Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Ś+P Donald F. Mushalko, Ph.D.

1 January 2015 - By

From Trib Total Media: Polish culture, music backbones of man’s life


Ś.P. Donald Mushalko devoted his life to music and to keeping Polish culture alive in the Pittsburgh region.

The outgoing and friendly former music professor at the University of Pittsburgh traveled extensively and had friends across the country and throughout Europe, said his sister, Jean Jasiewicz of McKeesport.

“Our grandparents emigrated from Poland, (and) they lived with us,” Jasiewicz said. “We learned the language as a second language as children. … It was just instilled in us from childhood.”

Donald F. Mushalko died Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, at Briarcliff Pavilion in North Huntingdon from heart problems. He was 84.

Mr. Mushalko graduated from what was then the Carnegie Institute of Technology with a degree in music education and violin. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught for 40 years and served as president of the Polish Room, one of the school’s 30 Nationality Rooms, all decorated in the tradition of specific nations.

He was involved with several Polish music, cultural and heritage groups in the region and was a devout member of Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church of Mc-Keesport, serving as choir director, an organist and, at times, a singer.

He was a devoted caretaker to his wife after she had a stroke, taking her out for activities and to banquets, said his niece, Joanne Dorazio of White Oak.

“She had a better social life than I did,” Dorazio said of her aunt. “It was good that he kept her active. … He didn’t just sit there with her.”

Dorazio said her uncle had a traditional Polish dinner on Christmas Eve with his family and spent Christmas at her house with his wife’s family.

“He was bound and determined (to make it through Christmas this year),” Dorazio said. “He enjoyed himself. It was a nice send-off for him, I think.”

He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen C. Korch Mushalko, and a sister, Alice M. Mushalko. In addition to Jasiewicz and Dorazio, Mr. Mushalko is survived by his brothers, George A. Mushalko and Edwin Mushalko, and wife, Arlene; and many nieces and nephews.

Friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 31st and from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. January 2nd in the Jaycox-Jaworski Funeral Home, 2703 O’Neil Blvd., McKeesport. A blessing service will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 3rd followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial in Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church. Interment will follow in Holy Family Cemetery, North Versailles.

Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church, 1921 Eden Park Blvd., McKeesport, PA 15132.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may the Perpetual Light shine upon him.

Stoning of St. Stephen and small ‘t’ tradition

30 December 2014 - By

A great story from the Sunday Dispatch below. We honored this tradition at home when I was young. My grandmother (Busha – a Polish term of endearment for grandma) used to wake us up by throwing a few nuts at us. This story brought back those memories. In these small ‘t’ traditions we do a certain kind of catechesis that is experiental.

From the Sunday Dispatch: Stoning of St. Stephen honored in Duryea by throwing walnuts at priest

DURYEA — St. Mary’s Polish National Catholic Church, Duryea, continued the celebration of the sacred holiday season on Friday night with a mass commemorating the feast of St. Stephen, deacon and first martyr of the church. The service included the throwing of walnuts at celebrant Father Carmen G. Bolock.

“Although this week has certainly focused on the birth of Christ,” said Bolock, “it is fitting that we should also focus on the suffering and service that define the life of Christians.”

St. Mary's Polish National Catholic Church pastor, the Rev. Carmen Bolock, gives his homily Friday night. -- Bill Tarutis for the Sunday Dispatch

St. Mary’s Polish National Catholic Church pastor, the Rev. Carmen Bolock, gives his homily Friday night. — Bill Tarutis for the Sunday Dispatch

Amidst beautiful Christmas décor that included carefully lighted trees, poinsettias, and of course, a nativity scene, Bolock reminded those gathered to stand firm in their faith.

He said just as St. Stephen looked up to see Jesus as he was being put to death by stoning, Christians must also “look up” when their faith is being challenged or others avoid them because of their beliefs.

He said just as Jesus prayed for those who persecuted Him, so Stephen also asked God to forgive those who stoned him.

The service also included holiday hymns including “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “God is Born.”

Bolock said celebration of patron saints’ days throughout the holiday season emphasized the continuing spirituality of faith.

Church members continued their week of commemoration, remembering the feast of St. John the Evangelist on Saturday and the Solemnity of Humble Shepherds on Sunday.

“St. John was the only apostle to die of natural causes,” said Bolock, “even though those who opposed the Gospel tried to kill him by execution and poisoning.”

Bolock said the throwing of walnuts at the priest was both an opportunity to strengthen faith of those attending and to keep a time honored Eastern European tradition alive.

And, although that tradition is certainly a sacred one, Bolock also remembers one such service when he was “beaned” in the head.

“I found out later it was the organist,” he said laughing.

Watch “A.D. The Series”

29 December 2014 - By

From the renowned producing team of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes A.D. on NBC – a landmark television event continuing where The Bible series left off.

A.D. starts with the Crucifixion and The Resurrection – catalysts that altered history. What follows is the epic tale of “A.D.” chronicling several of the most intense and tumultuous decades in history. The complicated birth of the early Church was a time filled with enormous faith, persecution, political intrigue, brutal Roman oppression and the desperate Jewish revolt. The entire world was transformed, and the course of human history would be forever changed.

A.D. tells its story through the eyes of the Apostles, Pilate, Caiaphas, the Jewish Zealots and the Herod family. With the Book of Acts and Paul’s letters as its foundation plus some artful use of history, A.D. shows why little has changed in two thousand years, but the church continues to change the world.

This Easter Sunday, April 5th, 2015, join with me and millions of viewers for the premiere of A.D. and continue on a 12-week journey through what would become the most powerful global movement in history – the rise of the Church.

Fall-Winter Edition of the Cosmopolitan Review

9 December 2014 - By

The Fall-Winter edition of the Cosmopolitan Review has been published. Here’s the preview:

Poland has been commemorating anniversaries all year and those of us observing from a distance have shared in the country’s happiness. True, some of those anniversaries mark events that were far from happy, but now they are not only far in the past but also signify a remarkable endurance and resilience.

To share this joy, CR’s own Justine Jablonska put together a photo essay illustrating these significant dates with selected personalities from the arts, letters and politics of this successful country. We also invited Andrew Nagorski to say a few words, which he does with elegance and affection. And we have musicians from Wawel (top left) for a rousing chorus of Sto lat!

But as faithful readers all know, CR’s Poland is wherever there are Poles, and we hope our British friends forgive us if the sun never sets on us for a change. This issue, we write about Poles in Africa from the perspective of people who cherish the memory of their enchanted childhood, complete with an escape from the clutches of a monster. They hold regular reunions in Wrocław. A refugees’ reunion, you ask? It’s a psychological and social phenomenon Amanda Chalupa feels compelled to study.

About the same time that Polish kids frolicked with boa constrictors in Africa, Polish cabaret stars entertained Polish troops serving in the Polish II Corps under General Władysław Anders. Beth Holmgren, who has made interwar cabaret her own, introduces us to some very talented people as The Cabaret Goes to War.

Whatever has been said about the long communist era, artists find a way. Justine Jablonksa reviews Eric Bednarski’s beautiful film about dreamy neon signs created in a system that never delivered the goods that were advertised. A bit surreal? Tune in to the conversation.

Still with films, Małgorzata Dzieduszycka casts a sensitive eye on Jan Komasa’s MIASTO 44 and on Warsaw Uprising. There will never be a last word on this event, nor could it be otherwise.

Ben Paloff muses on the poet laureate of the wartime generation, Krzysztof Baczyński. Is he, as Magda Romańska suggested, “Bob Dylan, William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda and James Dean rolled into one,” or is he more like Keats, or maybe Marcel Proust?

