POLONIA 
of 
the Eastern Great Lakes

 

(POL. E.G.L.) NEWSBITES
December  2004
by Michael Pietruszka


 

 

























 

POLISH CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS

- As always, the Christmas season brings out the best in our local Polonia. The community puts on its holiday best and lets its cultural pride shine. Many Polonia organizations bring their extended "families" together for a "Wigilia" or "Oplatek" celebration which they share with the entire community.
On December 4, the Chopin Singing Society will recreate a traditional Christmas Eve dinner at the Fr. Justin Council Knights of Columbus Hall in Cheektowaga. Chopin President Ann Mikoll promises a wonderful program featuring visits by St. Nicholas and the Christmas Angel, along with a musical program of the season by the Chopin Choir. The Chopin Choir will also share its holiday celebration with the public at its "Christmas in Poland" performance at the Lancaster Opera House on December 12.
The Polish Student Association of the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNYaB) will gather to mark the holiday at Pistachio's Restaurant in the Student Union on the university's North Campus in Amherst on December 4.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Small Children's Home in Rzeszow, Poland.
On Sunday, December  5, Circuit IX of the Polish Singers Alliance of America will host its annual holiday concert, "A Festival of Polish Song," at St. Stanislaus Church on Buffalo's East Side. Polish choirs from across WNY and southern Ontario are scheduled to participate. The festivities begin at 3:00PM.\
The Polish Heritage Society of Rochester and the Rochester Museum and Science Center will again come together at the museum on December 11 to observe a "Wigilia" which is open to the general public. The society's members will explain the significance of the various holiday practices, such as the sharing of the "oplatek" wafer and the singing of "kolendy" (Polish Christmas carols), to the non-Polish people in attendance and then they will all share the traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner which makes our holiday observance so special.
  The Pulaski Police Association of WNY will gather to celebrate the holiday at the Polish Falcons Hall in Depew on December 4. The Soaring Polka Association of Elmira will hold a Christmas Dinner Dance featuring the music of Jeff Nyschot and "Groove" in Big Flats on the 5th. The Professional and Businessmen's Association will observe the holiday and elect new directors at Adam's Steak and Seafood Restaurant in Cheektowaga on December 8. The General Pulaski Association of the Niagara Frontier will help needy children by contributing stuffed animals as the admission price for its Christmas Party at Salvatore's Italian Gardens in Depew on December 9. The Buffalo Polka Boosters will celebrate the holiday at the Polish Falcons Hall in Depew on the 11th. The Polish Arts Club of Buffalo will hold its "Wigilia & Oplatek" at the Palms Banquet Hall in Williamsville and the Kalina Singing Society will host its "Wigilia" at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Cheektowaga on December 12. The SS. Peter and Paul Athletic Club will present a program of "kolendy" at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Buffalo on the 17th. The Polish Scouts of Rochester will host an evening of "kolendy" at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on December 19.
The Professional and Businessmen's Association, the SS. Peter and Paul Athletic Club of Buffalo, Nest 52 of the Polish Falcons and the Polish American Citizens Club of Rochester are sponsoring children's Christmas parties to help educate our young people about Polish holiday customs and traditions.
On January 9, two of the area's largest fraternal organizations will join together to celebrate the holidays. The Polish Union of America and Nest 6 of the Polish Falcons of America will come together at "Celebrating the New Year" to be held at the Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga. Organization presidents James Jozwiak and Gary Sieczkarek see this event as"sharing our activities to better our organizations" and hope to have more groups participate in 2006.\
Christmas Eve will bring "Pasterka" and Midnight Masses to churches across WNY, Central New York and Southern Ontario... another perfect opportunity to reflect upon and cherish our cultural and religious heritage.

