„Świat dziecka to wspólna zabawa.
Świat dziecka to przygód świat.
Po szkole zielony karnawał,
Do tańca zaprasza nas wiatr.
Świat dziecka to wiersz i piosenka.
Świat dziecka to marzeń czas.
Festiwal radości i piękna.
Świat dziecka różowy świat.
Festiwal radości i piękna.
Świat dziecka różowy świat.”
(Autor nieznany)

International Children’s Day (6/1) starts off the beautiful month of June. It was originally established in1925 to draw attention to the significance of children’s rights and welfare around the world and has evolved into a celebration of the love, care, and support of our children (and the child within you). What was your favorite pastime as a child? What games did you play? This year, introduce a favorite game or two with the youngsters in your family and just have some fun! Here at the PRCUA Headquarters, District 7 will be hosting the annual Sacred Heart Mass on June 1st, followed by a quiet dinner in the social hall. A time-old tradition of the PRCUA, this year’s mass will be celebrated by our National Chaplain, the Very Rev. Walter J. Ptak, honoring our patron saint, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a symbol of “God’s boundless and passionate love for mankind”.

Amidst the sunshine and long days, June brings the Polish Museum of America Gala (6/14) – this year at O’Hare Tech in Schiller Park, one of the largest Polish festivals in the country – Polish Fest in Milwaukee (6/14-6/16) and cheer our PRCUA groups on, Polish Heritage Night with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate field in Chicago (6/25), and a myriad of other reasons to get together with family and friends to celebrate birthdays (personal greetings to Mila (6/3), Nini (6/7), Richard (6/26), and Taylor (6/27); anniversaries and graduations (i.e., Joey Robaczewski). To all June celebrants: Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Congratulations! Sto Lat!

From the first day of May, the PRCUA was actively engaged in the social calendar of Polonia. Let’s begin with Polish language schools, which between graduation Masses and celebrations, communions, and historic anniversary commemorations would fill the calendar all by themselves. Yours truly, together with Richard, represented our organization at the Eighth Grade and High School Graduation of the Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish School in Romeoville (Ilona Sobiech, Principal; Renata Kaleciak, President) on May 1. Each and every Polish school graduation has its own traditions and signature, and the Sienkiewicz school topped its event with a school song written by one of its high school graduates. Of course, the school’s mascot – Henio – also made his appearance. Many accolades and monetary gifts from various donors were bestowed upon the graduates, with special awards for the “Best of the Best” and most accomplished. It was a lovely evening and I truly appreciate not only the invitation, but the camaraderie. Thank you very much!

District 8 Director, Myron Cislo, represented PRCUA at two other Polish grammar and high school graduation ceremonies and festivities: one on May 5 at the St. John Paul II Polish School in Lemont (Halina Szyrzyna, Principal; Grzegorz Karkoszka, President) and the other at the Holy Cross Polish Catholic School in Joliet (Barbara Szuba, Principal) on May 10. While D-8 President and Past National Director, Krystyna Lech (and Babcia of graduate Aleksandra Kroplewski), attended the Maria Konopnicka Polish School Graduation Mass and Ceremony (Rafal Zachara, Principal; Sylwia Raj, President) on May 18 at Our Lady Mother of the Church Polish Mission in Willow Springs, Illinois; Sales Coordinator, Marge Grzeszczuk, attended the graduation Mass and Ceremony of the Rev. Stanisław Cholewinski Polish School in Chicago. Also on May 18, enroute to the funeral of past National Director and past D-8 President James Rustik, Richard and I stopped at the graduation of the Jan Karski Polish School in Palos Hills (Marek Adamczyk, Principal) to extend our congratulations.

On Sunday, May 19, Richard and I attended the annual Joint Polish Language Schools Graduation Mass hosted by the Polish Teachers Association at the St. Hyacinth Basilica in Chicago. While the Association’s President, Ewa Koch, was attending the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, 2nd Vice President Urszula Gawlik did an exceptional job as emcee before and after the concelebrated Mass with remarks that reminded the audience of their commitment to both the United States and Poland. Consul General of the Polish Consulate in Chicago, Dr. Paweł Zyzak delivered a powerful commencement speech applauding the young adults’ accomplishments and encouraging them, not only to stay involved in Polonia, but to make the leap into the political arena. Of the concluding remarks, the 1st Vice President of the Polish Teachers Association, Ilona Sobiech, summarized all the emotions of this monumental feat and extended warm wishes for continued success.  I would like to underscore my deep appreciation and admiration for the extraordinary command of the Polish language expressed by the graduates of those Polish schools I have been fortunate to hear. It is a testimony to the determination, initiative, cooperation and engagement of the principals, teachers, parents, and the students. Congratulations! Bravo! Bravissimo!

