On Saturday, March 29, The Polish-American Polish American Community of Toledo (PACT) offered a Pierogi making class. A dozen people showed up to learn the process. It started with PACT showing all the steps and cooking a few, and a taste-test. Then participants were off to try it on their own — with a little PACT supervision and guidance. The event was held in the galley at The Maritime Academy of Toledo. PACT thanks The Maritime Academy of Toledo and their Chef, David Naperala (who is also Polish) for use of their facilities. Here are some pictures and the PACT recipe. Enjoy.
This year PACT is organizing a trip to Hamtramck, Michigan; once a stronghold of Polish immigrants and Polish culture. Hamtramck was originally settled by German farmers, but Polish immigrants flooded into the area when the Dodge Brothers plant opened in 1914. Poles still make up a large proportion of the population. It is sometimes confused with Poletown, a traditional Polish neighborhood, which lies mostly in the city of Detroit and includes a small part of Hamtramck. As of the 2000 census, over 22% of Hamtramck’s population is of Polish origin; in 1970, it was 90% Polish. ST. Florian Church was the center of Polish culture and Polish events. It is named in honor of Florjan (Florian) patron of Poland and Upper Austria; his feast day is May 4. Today, you can still find authentic Polish grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants and an art center. Our tour will include a tour of St. Florian Church, the Polish Art Center, lunch at a Polish restaurant and time to shop at the Polish bakery and grocery store. If you have questions about this trip, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to sign up for this trip is May 1st, so reserve your seat on the bus early. The price of the trip is $40 per person. This price will include the bus trip to and from Hamtramck, a tour guide at St. Florian Polish Church, and lunch at the Polonia Restaurant. Lunch consists of soup, salad, pierogi, kielbasa and potato pancakes. We will also visit the Polish Art Center for a talk on Polish pottery and a shopping at the New Palace bakery and Srodek’s grocery store. There will free time to shop and browse.
Please send your check to PACT, P.O. Box 1033, Sylvania, Ohio, 43560 by the first of May. Also include the name and phone number of all that are going.
Don’t let the bus leave without you. Join us for a day in Hamtramck!
Friday March 7th from 4-8pm Toledo’s very own traditional Polish folk song and dance ensemble “Echoes of Poland” will offer their popular Lenten Pierogi dinner: (4 pierogi–cheese, potato, sauerkraut or mixed, and a vegetable for $8 for an Adult (25 cents extra to go, call 419-531-8658). This will be at the PRCUA Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Hall at 5255 North Detroit .
Saturday March 15th will be the third Saturday of the month, so it will be the next monthly meeting of our very friendly Toledo Polish Genealogical Society, held at 420 Sandusky Street (Saint Michael’s School in “Point Place”), between Suder and 280. Everyone (any ancestry!) welcome!
Sunday March 16 afternoon will be the annual general membership meeting of the Toledo Poznan Alliance at LourdesUniversityFranciscanCenter –ANYONE interested is welcome!
Thursday March 20th the independent Resurrection Polish National Catholic Church at 1835 West Temperance Road between Jackman and Douglas will offer another of their “Taste of Poland” dinners from 5-7pm (always very good food, often running out early) as either Dine-In or Carry-Out for just $10. The menu this time is listed as: “Baked pork chop, kielbasa, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet and sour cabbage, vegetable, dessert and beverage.”
The Polish American Community of Toledo is happy to announce that along with the Toledo Poznan Alliance, we will be awarding four $1,000.00 scholarships to High School/College students based on academics, extra-curricular activities and an essay submitted about “What Having a Polish-American Heritage Means To Me”.
To apply for one of these scholarships, download the scholarship application located on the right. It can be sent to PACT, P.O. Box 1033, Sylvania, OH 43560. The deadline for receiving applications is May 31, 2014.
Anyone can apply for these scholarships, so if you have a family members, or know of someone who would benefit from this, please forward this information on to them.
Email us at email@example.com with your questions.