We move on to the 2nd largest Polish city in the world, Chicago, specifically Stuart Dybek’s Chicago. Agnieszka Tworek explores this gifted writer’s perceptive and sympathetic stories about the gritty immigrant neighborhood of Chicago, and has a few questions for the award-winning author as well.

We are pleased to have another review by the young Toronto-based historian, Michał Kasprzak, whose great writing could upstage the authors under discussion. But with consummate skill, he instead seduces people to read – and maybe even buy! – the book. In this case it is the new history of modern Poland by Brian Porter-Szücs who examined Poland and came up with a startling diagnosis: Poles are normal people, just like everybody else. Some of us have long suspected as much but were waiting for a professional confirmation. Kasprzak will fill you in.

And we end with a fitting finale. Pomp, history, great plans and good feelings fill Martin Grzadka’s account of Canada’s first state visit to Poland. Yes, much business was discussed but the warm bilateral relations were the icing on the cake for a young professional proud to be a citizen of both countries.

Before we go, we invite you to look at our About Us page, where we introduce our stellar cast of Contributing Editors. We look forward to an exciting 2015.

Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Youth Sunday, and Labor Day

30 August 2014 - By


A call to be

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Today we celebrate a call to be changed, to offer ourselves to God in all we do, and in doing so to make His kingdom a reality.

How will we make this change real? How will we respond and get to work? What will we do to be transformed into people completely focused on carrying out God’s will for humanity?

Our Holy Church has designated this Sunday as Youth Sunday. Our youth will be returning to school. They will study and grow in knowledge so that they may take their place in society, contributing their work and effort – but to what end?

If their studies are self-focused, if they are taken up without due consideration of God’s call to be changed and to change the world, they will only make their lives small and self-serving. They may achieve earthly success, but in the process lose their souls. If however, their study and growth remain focused on God’s call to change and affect change in accord with His call, their lives will be glorious and complete. They will use what they have gained to come into union with God and to carry out His will. We must help them by our example, prayer, and support. Our duty is to continually assist them in realizing that everything they learn and do is a gift from God and requires a response to His call to change.

This weekend we also celebrate Labor Day. Our work and labor must also been seen in light of the call to be changed and change the world. Paraphrasing our organizer, Bishop Hodur: ‘The time will come when our heroes emerging from the homes of farmers and laborers will sweat and sacrifice not for kings or the rights of the privileged or a single class, but will battle and work for freedom and the rights of man. Let us gather and strive to be first in good and last in wrong. Then shall we bring ourselves, our nation, and the whole world closer to happiness and salvation.’

We are thus called to change ourselves and the world, to transform life away from the money-driven values of this world to the bringing of the kingdom of God.

We are called to make change real in the lives of our youth and in our lives. This is true worship: “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” Do not live the status quo. It is not enough! Jesus put His body on the line for us. So we must put our lives on the line, changing them for Him and working for the coming of His kingdom.

Arts Opportunities, Scholarships, Programs, and Research Grants

28 July 2014 - By

From the New York State Alliance for Arts Education

Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core 2

August 12- 13, in Albany. Hear an inspiring keynote on inquiry-based learning from Barbara Stripling. Participate in experiential labs where you’ll learn how to create compelling lessons using cultural resources to meet the Common Core Learning Standards. Explore inquiry as a professional discipline. Network with colleagues in your region. And, to close the conference, hear from James B. Short, Director, Gottesman Center for Science Teaching and Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Register today!

Summit on Transforming Education through Creative Practices

Move this World, a global non-profit that uses creative expression to address and transform conflict and bullying in communities worldwide, invites you to participate in its 5th Annual Global Summit in Transforming Education through Creative Practices! They are calling on a global network of educators, youth workers, thought leaders, creative arts therapists, students, artists and social change advocates to connect and collaborate in New York City, August 22 – 24.

Aesthetica Art Prize 2014

Entries close August 31, 2014.

