Polish Heritage Month Mass – 2020

Updated: November 2, 2020

Polish American Congress, Illinois Division
organized a mass to celebrate the

2020 Polish Heritage Month

The Mass was celebrated at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, focus of Chicago’s Polonia religious and civic Life for well over 120 years. The main goals were to honor:

  • First responders fighting COVID 19 virus, and
  • to commemorate 4 very significant events in recent Polish history …
    • 100th anniversary of the birth of Pope St. John Paul II, first Polish-born
      Pope in the history of the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II was, together with Ronald Reagan and “Solidarity” directly responsible for the collapse of Soviet Union
    • 100th anniversary of the “Miracle on Vistula” where Polish Army commanded by Marshall Józef Piłsudski on the outskirts of Warsaw stopped and routed the overwhelming Bolshevik Russian forces advancing on Poland and Western Europe
    • 80th anniversary of Katyń Massacre, where Russian Secret Police, NKVD, murdered over 22,000 Polish officers, doctors, professors and other intellectuals in and around Katyn Forest near Smolensk in Russia, the massacre also marked the start of mass deportations of tens of thousands of Poles to Siberia and it’s gulags
    • 40th anniversary of the birth of “Solidarity” labor movement which marked the start of the collapse of Communist control of not only Poland but also in other Central and East European countries, including Russia.Current trends in re-writing history want us to believe that the fall of Berlin Wall marks the beginning of the fall of Communism in Europe. Because of that, a brief remainder of history is required, especially for those too young to remember. Solidarity Round Table talks with Polish Communist gov. and military (Lech Walesa and Gen. Kiszczak) started Feb. 6th and ended Apr. 5th, 1989, with an agreement to hold free elections on June 4th ,1989 which is considered the start of Democratic form of Government in Poland, full 5 months before the fall of Berlin Wall. The fall of the Wall started with mass protests in East Berlin on Nov 4, 1989, culminating with the start of the tear-down of the wall on Nov 9, 1989. Success of Solidarity in Poland, direct neighbor of Russia, gave courage  to East Germans to confront their Communist oppressors.

Bishop Andrzej Wypych celebrated the mass together with pastor Andrzej Totzke. Numerous officials, presidents and members of various Polish groups and societies, such as Highlanders Assc., Polish Teachers Assc., PRCU, and others were present.

President of Polish American Congress, Illinois Division, Mr. Michael M. Niedzinski introduced the various guests. Prior to the mass, the first speaker was Dr. Willie Wilson, an independent candidate for USA Senate. Dr. Wilson who is a man of deep Christian faith and supports all Christians, did not provide any sort of typical political speech, but took to the podium to announce a gift to PAC IL in the amount of 5,000.00 and to the Holy Trinity Church, in the amount of $50,000.00 for their  exceptional roles in maintaining Polish national and religious identity in Chicago for 76 and over 120 years, respectively.

After the mass Mr. Niedzinski handed out a scholarship to one Northwestern University student, Mark Ogarek, taking Polish studies courses. Afterwards Ms. Malgorzata Bak Guzik, Acting Consul General  reminded everyone about contributions of Polish American Congress. That was  followed  by a rousing speech by Cook County Treasurer Ms. Maria Pappas. Final two guest speakers were Michael Frerichs, Treasurer of the State of Illinois and  Mr. Frank Spula, National Polish American Congress President, who stressed how critical the next Elections are.

Polvision created a great summary of our celebration in the “Nasze Chicago” program.
Please see it here

Photos by Andrzej Baraniak: