Posts Tagged ‘History’

Simply Grand Concert Series – Art Song Treasures of Poland on March 22, 2015

21 February 2015 - By

From WVIA: WVIA’s next Simply Grand Concert on March 22, 2015 features soprano Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and pianist Carol Ann Aicher in a program titled, Art Song Treasures of Poland

PITTSTON, PA (WVIA) – WVIA’s next Simply Grand Concert features soprano Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and pianist Carol Ann Aicher in a program titled, “Art Song Treasures of Poland.” The live concert will be held on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 3 p.m. in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at the WVIA Public Media Studios in Pittston, PA. Seating is free, but limited. To make reservations call 570-655-2808 or reserve seats online.

ArtSongPolandWVIADr. Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki, soprano, has performed abroad and throughout the tri-state area in opera, concert, and recital. Her opera credits include appearances with the Grande Theatre of Geneva, Switzerland in productions of Parsifal, Albert Herring, La Boheme, and Boris Godunov, the latter of which was televised throughout Europe. She has been a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera, the New York Lyric Opera, Mostly Opera, the Ossining Chorale, the Pittsburgh Chamber Opera Theater, the Ridge Light Opera, Stony Hill Players, the New Jersey Concert Opera, and the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, among others. Dr. Nowicki earned a Doctorate of Education in College Teaching and Vocal Pedagogy from Columbia University Teachers College. The topic of her doctoral research is the history of Polish music leading to the Polish art song of the 19th century. She is devoted to bringing this virtually unknown song repertoire to wider audiences. Recital venues have included New Jersey City University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Northeast Theater of Scranton, and the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City among others. She was featured on WQED-FM radio in Pittsburgh in a program entitled: Oginski to Szymanowski: The Polish Art Song of the 19th Century. Dr. Nowicki also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Wilkes University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Carnegie-Mellon University. As a music educator, Ms. Nowicki has taught chorus and voice at Washington and Jefferson College, Teachers College Columbia University, Carnegie-Mellon University and music in several public schools, including those in Madison and Millburn, New Jersey. Ms. Nowicki resides in Scranton, Pennsylvania with her husband the Rt. Rev. Bernard Nowicki, bishop of the Central Diocese of the Polish National Catholic Church. Their daughter, Berit Elizabeth, resides in Northampton, MA.

Dr. Carol Ann Aicher earned a Doctorate in Education at Columbia University Teachers College and holds a Masters of Music degree in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music as well as the Piano Pedagogy Certificate and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance with a minor in Music History from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Carol Ann currently teaches graduate pedagogy at the Manhattan School of Music. She was previously an assistant professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Aicher also frequently presents workshops, lectures on pedagogy, and adjudicates various festivals and competitions. As a pianist and collaborator she has performed at many venues on the east coast; Longwood Gardens, Strathmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall. She is half of the Oberlin Piano Duo, an ensemble that specializes in music for four hands, one piano. Carol Ann is also part of a two piano team with her husband Douglas Lane.

The WVIA “Simply Grand Concert Series” showcases the talent of regional classical musicians. Since the series began in 1990, dozens of regional musicians have been featured. The concerts are recorded for broadcast on WVIA-FM before a live audience in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at WVIA Public Media Studios.

Polish American Historical Association Announces its Annual Awards

8 February 2015 - By

Los Angeles, January 30, 2015 – During its 72nd Annual Meeting in New York, at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) announced the winners of the organization’s annual awards. Consul General, Hon. Urszula Gacek welcomed the guests and recounted the history of PAHA and its role in the documentation and promotion of Polish American history and culture. Established in 1942, PAHA is the premier international scholarly association dedicated to the study of Polish emigration and immigration to the Americas.

The Mieczysław Haiman Award, offered annually to an American scholar for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans, was presented to Dr. Neal Pease, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for his extensive record of valued publications in the field of Polish and Polish American history. A recipient of PAHA’s Swastek Prize, as well as a Past President of PAHA, Dr. Pease serves on the Board of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, and is the editor of its journal, The Polish Review. Simultaneously he is a member of PAHA Council and of the editorial board of the Polish American Studies.

PAHA presented the Oskar Halecki Prize that recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States to Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdańsk, Poland. She served as the editor of East Central Europe in Exile, vols. 1-2: Transatlantic Migrations and Transatlantic Identities (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). This outstanding two-volume work, takes up an extremely significant area of research in the broad field of Polish American studies, namely the experience of emigration and resettlement in a new homeland. The books include contributions by thirty-eight scholars from North America and Europe that examine aspects of both the Polish emigration and settlement experiences, along with those of other peoples from East Central Europe. Dr. Mazurkiewicz’s effort makes an inestimable contribution to scholarly research and knowledge in the important field of emigration studies – and with special attention to the experiences of peoples who are all too often overlooked in discussions of this subject.