The Aesthetica Art Prize 2014 is now open for entries, offering both budding and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to an international audience and influential figures from the arts sector. Celebrating and nurturing outstanding contemporary art from across the world, the Art Prize welcomes all forms of art in the following categories:Photographic & Digital Art, Three Dimensional Design & Sculpture, Painting & Drawing and Video, Installation & Performance.

Prizes include a 12 week group show; up to £1000 in cash; publication in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology and editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine (readership of 140,000 worldwide); art supplies and art books; and Q&As on the Aesthetica Blog. There are two main categories to enter: Main Prize and Student Prize. There is a winner for each main category. Entry is £15 and permits the submission of two works into any one category.

Grammy Foundation Supports Music Research and Preservation Projects

Deadline: October 1, 2014 (Letters of Inquiry)

Funded by the Recording Academy, the Grammy Foundation’s annual grant program provides support for music archiving and preservation efforts and scientific research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. The research projects grant program awards funding of up to $20,000 to organizations and individuals working to research the impact of music on the human condition. Examples include the study of the effects of music on mood, cognition, and healing; the medical and occupational well-being of music professionals; and the creative process underlying music. Priority will be given to projects with strong methodological design as well those designed to address an important research question.

Ucross Foundation’s Spring 2015 Artist Residencies

Deadline: October 1, 2014

Founded in 1981, the Ucross Foundation provides uninterrupted time, work space, and living accommodations in Sheridan, Wyoming, to competitively selected visual artists, writers, and composers. Nearly thirteen hundred individuals from every state in the U.S. as well as Germany, France, Scotland, England, Poland, Egypt, the Netherlands, Canada, and Thailand have spent time at Ucross since it first opened. Currently, the foundation is accepting applications for its 2015 Spring Residency program, which runs from late-February to mid-June.

YoungArts Applications for 2015 Open

Deadline: October 17, 2014

YoungArts identifies and nurtures emerging artists ages 15-18 (or in grades 10-12) in the visual, literary, design and performing arts. Winners in cinematic arts, dance, design, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice, and writing are provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, significant access to scholarships and national recognition, including:

  • Up to $10,000 in monetary awards
  • Exclusive U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts nomination
  • Master classes with world-renowned artists
  • Access to scholarships, career opportunities and professional contacts
  • Opportunity for works to be viewed by top artists in their fields
  • All applicants to YoungArts have the opportunity to learn about college programs, scholarships, summer programs and festivals through participation in the YoungArts Student List Service.

Apply here.

Chamber Music Residency Partnership Program

Application Deadline: October 31, 2014

Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program supports ensembles and presenters in building audiences for classical/contemporary, jazz, and world chamber music through residency projects. Funding is specifically aimed at activities that take place in community settings and that are not part of a regular concert series. These activities may include, but are not limited to, clinics, interactive classroom programs, and lecture/demonstrations in libraries, hospitals, senior centers, or similar venues. Projects must take place in the U.S. or its territories. The length of the residencies ranges from a minimum of three days to one year. Grants support up to 75 percent of expenses directly connected to the project. The balance must be drawn from other sources, such as cash from other grants, earned income, or an allocation from the organization’s general operating funds. For information on applying, please see their website.

Infographic on Arts Education

This one page document from the Indiana Youth Institute summarizes some valuable research and information on the value of arts education.

Website for Lesson Sharing

Share My Lesson is a free platform, developed by teachers for teachers, that gives access to high-quality teaching resources and provides an online community where teachers can collaborate with, encourage and inspire each other.

Summer Issue of the Cosmopolitan Review

28 July 2014 - By

The summer issue of the Cosmopolitan Review has been published. The authors note:

The arts, in all their variety, are mirrors that reflect a people. We owe so much to artists. They make us laugh, cry, think, and see ourselves in our infinite variety, so no wonder we admire those talented people who create images, words and music that enrich our lives.

