What lovely sentiment with which to start my monthly recollection! Welcome to July and the “fun in the sun” ambience it encourages as summer activities take flight. Whether your choice is a Polish festival, a parish carnival, a picnic or two, or just relaxing in a hammock in your beautifully groomed backyard, you will find activities to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. Whatever you choose, savor these moments.

It seems that amidst my July plans, there will be a chance encounter with sand and water – a walk on a beach in the early morning or maybe a moonlit stroll under the stars, possibly both. In any event, Richard and I will be in Poland – at first, in the Poznań area; then, in the Swiętokrzyskie region; ending in Podkarpacie. You guessed it – it is the year of a Polish Folk Dance Festival, or should I say, the Olympics of Polish Dance! As mentioned earlier this year, three PRCUA ensembles will be attending this year’s Rzeszow Festival – Wesoly Lud (Chicago, IL) for #13; Echoes of Poland (Toledo, OH) for #10 and the Polonia Ensemble (Chicago) for #6 – and it will be interesting how much the festival atmosphere and organization will differ after the aftermath of the last three years. I will have much to report in my next article.

As the June issue of the Naród Polski went to print, May was just winding down. I am sure that you will find the details and photos of the PRCUA members and Polish dancers who participated in Polish Night with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park (5/26) interesting, pages 12-13 of the July issue of the Naród Polski . It was great to see a photo of President Emeritus Wally Ozog and his wife Joann at the event. For many, many years, Wally served on the organizing committee for the event on behalf of the PRCUA. The torch has been passed down to Christopher Ozog (past PRCUA National Director). Bravo to all those who made this event possible for so many years! Speaking of the Ozogs, the newly elected officers of St. John Paul II Society 1593 (President Christopher Ozog; VP John Godin, Financial Secretary Mike Ozog, Recoding Secretary Celeste Grabowski, and Treasurer Brian Brumm), continued the tradition of hosting youth bowling for the 31st time on June 3, 2023. Read all about the activities of Society 1593 on page 14.

On June 4, 2023, members and groups from Districts 7, 8 and 9 gathered together for the annual Sacred Heart Mass and local 150th PRCUA Anniversary Celebration. It was a beautiful event on the occasion of our patron in thanksgiving for the many blessings our fraternal organization has received throughout the year and in memory of our deceased members, especially past District 7 Directors, Shirley Dudzinski and Lillian Stempinski, who passed this year. Hosted by the local directors – Elizabeth Sadus (chair), Elizabeth Dynowski, Ewa Cholewinski, Myron Cislo, and Kevin Kucik, the Mass was celebrated at the Carmelite Fathers Monastery in Munster, Indiana, by the Very Rev. Canon Walter J. Ptak, PRCUA National Champlain, and Rev. Andrzej Gbur O.C.D. A large delegation of PRCUA representatives was present in the church including the Executive Officers and their spouses and families, current and past directors – Krystyna Lech and Anna Krysinski, language schools (the M. Konopnicka Polish School, Holy Cross Polish School, Jan Karski Polish School, St. R. Kalinowski Polish School), young adult (Wesoły Lud) and children (Southwest Center of Polish Song and Dance and Mała Polska) dance groups, and many PRCUA friends in attendance. See photos and details on pages 1-8-9.

A unique sports evening with the Women’s National Basketball Association took place on Tuesday, June 6, in which a large representation of our organization, also one of the sponsors of the event, participated. It was the first Polish Night with the WNBA when the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever teams took to the court of Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The national anthem was sung by the talented vocalist Natalia Kawalec, the audience was warmed up before the match by Magda Huk from Dzika Fitness. The event was also graced by exceptional guests from Poland. A group of cheerleaders – Cheerleaders Gdynia – flew in especially for the Polish WNBA Night, with whom our President James Robaczewski posed for a memorable photo. That evening also Paweł “Dazzle” Kidoń, the first Pole and only foreign player who plays professionally on the elite Harlem Globetrotters team, presented his basketball-handling tricks. This young man is a great inspiration for young people and proof that hard work, determination, ingenuity and a little bit of luck can pave the way from Poland to the American show team! The evening full of emotions was a great opportunity for our PRCUA family to have a great time!