Polonia Ensemble held its Recital with a Mother’s Day Concert entitled, “Our Beautiful Poland – My Mother’s Dear Homeland” on Sunday, May 12, at Christian Heritage Academy in Northfield, Illinois. The two-hour extravaganza featured all five groups of Polonia – Krasnoludki; Mała, Średnia and Młoda Polonia, and the Adult Group. Anna Krynski is the Executive Director, Mieczysław Dziś – the Musical Director, Jaclyn Krysinski – Artistic Director and Choreographer, Dance Instructors are Olga Turos, Andrzej Krasnicki, Nicole Romek and assistant is Nina Romek. Representing the PRCUA was Ewa Cholewinski, District 7 Director.

I direct each and every one of you to the social media pages of PRCUA as well as our PRCUA Language and Dance Schools and Groups to see for yourselves how active and instrumental they are to the present and future of Polonia in America (and the PRCUA). Congratulations to all!

The Month of May also heralded festivities surrounding the Polish Constitution of the Third of May 1791 which once again this year, included a magnificent parade in downtown Chicago, flag-raising at the Daley Center (with a musical performance by our PRCUA members violinist Nicole Kwasny and vocalist Alan Krolikowski), wreath-laying at the General Tadeusz Kosciuszko monument across from Alder Planetarium, a reception at the Polish Consulate in Chicago, Holy Mass – this year at St. John Brebeuf Parish in Niles, and a banquet organized by the Parade Committee headed by the Alliance of Polish Clubs. Bravo to all the groups participating in this year’s parade. Bravissimo to our PRCUA contingent, and the winner – for the second year in a row for most creative float – the Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish School. Congratulations to the Grand Marshal, the Most Reverend Andrew P. Wypych, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Chicago and Vice Marshals, Mary Anselmo and Prof. Zbigniew Kruszewski. The PRCUA officers attended many or most of these events.

On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the local organizers of the Institute of National Remembrance in Chicago that make up Przystanek Historia hosted the award ceremony for the winners and honorable mentions of the “Mój bohater spod Monte Cassino” contest held for all Polish language Schools in Chicagoland in honor of the 80th Anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino. Among those in attendance was Zofia Biernadska, a survivor of that battle and who will celebrate her 102nd birthday in December. The local organizers Helena Soltys, Bernadetta Manturo and Marek Adamczyk, a principal of one of our PRCUA subsidized schools, make up Przystanek Historia in Chicago invited the Consul General Dr. Pawel Zyzak, representatives of Polish Scouting and other notable guests from Polonia, Polish language schools and others. In attendance was also Secretary-Treasurer Agnieszka Bastrzyk. Congratulations to all students who participated in this beautiful way to bring attention to individuals who participated in a battle that will forever be in our memories and help define the resilience of Polish people.

District 8 honored Mary Brzezniak for her 90th birthday at its May quarterly meeting. Mary’s birthday was May 17 and she has been a PRCUA member for 54 years, and is charter member of the Adult Culture Group, former President of Copernicus Society 1575, a delegate to many PRCUA quadrennial conventions. Mary attests her longevity to her daughters and grandchildren! Wishing you 150 years, because 100 is too little!

Personal celebrations in our family included our granddaughter, Ariana’s First Holy Communion on May 4 and the graduation from Montana State University of Trafford Turkiewicz on May 10. We wish both God’s blessings on them on their special occasions. I want to share a poignant tribute at the MSU graduation ceremony (as if the emotions of seeing so many bachelor, master and doctorate graduates was not enough), where-in the alumni from 1974, 1964, and even 1954 were honored with anniversary diplomas and short video excerpts of their days at MSU. I was deeply moved by this tribute as I reminisced about my own college graduation 50 years ago this May.

To all graduates – past and present – “I hope your dreams take you…to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” Author unknown.

Our deepest condolences to the families and friends of a few near and dear souls who are no longer with us: Mrs. Barbara Gawronski, 67, devoted mother to Patryk (Polonia Ensemble dancer) and Polish school vice principal and teacher, passed away suddenly in Poland while on a trip with her students; Jozef Kowalski, 79; past National Director and long-time District 8 President James Rustik, 59;  Frank Chorazyczewski, 89; and John Kroplewski, 70. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in eternal peace. Amen.

I would like to end this article on a happier note, therefore, during our weekend in Montana, we visited Yellowstone National Park and the Old Faithful Geyser. The latter gets its name for being punctual (give or take a few minutes here or there). We waited for quite a while with minimal movement. The children were getting antsy, so we decided to leave. At the Old Faithful Geyser sign, Michael asked someone to take a family photo. Lo’ and behold, Old Faithful shot up and is now a part of our family photo. Belated Greetings from Old Faithful!

There is a season for everything, and I pray this month of June is your season of more triumphs, achievements and victories. Wishing everyone a blessed month of June and a very Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father figures in our lives! (P.S. Thank you Krystyna Krolikowski, Jozef Karkoszka, Andrzej Baraniak and the other unnamed photographers for your lovely photos).