HOLOCAUST OBSERVANCES

- The 24th Annual Holocaust Education Week program in Toronto included a discussion with Alvin Abram, author of "An Eye For An Eye", at the Lawrence Park Community Church on November 2. "It Started and Ended There: March of the Living Trip on Film" was presented at the Pride of Israel Synagogue on the 3rd. "The Pianist: How It Happened", a lecture by Andrzej Szpilman whose father Wladyslaw Szpilman was the subject of the film, took place at the Shaar Shalom Synagogue on November 7th. "Remembering Oswiecim: A Legacy for Today", a lecture by Tomasz Kuncewicz, the director of the Auschwitz Jewish Centre in Oswiecim, was held at the Beth Jacob Congregation on the 7th , the Beth Israel Congregation on the 10th and the Congregation B'nai Israel on the 11th. Tomasz Kuncewicz's lecture, "Preserving Jewish Memory in Poland" was delivered at the Holy Blossom Temple on November 9. The Toronto observance also included an exhibit at the Holy Blossom Temple entitled "Janusz Korczak and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto".\
In Buffalo, the Permanent Chair of Polish Culture at Canisius College filled the Grupp Fireside Lounge at the Canisius Student Union to hear Jozef Poslinski speak on "Living History: My Experiences as a Holocaust Survivor of the Mauthausen and Gusen II Concentration Camps in Austria" on November 9.

POLITICAL POLONIA

- The Solidarity Task Force Political Action Committee awarded its 2004 Distinguished Leadership Awards to NYS Supreme Court Justice Joseph Glownia, City of Buffalo Common Council President David Franczyk, NYS Senator William Stachowski, Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, West Seneca Town Supervisor Paul Clark, Buffalo Common Council Member Joseph Golombek, former NYS Assembly Member Francis Pordum, and former Erie County Family Court Judge Margaret Olszewski Szczur at the Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga on October 29.\
The 9th Zone/ Fillmore District Democratic Committee on Buffalo's East Side recently elected an all-Polonian slate of officers: Daniel Glowacki (chair), Fred Jablonski (vice-chair), Michael Kon (secretary), Steve Dudek (treasurer) and Thomas Chrosniak (sergeant-at-arms).
The November 2nd general election continued NYS Supreme Court Justice Joseph Glownia  and Orchard Park Town Justice Deborah Chimes on the bench for a second term, and returned Margaret Olszewski Sczczur to the Erie County Family Court. NYS Senators Geoge Maziarz and William Stachowski and NYS Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz were continued in office by their constituents, but Francis Pordum was unsuccessful in his bid to return to the NYS Assembly. Christina Wieklinski Bove was elected to a seat on the West Seneca Town Board.

POLONIA TIDBITS

-  The WNY Division of the Polish American Congress awarded its first "Joseph Macielag Friend of Polonia" Award to retiring US Congressman Jack Quinn at the group's 60th anniversary dinner held at the Creekside Banquet Facility on October 29. Polish Consul General Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska was the keynote speaker and member organizations were recognized for their contributions to Polonia and the Congress....

Professor Andrzej Rabczenko, Minister Counselor for Scientific and Technology Affairs for the Polish Embassy, visited with representatives of the University of Rochester's Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the Country Club of Rochester on the 4th of November....

The Kosciuszko Foundation announced that the following area students have been awarded scholarships for the current academic year: William Banas (SUNYaB), Jacek Kura (NY Chiropractic College, Seneca Falls), Joanna Rogalski (SUNYaB), Marguerite Rivard (Canisius College) and Seth Amman (SUNYaB). The foundation also granted fellowships to allow Mariola Szydlowska of the Jagiellonian University and Tomasz Herzog of the Adam Mickiewicz University to work at State University of New York at Buffalo this year....

The Hallwalls Gallery presented a number of short films by Paul Sharits and Jozef Robakowski, including ""Attention! Light!", at the SUNYaB Center for the Arts on November 4. Lukasz Rondunda, the new media curator of the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw who is in residence at Hallwalls this Fall, hosted the event....

The "Slask" Dance Ensemble from Poland delighted audiences at Hamilton Place and in Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto the first weekend of November....

The Pauline Fathers and Brothers of Corpus Christi Parish in Buffalo provided a weekend of spiritual awakening and renewal for area Boy Scouts and Scouters in November....

Buffalo-Rzeszow Sister Cities, Inc. and Villa Maria College recently hosted a delegation from the University of Information, Technology and Management in Rzeszow....

On November 5, the Kosciuszko Club of Dunkirk and the Dunkirk Dom Polski both held their annual "Turkey Parties"....

Rev. David Bialkowski was named pastor of St. John Gualbert Parish in Cheektowaga....

The SUNYaB Polish Student Association of the hosted its first "Wodka Tasting" seminar at the Center for Tomorrow of the SUNYaB North Campus in Amherst on November 6 and a screening of Andrzej Wajda's film, "Zemsta", at the Student Union on the 10th....