The Amicus Poloniae Award that “recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community” was given to Ms. Terry Tegnazian, the co-founder of the Aquila Polonica Publishing dedicated to issuing books about Poland in World War II. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Terry Tegnazian became interested in the Polish experience of World War II while reading memoirs of key Polish Underground leaders. She was moved by the stories of the Poles’ incredible courage during World War II — an aspect of the war she had not previously been aware of. In addition to being a hands-on publisher involved in all aspects of each Aquila Polonica title, Terry has written about Poland in World War II for the Wall Street Journal Europe and the Warsaw Business Journal, she’s been interviewed on national television, and has presented numerous lectures in a wide range of venues including colleges, museums, and libraries.

Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, of Moonrise Press, Los Angeles, received the Distinguished Service Award “given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.” Dr. Trochimczyk is PAHA’s Newsletter Editor and Online Communications Director. She created and expanded the organization’s internal and external online and print communications including the newsletters, marketing materials, a blog, and social media. A member of the PAHA Board since in 2009, Dr. Trochimczyk previously received the PAHA’s Swastek Prize in 2007 for the best article published in the Polish American Studies, “The Impact of Mazowsze and Śląsk on Polish Folk Dancing in California” (Vol. 63, No. 1, Spring 2006). A music historian and a poet, Dr. Trochimczyk published six books on music and five of poetry, including, most recently, Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (co-edited with William Śmiałek, Routledge, June 2015) and a poetry collection, Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014) based on her parents’ childhood memories of WWII.

PAHA’s Creative Arts Award “recognizes the contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups who have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas” and was presented to Mr. Adrian Prawica, director and executive producer of the film The Fourth Partition: Chicago (2013). The documentary tells a unique and rarely talked about history of Chicago’s Polish Community at the dawn of the 20th century. It examines economic and political reasons for the migration of over 4 million Poles to the United States between 1870 and 1920 and focuses on Polish immigrant workers in heavily industrialized Chicago neighborhoods, their community, as well as their political activism, which aided Poland in her fight for independence during WWI.

The Swastek Prize “awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association” was presented to Dr. Leonard Kurdek for “The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Call Northside 777’: The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice” from Polish American Studies, Vol. 70, no. 2 (Autumn 2013). The editors consider it a meticulously researched reconstruction of a story with compelling human interest which also deals with the interplay of life with art and Hollywood’s depiction of Polish Americans: “A very detailed piece of detective work, it holds the interest of readers from start to finish, is clearly written, and raises a number of very serious and provocative questions about the character of American justice and the consequences of injustice as experienced by a family of poor, working class Polish Americans during the worst times of the Great Depression—a topic that has implications for all disadvantaged peoples.”

The Skalny Civic Achievement Awards “honor individuals or groups that advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or that have made significant contributions to the Polish or Polish-American community and culture.” There were the following 2015 Skalny Award recipients.

Dr. Karen Majewski was recognized for her unwavering efforts to revitalize Hamtramck, one of America’s oldest and most interesting Polonia’s communities located in the heart of Detroit. Majewski was elected Hamtramck’s first woman mayor in 2005, since then re-elected twice (2009, 2013). Former executive director of PAHA, she has also organized exhibits devoted to the Polish presence in Detroit, published works related to the Polish-American identity, and served as the Curator of Polish and Rare Books at Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. Dr. Majewski has previously received the 2004 Halecki Award and the Kulczycki Prize for her book Traitors and True Poles: Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003). She is a Piast Institute Fellow and a Board Member of the Dekaban Foundation.

Mr. Timothy J. Kuzma of Pittsburgh was honored with the Skalny Award for his many faceted, highly productive, and forward looking work as President of the Polish Falcons of American fraternal, his guidance in making the Falcons publication an outstanding fraternal vehicle promoting the Polish heritage that it is, and for his impressive work in making the March 2014 Polish American Summit of national Polonia leaders a success.

Mr. Frank Milewski of New York – Chair of the Anti-Bigotry and Holocaust Documentation Committees of the Polish American Congress was recognized with the Skalny Award for his continuing and longtime efforts as a Polish American Congress activist in New York, notably his time-consuming work of monitoring American mass media for themes related to Poland and the Polish American community, correcting errors, and fighting defamatory comments in a professional and informed manner.

