Roots Anchor Pride in Polonia

ORCHARD LAKE, Mich. (7-11-2016) – The Orchard Lake Schools made history on June 22, 2016 at Anno Domini 966, the U.S. celebration of 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland. When asked by a member of his Orchard Lake staff to explain the true significance of this historic event, here is what Monsignor Thomas C. Machalski, Jr., Chancellor-Rector, Orchard Lake Schools, had to say.

OLS: Anno Domini 966 signified history in the making in the United States. Why was this campus selected as the location for the celebration?

MSGR: The campus of the Orchard Lake Schools was chosen as the site of the celebration because Orchard Lake is the heart of Polonia. Since our founding in 1885, we have been and continue to be the place where all things Polish are honored, respected, preserved, cherished and held sacred.

OLS: Based on the homilies, in English by Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, Florida, and in Polish by Bishop Mroziewski of Brooklyn, New York, what were the most important messages taken away from Mass?

MSGR: The most important message contained in the homilies of Archbishop Wenski and Bishop Mroziewski was that we should always remain connected to our roots and traditions. Even though we may be removed from Poland for a few generations, no matter where we are we will never stop being Polish nor, I may add, Catholic because our faith and culture are intimately connected. They are almost inseparable.

OLS: Your guests came from all over the United States to celebrate 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland. What were their responses to both the invitation and attendance at the Mass?

MSGR: The responses that I received were all very positive and complimentary. People really enjoyed the solemn celebration of Mass, Blessing and Dedication of the St. John Paul II Shrine by His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, and the decree read by Archbishop Vigneron naming us the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II (in the Archdiocese of Detroit).

OLS: The procession into the Mass was very meaningful. Can you share your feedback on all those who came together for the procession into the Chapel?

MSGR: The procession was magnificent! The young people in the colorful folk costumes of different regions of Poland, the Polish Scouts`, Polish Veterans — all make one realize that although we are in the United States, we have never stopped being Polish and we are proud of it. It is also wonderful to see the next generations taking part in such celebrations because they will be the ones to keep alive our heritage.

OLS: Tell us about the people who came to Mass and shared in the Grand Banquet with you and your guests – the Polish people, in particular. What kind of feedback did you hear, and how did it touch on the significance of the celebration?

MSGR: People came from all over Michigan as well as from Ohio, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, South Carolina and even from across the border to our north — from Canada for the celebration. People were genuinely grateful that they had an opportunity to mark such a momentous occasion. Of those who were born in Poland, many left there years ago, and others not that long ago, so this celebration allowed them to rejoice in the faith and culture even though far they were from their homeland. Both those born in Poland and those born here of Polish descent were filled with joy!

OLS: How did this celebration mark the beginning of the next 50 to 1,050 years and beyond?

MSGR: I believe that it instilled in the participants a renewed desire to do all that we can to share our beautiful customs, traditions and 1,050-year-old faith with the younger generation and with the larger community. Our beautiful faith, traditions, language, culture and customs will continue if each of us does his/her part to propagate them.

OLS: What is the single most important thing you gained from planning and celebrating the 1,050th anniversary?

MSGR: Like all things that are good, it took a lot of hard work on the part of many people to make this day memorable. However, I would say that, as a fourth generation Polish-American, whose great-grandparents left Poland before World War I and when Poland was portioned and, therefore, not even on the map, it renewed my sense of pride in my roots and gives me the impetus to continue proclaiming to all the beauty of our 1,050-year-old faith and our heritage.


1,050 Years of Poland’s Christianity Celebration on the Campus of the Orchard Lake Schools

This year marks the 1,050th anniversary of Poland’s Christianity. It began in 966 with the baptism of Mieszko I, Poland’s first historically known king. At that time, Christianity was accepted as the religion of the Polish nation. This faith helped the Poles endure years of war, totalitarian oppression and martial law. Even in the last 50 years, Poland has experienced monumental change. “The gift of faith has been passed from one generation to the next and we, by God’s grace and providence, are the recipients of that 1,050-year faith tradition,” said Monsignor Thomas C. Machalski, Jr., Chancellor-Rector, Orchard Lake Schools.

On June 22, 2016, the anniversary celebration will commence on the grounds of the Orchard Lake Schools. Invited guests include the Papal Nuncio and Primate of Poland; all the Polish-American Bishops; the President, Vice President, Secretary-General and Episcopal Delegate for Poles in the Diaspora of the Polish Episcopal Conference and all members of Polonia throughout the United States. Plans are also underway for Archbishop Allen Vigneron, by official decree, to name the Orchard Lake Schools the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II.

This historical and spiritual event, cosponsored by the National Polish Apostolate, the Orchard Lake Schools and the Polish American Priests’ Association, will begin with a Mass and General Procession for all. Guests are invited to come in their native costume with their society’s banner as a celebration of national pride.

“Trzeci Maj” Observance set for May 17 in Everson, Pa.

The annual celebration of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, sponsored by the Polish Heritage Club in Uniontown, Pa., is slated for Sunday, May 17 at St. Joseph Church in Everson beginning at 3 p.m. Officers, Members of the Club and friends are cordially invited for this ethnic event noted annually by the Polish Heritage Club as a means to promote Polish Culture in the Fayette County area.

Polish Marian hymns, readings from the Scripture, a Reflection, followed by the Rosary Walk and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament will conclude with light refreshments in the parish hall located off Vance and Painter Streets in the Borough of Everson.

St. Joseph Church, founded in 1887, is the third oldest Polish parish in all of southwestern Pennsylvania. Frank Cetera, President of the Club, extends a sincere welcome to all Polish-Americans and recently arrived Poles to this special Polonia event.

The May 3, 1791 Polish Constitution gave more power to the people and was a threat to the neighbors of Poland, thus furthering the division of the Polish Nation.

Nest 45 hosts festival

Nest 45 St. Louis, Mo. held their 39th annual Polish Festival on September 6-7, 2013. The festival is the largest Polish Festival in Missouri with thousands of attendees. People from all over come to eat delicious Polish foods including czernina and specialty pastries and to dance in the garden to the tunes of the E-Z Tones. Plan to visit the festival next September, the weekend after Labor Day 2014.

Food servers

Dance contest winners

Great Grandma Leona, Grandma Pat, Lana, Dad Scott Meczkowski