John Gora and "Gorale" marked their 25th anniversary with a dinner dance featuring music by "Dynabrass" at the Burlington, Ontario Polish Hall on the 6th....

St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Rochester was the site of Rochester Polonia's annual Polish Independence Day Mass and Celebration on the 7th.... 

Cheektowaga attorney David Jaworski accepted the position of volunteer chair of the business division of St. Joseph's Hospital's annual fund drive....

The USAF Academy Catholic Cadet Choir performed a concert at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in North Tonawanda on the 7th....

On November 10th, Bishop Edward Kmiec, the new Polish American leader of the Buffalo Roman Catholic diocese, addressed the American Jewish Committee's 2004 Human Relations Award Luncheon honoring Dr. Jeffrey Meilman at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo....

Also on the 10th, the Professional and Business Women of Polonia marked 10 years of existence with its "Celebration of Our Members Past and Present" dinner at Salvatore's Italian Gardens in Depew....

The WNY Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo co-sponsored Kosciuszko Foundation Visiting Professor Tomasz Herzog's lecture, "Poland: European Union's Most Catholic Country?" on the 10th and Kathryn Rosypal's lecture  on America's first permanent Polish settlement, "The First Polish Americans Find Hope in Panna Maria Texas" on November 20....

Msgr. Matthew Kopacz, pastor of St. Casimir Parish in Buffalo, recently met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican....

On November 11, WNED-TV, WNY's PBS affiliate, aired "Independent Lens: Polka Time"....

November 12th through the 14th brought the 15th International Festival of Religious Song, which featured Rev. Stan Fortuna and Magda Aniol, to the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga, Ont....

Polish scrabble games continued at the Adam Mickiewicz Library in Buffalo during November....

The Polka Family Band were featured performers at the Annual Fall Dance held at St. Barbara'a Parish in Lackawanna on the 13th of November....

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Rochester marked the end of its restoration drive on November 14 with a special Mass of Thanksgiving....

Hamburg Town Clerk Cathy Rybczynski was named Woman-of-the-Year by the Hamburg/Orchard Park Business and Professional Women....

St. Adalbert's Basilica in Buffalo hosted the annual Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko Mass of Remembrance on November 14. This year, Father Popieluszko's mother, Maryanna Popieluszko, participated in the event....

Polish Art Connections presented a concert by "Blue Cafe" at Club 107/8 in Mississauga on the 14th....

The University of Rochester's Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies held its "Polish Film Festival 2004" at the Little Theatre in downtown Rochester from November 14 to 18. This year's films included Gavin Hood's "In Desert and Wilderness", Piotr Szulkin's "Ubu the King", Lech Majewski's "The Garden of Earthly Delights", Tomek Baginski's "Fallen Art", Konrad Niewolski's "Symmetry" and Maciej Zak's "The Bench"....

George Miecyjak recently resigned as a National Director of the Polish Union of America. James Serafin has replaced Mr. Miecyjak on that board....

On November 20, the Echo Society of Niagara Falls presented a concert by Dale Campbell....

Buffalo's new Bishop, the Most Reverend Edward Kmiec, was officially welcomed by WNY Polonia at a Mass and reception sponsored by the Association of Priests for Polish Affairs at St. Stanislaus Church on Buffalo's East Side on November 21. The event also commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Panna Maria settlement in Texas....

Lenny Gomulka and the "Chicago Push" were the featured performers at a Pre-Thanksgiving Polka Dance at the Leonard Post in Cheektowaga on the 21st....

The Dunkirk Dom Polski held its Thanksgiving Eve Party on November 24 at its Lake Shore Drive clubrooms....

The Pulaski Police Association of WNY elected the following officers for the coming year: Al Ziemecki (president), Marty Bochinski (1st vice president), David Gorski (2nd vice president), Walter Kantorski (3rd vice president), Dick Zolnowski (secretary), Ron Skotnicki (treasurer), Paul Manno (financial secretary) and Mike Stack (sergeant-at-arms)....

Buffalo's Corpus Christi parish and school held a general reunion to bring people back to the "old neighborhood" on November 27....

The Polish Falcons Hall in Depew was the site of an "After Thanksgiving Polka Dance" featuring the music of the "Bedrock Boys" and Eddie Biegaj and "Crusade" on the 27th....

