The seasons continue to change and with the hues of earthy colors around us, we know it’s fall. The calendar points to November and the many revered holidays ahead. From All Saints’ Day on the 1st through Poland’s Independence Day and Veterans’ Day on the 11th to Thanksgiving that soon follows, all seems right with the world. And yet although these dates and others will be remembered and minimally celebrated, 2020 continues to be like no other in our recent memories.
November 21st would have been the date of the 49th Cinderella-Prince Charming Ball hosted by the Adult Culture Group of PRCUA. Sad for the young adults and their parents looking forward to this annual event, but we will celebrate at a safer time in the future. Let’s recap the previous month. October was Polish Heritage Month and although the celebrations of our rich culture were mostly virtual, there were a few, guardedly, in person. PRCUA celebrated its 147th Anniversary (est. October 3, 1873) the birthdays of the Officers and staff with a luncheon at the PRCUA Social Hall on October 2 with all social distancing and masks in place. Our PRCUA hospitality team (Anna Grabowski, Conrad Wiecek, Mateusz Bomba and Emilia Wiecek) have these types of events very well-choreographed with all safety measures at the top of their list. Photos and details on p.13.
October 4 heralded two events in Michigan, the Blessing of the Polish Dance Schools at St. Albertus Parish in Detroit with Rev. Canon Fr. Walter Ptak officiating. Participants included representatives from Opole, Wieliczka, Tatry, Polskie Maki, Halka, Gwiazda and Zajączek. As for the Rogalin Dance Troupe from Wyandotte, Michigan (Lisa Brandt, School Director; Janet Vilag, Dance Instructor), the group was busy preparing for its 51st Dance Recital which was held outdoors later that same day. National Director from District 10, Colleen Bonkowski attended both events. Photos and details on p. 6-8.
Belated wishes to all teachers, especially those in our PRCUA schools, as October 14th marked National Education Day, also known as Teachers’ Day, in Poland.
October 15th marked the 85th Anniversary of the Polish Museum of America. Through a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, the PMA was able to produce a series of videos about the museum’s treasures and its history. As the founder of the PMA, the PRCUA is proud to have been included in this series which include wonderful photos of our building. I invite you to view these PMA videos which can be found on its website – polishmuseumofamerica.org.
Maria Konopnicka Polish School, Oak Lawn, IL held its graduation ceremony at Our Lady Mother of the Church in Willow Springs, IL on Monday, October 19, 2020. The 33 graduates (19 high school, 14 grammar school) were honored for a job well done, especially in this difficult year. Marek Adamczyk is the Principal and Danielle Kroplewski, President of the School Board. A special thank you to the School Board Vice President, Joanna Niedzielski, for her assistance on behalf of the PRCUA.
In lieu of its annual Heritage Banquet, the Polish American Congress – Illinois Division hosted a Mass at Holy Trinity Parish in Chicago on October 25th commemorating four important anniversaries: the 100th Anniversary of Battle of Warsaw in 1920, 100th anniversary of the birth of St. Pope John Paul II, the 80th Anniversary of Katyń Massacre and the 40th Anniversary of the founding of Solidarity. The Most Reverend Andrew Wypych, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago was the celebrant. Rev. Andrzej Totzke SChr, Director of the Holy Trinity Polish Mission assisted. With 260+ in attendance, the beautiful Mass was attended by many leaders of Polonia and politicians running for re-election, including Willie Wilson (independent candidate for Illinois Senator), Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. Representing the PRCUA was National Director (D-7) Joanna Ewa Cholewinski who also serves the PAC-IL as Treasurer. The PAC-IL Division headed by Mirosław Niedzinski, President, paid tribute to the first-line Polish medical respondents battling Covid-19 and extending a debt of gratitude to all medical personnel and first responders. Musical accompaniment was provided by Collegium Cantorum Polonia Choir conducted by Arkadiusz Górecki. All safety precautions were in place during this Mass.
On the last Sunday in October, the St. Pope John Paul II Polish School in Lemont celebrated the Polish Pontiff’s feast day with Holy Mass. PHOTO #1
PRCUA would like to acknowledge the milestones of several employees: Bogusława Chrzanowska and Mark Sorbi (20 years); Anna Grabowski, Mary Jane Czypura, and Madia Robles (15 years); Michael Perzynski (10 years); and Carlos Escobar (5 years). These employees were honored among the rest of the staff at the Employee Appreciation Luncheon on October 29, 2020. On behalf of President James Robaczewski, Secretary-Treasurer Agnieszka Bastrzyk, and myself, thank you to all our employees for your dedication and drive to make the PRCUA running like a well-oiled machine. Congratulations to the award recipients and special thanks to the committee (Julie Prado, Anna Grabowski, Inna Parasych, and Natalia Hofmann).
While on the subject of employees, effective immediately, the interim Fraternal Department Coordinator will be Conrad Wiecek (firstname.lastname@example.org/773-782-2601). Mateusz Bomba will be moving to his new position in the New Business Department. Permit me to take this opportunity to congratulate Mateusz Bomba on a job well-done as the Fraternal Department Coordinator and wish him the best of luck in his new position in the PRCUA New Business Department. Mateusz’s PRCUA email and phone number remain the same. Thanks Conrad for always being there for PRCUA and me.
Our sincere condolences to National Director (D-9) Elizabeth Sadus on the sudden passing of her mother, Rita, on October 19. A loving wife, mother and grandmother, she will be greatly missed by not only her family, but many friends. See p.17 for obituary and photo. As All Saints Day draw nears, let us remember Rita and all our dearly beloved who now look down upon us from heaven. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
To those who exercise cautious optimism and are “open for business”, such as the Polish language schools subsidized by PRCUA and several PRCUA dance groups, please stay vigilant and safe. To those who are unable to resume classes, take heart – your normal schedules will return when the time is right – you are not alone. This mindset is a lesson for all – do what you can by following the mandates and be safe and sensible. On my way to work, a road side reads: “A mask, like a seat belt, only works if you wear it.” (Rogalin Dancers, I love the Polish folk mask you gifted me. Serdecznie dziękuję.) PHOTO #2.
November also marks the birthdays of many lovely ladies in the PRCUA including our Naród Polski Editor Lidia Kowalewicz (11/16), Graphic Artist Lisa Terlecki (11/21), Audit Department Associate Danuta Czajkowska; former First Lady Joann Ozog (11/17) and former Editor Kathryn Rosypal Romani (11/22). Together with the PRCUA Marketing and Fraternal Departments, Joann and Kathryn compiled a new publication, “History of the PRCUA Schools” which was two years in the making. The book has gone to print and will be available for distribution soon. Thank you all for making this book a reality. Happy birthday and STO LAT to you and all those November born!
We are all suffering from “Covid” fatigue, political burnout, etc., but we cannot give up! Do whatever you need to do to keep your spirits up – rest when tired, exercise to stay limber and maintain circulation, eat healthy, be patient, take all necessary precautions, and pray that a cure will be found sooner than later for this virus. In light of it all, we have so much to be thankful for and however you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember to thank God every day for the joys in your life.