The Michigan PRCUA dance groups again showed their talents and spirit at Polish-American Heritage Night at Jimmy John’s Field, in Utica, Michigan, on Thursday, June 8. Photos and info to follow.

The Polish Museum of America hosted its 43rd Annual Summer Gala on June 9, at Allegra Banquets in Schiller Park, Illinois. Celebrating 150 years of the PRCUA and the 230th Anniversary of Aleksander Fredro’s birth, the elegant event recognized The Kościuszko Foundation and Halina and Stanisław Urbaniak as the 2023 Spirit Award Recipients. Congratulations to the PMA Gala Committee: Małgorzata Pałka and Sharon Orlowski, co-chairs; Emcee Elżbieta Sawczuk; Managing Director Małgorzata Kot and President Richard Owsiany – Appeals and Advertisements; Mary Jane Robles – Reservations; Teresa Sromek – Administration; and Katarzyna Ogórek – Finances. The PRCUA Officers, spouses, local directors, Cinderella Magdalena Truta and Prince Charming Eric Wildhirt, officers and members of the Adult Culture Group, and all of the guests enjoyed the wonderful program, dancing to the music of the incomparable Anthony Kawalkowski and his Orchestra and enjoyed the performance of the Lajkonik Polish Song and Dance Ensemble. Photos and details on page 21.

PRCUA celebrated its 150 years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the city’s annual PolishFest with the PRCUA Power Hour of Polish Folk Dancing. Performing were: Zakopane Ensemble from Warren, Michigan (Artistic Director and Choreographer Tommy Lisiecki, Manager Colleen Bonkowski); Wesoły Lud Dance Company and Southwest Center of Polish Song and Dance (Richard Jaminski, Artistic Director and Choreographer for both; Anna Kraszewski-Winkler, Manager of SWCPSD). In attendance were former national directors Krystyna Lech (D8) and Sharon Haberski (D6). Later that day, the Polish Folk Dance Association of the Americas celebrated its Ruby Anniversary with a Gala Concert in which Wesoły Lud and Zakopane joined other ensembles: Polonia (Regina, Canada), Wawel (Detroit, Michigan), Syrena (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Dolina (Twin Cities, Minnesota), Whispers (Bartlett, Illinois), and Chicago groups: Wici and Lajkonik. Richard Jaminski was the Sound Engineer and yours truly, the emcee.

Due to our post-pandemic schedule, Flag Day at the PRCUA was celebrated on Tuesday, June 13, with a program and luncheon coordinated by Conrad Więcek, ably assisted by Anna Grabowski, Agnieszka Dobrzycki and Emilia Więcek. See page 2 of the July issue of the Naród Polski for photos and details.

Polish Heritage Night with the Chicago White Sox was a “homerun” for the PRCUA team held on Tuesday, June 20 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Continuing our 150th celebration, President Robaczewski threw out the first ball and sang the national anthem. Wesoły Lud Polish Folk Dance Company, once again, took to the field, this year performing dances and songs from the Lubusk region. See article by Conrad Więcek who coordinated the event for PRCUA and photos on pages 26-27.

The final weekend of June found Polonia Ensemble performing at both the St. Ferdinand’s Festival in Chicago and the St. John’s Eve family event hosted by You Can Be My Angel Foundation at Pistakee Bay Stable, McHenry, IL. Jaclyn Krysinski is the Artistic Director and Choreographer; Mieczysław Dziś, the Musical Director, and Anna Krysinski, the Manager.

On behalf of the PRCUA, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who most recently passed, including Melanie Wojtasik (daughter of Maria Jalkiewicz, Polskie Maki School Director); Alice Gavaghan (mother of Brian Gavaghan); and a relative of Conrad Więcek. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

June has come to an end and so has this article. It was a great month of celebrations for birthdays (many in my family alone), anniversaries, fathers and patriotism. As we head into July, I would like to wish all those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, especially Elaine and Jim Robaczewski enjoying 22 years of wedded bliss on July 21, STO LAT! STO LAT! NIECH ŻYJĄ NAM!