture Group for 25+ years. Wishing the golden newlyweds STO LAT!
Also on June 12! It’s a three-peat for Teresa and Roman Rafacz as son #3 – Aleksander Jozef – was born weighing in at 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 21.5 inches long. Wishing the entire Rafacz family with brothers Erik and Feliks and both sets of grandparents (including Angie and Edward Muszalski) all the health and happiness in the world!
The annual Flag Day program and luncheon at the PRCUA Home Office was held on the actual day – June 14. Due to the 100+ degree temperature, we opted to keep the program indoors. Nevertheless, Conrad Wiecek and his assistant, Emilia Wiecek, did not disappoint with the program or the food, and neither did the participants in our program.
On June 16, we celebrated Malgorzata Kot’s golden birthday and Halina Misterka’s milestone as well at a lunch which the birthday girls prepared. Sto lat to both and thank you for the delicious treats!
The building erected by the PRCUA in 1913, houses the organization’s headquarters as well as the PMA. As of June 16, it now is the entrance gate to the newly designated “Polish Heritage Corridor,” a title established by Illinois leaders which begins just south of the PRCUA building and ends at Greenwood Avenue in Niles running along Milwaukee Avenue. The sponsors of the bill, State Rep. Delia Ramirez and State Senator Cristina Pazione-Zayas, presented the signed state statute creating the Polish Heritage Corridor at the PMA on June 16.
As the month came to a close, the Polish American Congress organized a Meet and Greet with the U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Mark Brzezinski, at the Union League Club in Chicago. The luncheon was held with a last minute change in plans and due to reasons beyond his control, the Ambassador met virtually with the PAC guests. The Ambassador addressed the concerns and questions of the Polonian leaders in attendance (from PRCUA: Agnieszka Bastrzyk, Kevin Ryba and yours truly) regarding many topics, topping the list the safety and security of Poland during the current Ukrainian crisis. Ah, “the best laid plans of mice and men.”
I would like to add belated June birthday wishes in addition to those mentioned in the previous issue: PRCUA Employee Michael Perzynski (6/12), Member Service Associate, Natalia Hofmann (6/29). As for June wedding anniversaries: congratulations to Eleanor and former PRCUA Vice President Robert Bielenda on their 60th wedding anniversary (6/2), Patricia and PRCUA National Director from District 6 Andrew Lech (#10 on 6/16), and Mr. and Mrs. Chester Konopacki on their 50th (6/11).
As this issue comes to a close, I would like to share this photo from one of Richard’s birthday celebrations – this one with the Southwest Center of Polish Dance and Song (thank you Anna Winkler and Danielle Kroplewski). Happy and healthy life, Richard!
So now to July – Happy Independence Day, America the Beautiful – enjoy it safely! There’s the PRCUA Golf Tournament – remember it’s “TEE for TWO” so bring a non-member friend on July 23 (see flyer). Happy anniversary to PRCUA President and First Lady, Jim and Elaine Robaczewski, celebrating 21 years on July 21. Sto lat!
The PRCUA 63rd Quadrennial Convention is fast approaching (August 12-14) – Delegates, get ready to do some serious deliberating as we continue to modernize the PRCUA on the road to 150! The Pre-Convention Arrangements Committee from District 8 (Liz Dynowski and Mirek Cislo, co-chairs) guarantee that there will be good times, good food and good fun! The Fraternal Luncheon will be Polish cooking at its best and the Diamonds and Denim dining and dancing event – an evening that will bedazzle you with down home cooking and hospitality! I can hardly wait to see you all or should I say y’all! Make your reservations…… and on that note, have a wonderful July!