This issue, we focus on them, whether we find them working in films, theatre, or galleries, composing music or performing it, writing plays or acting, or writing prose or poetry. You’ll find them all represented here.

Let’s start with the movies. For that we’re grateful to Agnieszka Niezgoda and Jacek Laskus, whose marvelous book,, introduces us to some of the most talented people to ever leave Poland – not necessarily forever – and make their mark in the dream capital of the world.

Hollywood has been a talent magnet for a long time and one of the first superstars was Poland’s Pola Negri. Justine Jablonska reviews her story written by Mariusz Kotowski.

Poland’s poets… as once written in the New York Times, “if cash money were on the line…” few critics would bet against Polish poets being the best in the world. With that in mind, Agnieszka Tworek spoke to award-winning translator Joanna Trzeciak about her work – and her friendship – with two of the greats: Wisława Szymborka and Tadeusz Różewicz.

And speaking of poets, Magda Romanska introduces us to a poet and playwright who also happens to be a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Roald Hoffman. Join them for a discussion about the arts and science, and about Polish roots.

Beth Holmgren revisits prewar Polish cabaret… and its postwar reappearance in Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, Lara Szypszak has a few suggestions about galleries, performances and generally low cost and easily accessible culture in Warsaw. Join her.

An anthology of modern Polish plays, (A)pollonia, came to our attention via Will Harrington. The eleven plays, some performed in many countries, are set in Poland but deal with universal themes.

Łukasz Wodzyński returns to CR to share his love, and understanding, of modern Polish literature with an essay about the Introduction to Polish Literature by Jarosław Anders and a review of a new edition of Gomrowicz’s Diary, with the great writer’s thoughts on everything from the Catholic Church to Marxism, and the human condition in general.

Finally, there’s that long established and very special art form that, over time, has left us a record of some of the most interesting people in every culture: letter writing. We bring back that most colorful member of the original, 19th century Polish Society of California – not to mention a great American patriot, Rudolf Korwin Piotrowski, in a translation of previously unpublished letters found in the library of Jagiellonian University by the research/writing team, Maureen Mroczek Morris and Lynn Ludlow, who seem to travel between centuries with the greatest of ease.

And another writer whose letters transcend time and place, Krystyna Wituska, will be remembered in Germany on June 26th with a new book and a monument unveiled by the Memorial Centre in Halle Saale. A young member of the Polish underground, her words about war and peace, friendship and love, hairstyles, fashion, literature and fun, as well as life and death, were written to her parents and also – in what must be a unique prison correspondence – to the daughter of her compassionate German prison guard. Seems Wituska’s letters were written for our troubled times.

Enjoy the summer, read a lot, visit galleries and theatres, go to movies, and tip your hat to the creative people who make all this possible.

Congratulations to Holy Trinity Parish

28 July 2014 - By

From the Meriden Record-Journal: Southington church turns 100

Been to the parish. Very dedicated and loving people. Congratulations on your anniversary! Dwieście lat!!!

SOUTHINGTON, CT — Marilyn Folcik and her sister Arlene Strazzulla looked at a black and white photo pinned on a corkboard inside the Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church on Summer Street Thursday afternoon.

Strazzulla leaned into the picture from 1957 to get a better look and then pointed to a little girl among a crowd of people standing outside the church.

“That was me and that was my sister,” she said.

Then she pointed to a man in the back.

“And that was my grandfather,” she added.

Folcik and Strazzulla’s grandfather, John Knapp, along with 16 other men, helped build the church 100 years ago. It opened its doors in July of 1914.

Rev. Joseph Krusienski, pastor of Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church, stands with long-time parish members Arlene Strazzulla, left, of Southington, and Marilyn Folcik, right, of Bristol, Thursday, July 24, 2014. The church, located on Summer St. in Southington, is celebrating its 100th year anniversary. | Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

Rev. Joseph Krusienski, pastor of Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church, stands with long-time parish members Arlene Strazzulla, left, of Southington, and Marilyn Folcik, right, of Bristol, Thursday, July 24, 2014. The church, located on Summer St. in Southington, is celebrating its 100th year anniversary. | Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

In October, the church and its parishioners will celebrate the anniversary with a Mass followed by a banquet at the Aqua Turf Club.