Marylou Borowiak, the chief banking officer of the Greater Buffalo Savings Bank, has been named board chair of the Food Bank of WNY.... Holy Mother of the Rosary PNCC Cathedral in Lancaster presented its annual Advent/Christmas Evensong Service on November 28....

Two new Polish/Polish American radio programs have taken to the air this month. The Polish Union of America introduced "Music Played in Poland Today" which will play contemporary Polish music on Sundays from 1:00 to 2:00PM on WJJL-AM1440, and Bob Krawczyk is bringing his new "Polka Menu" show to WHLD-AM1270 Saturdays from 3:30 to 4:30PM....

A video on the life of Rev. Justin Figas entitled "Father Justin Figas: Beyond the Airways" is available from the Father Justin Rosary Hour in Athol Springs.

UPCOMING EVENTS  -  All telephone numbers are in area code (716) unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, 12/2\
* POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS (WNY DIVISION) GENERAL  MEETING - 7:30PM - Polish Cadets Hall, 927 Grant Street, Buffalo  - Richard Solecki\
Friday, 12/3\
* "THE IMPERATIVE OF ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ACADEMIC  PUBLISHING FOR CENTRAL EUROPEAN SCHOLARS" (Skalny  Luncheon Lecture by Professor Mary Jane Curry) - 12:00Noon - Gamble  Room,  Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester, Rochester - (585-275-9898)\
Saturday, 12/4\
* SUNYAB POLISH STUDENT ASSOCIATION 32ND ANNUAL  "WIGILIA" CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER (Benefitting the Orphanage in Rzeszow,  Poland) - 6:00PM - Pistachio's Restaurant, Student Union, SUNYaB  North Campus, Amherst  - $12.00  ($7.00 for Students  with ID) - (645-2494)\
* CHOPIN SINGING SOCIETY ANNUAL "WIGILIA" CELEBRATION  - 6:00PM - Fr. Justin Council Knights of Columbus, 2735 Union Road, Cheektowaga  - $25.00 - (685-9466)\
* PULASKI POLICE ASSOCIATION CHRISTMAS PARTY  - 6:30PM - Polish Falcons Hall, 445 Columbia Avenue, Depew - $35/Member  Couple; $50/Guest Couple - Al Ziemecki\
Sunday, 12/5\
* POLONIA'S SESQUICENTENNIAL 2004 MASS & CELEBRATION  (Commemorating the Founding of Panna Maria, TX) - 11:30AM - St. Casimir  Church,  160 Cable Street, Buffalo - $22.00 - (824-9589)\
* POLISH AMERICAN CITIZENS CLUB ELECTIONS &  BAKE SALE - 12:00Noon - PAC Clubrooms, 385 Weaver Street, Rochester  - (585-266-7215)\
* SS. PETER & PAUL ATHLETIC CLUB OPEN HOUSE  & ELECTION OF OFFICERS - 12:00Noon - SS. Peter & Paul Church  Hall, 795 Clinton Street, Buffalo - (842-6521)\
* SOARING POLKA ASSOCIATION OF ELMIRA CHRISTMAS  DINNER DANCE - 1:00PM - American Legion Post #1612, 45 Olcott Road South, Big Flats\
 * POLISH SINGERS ALLIANCE DISTRICT IX ANNUAL  "FESTIVAL OF CHRISTMAS SONG" - 3:00PM - St. Stanislaus Church, Fillmore  Avenue & Peckham Street, Buffalo - Teresa Krenglicki\
Wednesday, 12/8\
*  PROFESSIONAL & BUSINESMEN'S ASSOCIATION  CHRISTMAS PARTY & ELECTIONS - 6:30PM - Adam's Steak & Seafood  Restaurant, 209 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga - $10.00 Pre-Sale; $20.00  At Door (Members Only) - Richard Milewicz (634-3358)\
Thursday, 12/9\
* GENERAL PULASKI ASSOCIATION CHRISTMAS PARTY  - Salvatore's Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Road, Depew - $25.00  - Irene Kmiotek\
* POLISH CULTURAL FOUNDATION ANNUAL MEETING  - 6:00PM - Villa Maria College, 240 Pine Ridge Road, Cheektowaga  - Dr. Kazimierz Braun (688-2624)\
Saturday, 12/11\
*  PROFESSIONAL & BUSINESMEN'S ASSOCIATION  CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS PARTY - 9:45AM - Polish Falcons Hall, 445  Columbia Avenue, Depew - Stan Gajewski (683-5818)\
* SS. PETER & PAUL ATHLETIC CLUB CHILDREN'S  CHRISTMAS PARTY - SS. Peter & Paul Church Hall, 795 Clinton Street,  Buffalo - (842-6521)\
* POLISH  HERITAGE SOCIETY OF ROCHESTER "WIGILIA" - Rochester Museum  and Science Center, 657 East Avenue, Rochester - Fredric Skalny (585-467-7405)\
* BUFFALO POLKA BOOSTERS CHRISTMAS\'caPARTY -  7:00PM - Polish Falcons Hall, 445 Columbia Avenue, Depew - Irene  (651-9006)\
* "REQUIEM & REGINA COELI" (Featuring the Toronto  Sinfonietta) - 7:30PM - Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor Street  West, Toronto, Ont. - (416-410-4379)\
Sunday, 12/12\
* POLISH FALCONS NEST 52 CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS  PARTY - 12:00Noon - Rochester - Dan (585-621-3467)\
* KALINA SINGING SOCIETY "WIGILIA" - 1:00PM  - Sheraton Four Point Hotel, 2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga - Ann  Hilliard (835-2660)\
*  POLISH ARTS CLUB OF BUFFALO "WIGILIA" & "OPLATEK" -  1:00PM - The Palms Banquets, 7740 Transit Road, Williamsville  - Dr. Peter Gessner (868-3442)\
* POLKA SUNDAY (Featuring "City Side")  - 6:00PM - Pott's Banquet Hall, 694 South Ogden Street, Buffalo -  (826-6575)\
* "CHRISTMAS IN POLAND" (Featuring  the Chopin Singing Society) - 7:30PM - Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue,  Lancaster - (683-1776)\
Thursday, 12/16\
* POLISH AMERICAN CITIZENS CLUB RETIREES CHRISTMAS  MEETING & DINNER - 2:00PM - PAC Clubrooms, 385 Weaver Street,  Rochester - (585-266-7215)\
Friday, 12/17\
* SS.  PETER & PAUL ATHLETIC CLUB "KOLENDY"  - SS. Peter & Paul Church Hall, 795 Clinton Street, Buffalo - (842-6521)\
Sunday, 12/19\
*  POLISH CHRISTMAS CAROLING (Featuring the Polish Scouts of Rochester)  - after 11:00AM Mass - St. Stanislaus Kostka  Church, Hudson Avenue & Norton Street, Rochester - Gene Golomb  (585-323-2106)\
Friday, 12/31 - SYLWESTER\
* POLKA NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY (Featuring "City  Side") - 7:00PM - Potts Banquet Hall, 694 South Ogden Street, Buffalo  - $49.95/Person - Dan Potts (826-6575)\
*  MSGR. ADAMSKI POLISH SATURDAY SCHOOL NEW YEARS EVE DANCE & DINNER (Featuring Music by "True Colors")  - 7:30PM - Creekside Banquet Facility, 2669 Union Road, Cheektowaga  - Mira Szramel (681-6739)\
* PNA LODGE 512  SYLVESTER PARTY (Featuring "Jantar") - St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish  Hall, Hudson Avenue & Norton  Street, Rochester - $50.00 - Gene Golomb (585-323-2106)\
* KOSCIUSZKO CLUB NEW YEARS EVE PARTY - Kosciuszko  Clubrooms, 252 Nevins Street, Dunkirk - (366-1044)\

WESOLYCH SWIAT BOZEGO NARODZENIA I SZCZESLIWEGO NOWEGO ROKU!!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND READERS!!!


If you have any item that you would like to have included in future installments of this column, please send the information to me by the 6th day of the month preceding the month in which you would like the item to appear (ie. December 6 for the January edition) at: Michael Pietruszka, P.O. Box 223, Niagara Square Station, Buffalo, NY 14201-0223. My e-mail address is: <pietruszka@aol.com>. For more information on what\'d5s going on in the Polonia of the Eastern Great Lakes, including a calendar of upcoming events, an organizational directory and interesting links, visit my website at: <http://members.aol.com/pietruszka/index.html> or <http://polegl.com>.\