Dr. Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Boehm received the Skalny Award for her role in advancing knowledge and appreciation of Polish history and culture in the United States. Ziółkowska-Boehm is a Polish born writer who now lives in the United States. Her widely acclaimed works published in English deal mostly with the Polish experience in Second World War.

Dr. Alex Storożyński was presented with the Skalny Award for his past leadership of the Kościuszko Foundation. Due to his efforts and incentive, the Kościuszko Foundation moved its operations and communications system to the 21-st century. Modernization, enhanced efficiency, greater outreach must also be paired with his widely read and very well publicized biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko which has generated renewed interest and appreciation of Kościuszko as an American and Polish hero of historic stature: The Peasant Prince:Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution.

The Graduate Student Research Paper Award “recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences” and was presented to Rachel Rothstein, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Florida, Gainesville, for a study entitled “Defending the Remnants: American Jews Respond to Poland’s 1968 Anti-Zionist Campaign.”

The Award Ceremony ended with an announcement of the new leadership of the organization which will lead PAHA through 2015 and 2016. THE OFFICERS: Dr. Grażyna Kozaczka of Cazenovia College was elected the President, Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdańsk – the First Vice President, Dr. John Radzilowski of the University of Alaska-Southeast – the Second Vice President; and Dr. Maja Trochimczyk of Moonrise Press – the Secretary. She will continue serving as PAHA Newsletter Editor and Online Communications Director. Dr. Jim Pula of Purdue University North Central will continue in his role as Treasurer and Dr. Pien Versteegh of Avans University, The Netherlands, as Executive Director. Dr. Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann of Eastern Connecticut State University will be the new Editor of Polish American Studies.

The COUNCIL MEMBERS will include: Dr. M. B. Biskupski, Central Connecticut State University; Dr. John Bukowczyk, Wayne State University; Dr. Mary Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Ann Gunkel, Columbia College-Chicago; Dr. Iwona Korga, Józef Piłsudski Institute; Dr. Dorota Praszałowicz, Jagiellonian University, Kraków; Dr. Marta Cieślak, Independent Scholar; Dr. Czesław Karkowski, Hunter College and Mercy College; Dr. Stephen Leahy, Shantou University, Shantou; Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (Past President, 2013-2014); Dr. Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; and Mr. Robert Synakowski, Syracuse Polish Home.

ABOUT PAHA: The Polish American Historical Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the study of Polish American history and culture. Founded in 1942 as part of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, PAHA became an autonomous scholarly society in 1948. As an affiliate of the American Historical Association, PAHA promotes research and dissemination of scholarly materials focused on Polish American history and culture, and its European origins. PAHA publishes a newsletter and a biannual scholarly peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Polish American Studies (available from the University of Illinois Press; with past issues on JSTOR). The organization sponsors an annual conference, in conjunction with the American Historical Association, which serves as a forum for research in the field of ethnic studies. PAHA has over 600 international members, including both individuals and institutions; membership is open to all individuals interested in the fields of Polish American history and culture, and immigration studies. In 2011, PAHA sponsored the critically acclaimed Polish American Encyclopedia, published by McFarland and edited by Prof. James Pula.

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.

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.

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.

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

Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

21 June 2014 - By

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema – A screening series of restored classic Polish films touring the U.S. and Canada, which opened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York in February 2014.

The Masterpieces will be shown at the Cinema Arts Centre, at 423 Park Avenue, Huntington, NY from June 18th through July 23rd. More Masterpieces to come on July 9th, 13th, 16th and 23rd. Titles to be announced.

Organized and curated by Martin Scorsese, one of the most recognized and respected filmmakers in the world, the series is the largest presentation of restored Polish cinema to date.

21 Films you might not know

Martin Scorsese has personally selected 21 Polish films that have been an inspiration and influence.

30+ Theaters across North America

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema is an unprecedented cultural event. Polish cinema has never been showcased in North America on such a scale. The best in classic Polish film will be shown in cities in the U.S. and Canada throughout 2014, beginning with a special premiere presentation in New York City on February 5th.

Pristine quality

Films in the series will be presented in the highest possible quality thanks to extensive digital picture and audio restoration. Dirt, scratches and other ravages of time have been removed, while preserving the integrity and beauty of the original films.

25 Years of Freedom

17 June 2014 - By

Also check out several news source stories: Polish Radio – Poland celebrates 25 years of freedom and CNN – 25 things we love about Poland



…and the rest

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