The first Polish National Catholic Church was formed in 1897 in Scranton, Pa. after many Polish immigrants were longing to have Mass spoken in their native language.

“It was one of the original reasons why we broke away from the Roman Catholic Church,” said Folcik who is also the chairman of the church’s Parish Committee.

“They wanted a Polish-speaking priest,” Strazzulla added.

One of the major differences is that Polish Catholic priests are encouraged to marry and have families. The Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church also doesn’t consider the Pope to be infallible. Some of the seven sacraments have also been modified.

Folcik said she remembered her grandfather saying he wanted Polish people to be able to become priests and bishops and wanted Mass in their native language. The desires prompted some Polish members of the Southington community to form their own church.

A short history of the church written by Folcik for the anniversary, says the foundation of the building was “dug by hand by these sixteen men and others.”

After 1958 all Masses were in English.

“Even though ‘Polish’ is in the name of the church, that’s because it’s our heritage,’” said Strazzulla. “But it’s open to all nationalities.”

In April 1944, a fire tore through the building. Strazzulla and Folcik said the cause of the fire was never determined, though many speculate it could have started from a candle left burning from a wedding ceremony earlier in the day.

After the fire, parishioners joined together to salvage the church. Many made donations.

The Rev. Joseph Krusienski, who has been with the church for 43 years, went to the front of the church Thursday to retrieve old receipts from the repair work.

“The main altar, it was $1,050 to repair,” he said pointing to the typewritten receipt.

He added that each stain-glass window had to be replaced, costing $200 apiece.

“Now they’re worth a couple thousand,” Krusienski said.

In the 1960s the church underwent renovations that included new carpeting, paint on the walls, new pews, and new altar railings. A lot of the help came from parishioners who donated money to keep the church going.

The church’s properties, which include a rectory next to the church and a cemetery on Prospect Street in Plantsville, are owned and maintained by the parish. The parish committee and pastor make decisions regarding the properties.

Strazzulla and Folcik, both born and raised in Southington and now nearing or in their 50s, reminisced on the many years they spent in the church. As the third generation, they remembered being baptized, having their communion, confirmation, and even getting married in the church. The church’s 100th year anniversary is important, they said.

“It’s a really warm feeling,” Strazzulla said.

“We’re proud,” Folcik added.

“We’re very proud and honored to carry on what our ancestors started,” Strazzulla said.

July 2014 Issue of God’s Field Published

26 July 2014 - By


The latest issue of God’s Field is now available online.

Articles for the August issue are being accepted now through August 1, 2014. You may E-mail items and photos or send them to:

God’s Field
Polish National Catholic Church
1006 Pittston Avenue
Scranton, PA 18505

A place to fill out their souls

14 July 2014 - By

From the The Lowell Sun: A welcoming family: St. Casimir’s Parish in Lowell welcomes those seeking faith to its tight-knit community

LOWELL — It may be one of Lowell’s best kept secrets, particularly for those who love traditional Polish foods like pierogi (dumplings), golabki (cabbage roll) or kapusta (braised sauerkraut or cabbage with bacon, mushroom and onion).

At a church kitchen and hall on Lakeview Avenue, volunteers who know their way around a dough pressing machine as well as the tricks to producing the perfect cabbage roll lend their talents a few times a month to their church, St. Casimir’s Polish National Catholic Church.

The team effort of these volunteers, who range in age from pre-teens to their 90s, results in hundreds of handmade pierogi and golabki, plus dozens of quarts of kapusta — all later frozen and sold in their parish store.

On Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon, St. Casimir’s Parish Store is open to the public. Pierogi sell for $11 per dozen, kapusta is $6 per quart, golabki $18 a dozen. Proceeds benefit the parish.

“This is a labor of love. We make these the old-fashioned way, with so many steps that it’s time-consuming. People often don’t have the time today,” said Joanne Menzia, who took part in the pierogi assembly line on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen other volunteers.

“People use pierogi as a side dish, a main dish, or even as an appetizer,” said Janice Klimczak. “We sell quite a lot of them.”

The store also sells for $12 each the parish’s new cookbook, A Taste of Heaven, featuring traditional Polish recipes from church members as well as recipes contributed by the church’s many non-Polish members.

Doing his own part in the pierogi assembly line was the pastor, the Rev. Andrzej Tenus, a native of northern Poland who came to the United States in 2006 speaking no English.

Tenus, a former Roman Catholic priest, born in 1972, and a current beekeeper, musician, husband and father of four, went to Pennsylvania to study English for three months at the Polish National Catholic Church headquarters. He was preparing for his new role as a pastor within the Polish National Catholic Church in the U.S.

He did pretty well with the Pennsylvania dialect; then he came to Lowell, where the Boston accent made it a little more difficult, he said, smiling. Today, Tenus has only a trace of a Polish accent, which belies the fact that he’s spoken English for less than a decade.

One of the questions he’s often asked from those outside the community is how the Polish National Catholic Church differs from the Roman Catholic Church. Many find it hard to grasp, he said, how a Catholic church in Lowell is not connected to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, that its bishops and priests (since 1921) are allowed to marry, and the church is democratic. Its governing board chooses the pastor, controls the finances, and the parish owns its assets.

The Polish National Catholic Church, according to its website, is a Christian denomination formed in 1897 in Scranton, Pa. While it serves the spiritual needs of its members, it also welcomes all people who wish to follow Christ. Today, there are more than 25,000 members in the United States.

The National Catholic movement, which encompasses more than the Polish National Church, resulted from the division in the Christian Church that similarly initiated the Protestant movement. However, according to the St. Patrick Catholic Church website, a National Catholic Church in Rhode Island, it differs from the Protestant divisions in that it kept its belief in the Mass and the priesthood necessary to have the Mass, as well as other Catholic rites and rituals.

The liturgy, especially the contemporary liturgy that Tenus is initiating at St. Casimir, closely resembles that of the Roman Catholic Church. Standing inside St. Casimir’s Church, which was built in 1908 for the then-large Polish community in the city’s Centralville neighborhood, is like standing inside any Roman Catholic Church.

“We keep the same beliefs. The difference is only in the administration level. We’re not connected to Rome,” said Tenus.

Tenus leads a busy life while living next to the church with his wife, Agnes, who followed her husband to the United States three months after his arrival. In Poland, Agnes trained as a nutritionist and professional cook. She creates recipes from her home country and often bakes desserts for home and the church with the honey Tenus harvests from three bee hives located at St. Casimir Cemetery in Pelham. Beekeeping was a hobby Tenus started in Poland and has since resurrected.

Their children, Karina, 13, Jonah, 9, Christoper, 6 and Amelia, 3, consider St. Casimir’s close-knit parish family as surrogate aunts, uncles and grandparents, Tenus said. Likewise, the parishioners love having them here, he added.

Tenus has many ideas to keep the small parish active within and outside the community, including a busy youth group that produces an annual talent show. He emphasizes the importance of welcoming others to their church.

“No matter your background, ethnicity or denomination, we don’t look at that. Just people with good will looking for some place to fill out their souls,” he said. “If you need comfort, a place to pray, this is the place. We do not judge — it’s not up to us to judge.”

Sunday Mass is offered at 10 a.m. at 268 Lakeview Ave., Lowell, followed by fellowship hour. For more information, visit the parish website, call 978-453-0742, or send an E-mail.

Watch live streaming video from StCasimirs at



…and the rest

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