PHOTO: Last year’s scholarship winners, Kassidy Regent, Joseph DuPuis and Emily Howland (winner of the Martin A. Blaszczyk Memorial Scholarship) with Stan Machosky, President of PACT Board of Directors and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.
Here is a list of events that PACT will offer for the 2014 year. More information about each event will be provided prior to the event.
Pierogi Making Circle (March 29, 2014): Workshop for individuals interested in making pierogi from scratch, led by local talent.
Trip to Hamtramck (May): A day trip to Hamtramck, Michigan to visit St. Florian Church, Polish Art Center, Polish bakery and grocery store and have lunch at one of Hamtramck’s Polish restaurants.
Polish Night at Comerica Park (June 13): Watch the Detroit Tigers against Minnesota at Comerica Park in Detroit. Transportation will be provided to take you to the park to enjoy Polish Night at the ballpark. Get a t-shirt and food voucher with your ticket.
2014 PACT Scholarship: (June 30) Toledo Poznan Alliance will once again team up with PACT to award three scholarships to High School/College students based on academics, extra-curricular activities and an essay submitted about “What Having a Polish-American Heritage Means To Me”.
Thank you to all of the members who renewed their membership and completed the events survey. The top three events that received the most votes were the trip to Hamtramck with a visit to St. Florian church, the Polish art center, lunch at one of the Polish restaurants, and a stop at the Polish grocery store and bakery, the pierogi making circle, and a Polish pre-lenten celebration. We are now putting together our 2014 calendar of events and will post it here once it is complete. PACT is always trying to offer new Polish experiences to its members along with some of our regular popular events such as the Kielbasa Cook Off, Wigilia Celebration and the Kielbasa Klassic Golf Tournament. We always appreciate your feedback and invite you to make suggestions and comments by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PACT by-laws require that an annual membership meeting be held in January each year and that members in good standing be notified of the time, place and agenda. This year, the membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in the Evergreen Room of the Rosary Care Center in Sylvania, Ohio (adjacent to Lourdes University Campus). The meeting will begin at 7:00 P.M.
The agenda of this meeting will be the election of members (9) to the PACT Board of Directors for one year term of office.
If you would like to be considered for a PACT Board of Directors position, please convey your interest to Stan Machosky by January 13, 2014 by calling (419) 882-6625 or sending an email message to email@example.com.
Jak będzie Wigilia, tak będzie caly rok.
– “As is wigilia, so is the entire year,” a Polish proverb
Get the new year off to a good start by sharing the Wigilia celebration with us!
The Polish American Community of Toledo presents the 4th annual Wigilia Celebration. It will be held on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:30 P.M. at the Olivet Lutheran Church, Christian Life Center. It is located at 5840 Monroe St. in Sylvania, Ohio.
PRICE: PACT members: $15.00, non-members: $20.00, children 12 and under: $10.00
The Epiphany or Feast of the Three Kings – Trzech Kroli
The Meaning of Oplatki (Christmas Wafers)
Rosemary Chorzempa sure knows her Polish traditions. Luckily she was kind enough to share her knowledge with an audience of eager learners on Tuesday, April 19th, at Ski’s Restaurant in Sylvania. Those who came to hear Mrs. Chorzempa explain some of the Polish traditions of Easter now know how to make a lamb out of butter for Easter dinner. They also know what type of steps go into making decorative Easter eggs (pisanki). Not only do you need to use beeswax and a tool called a kistka, you have to dye your egg with the lightest colors first to the darkest colors. If you don’t, your egg will definitely not come out how you would like it to. While explaining the folk art of pisanki, Mrs. Chorzempa encouraged everyone to gather around her table to get a better look as she demonstrated how to decorate one. She made it look very easy since she has been doing pisanki for many years. She also brought in a woven palm like many of our grandmothers use to make with the palms from Palm Sunday. Unfortunately it is becoming a lost art since parishes now only pass out one frond of palm instead of the four that you need to weave them into works of art.
If anyone would like to attend a pisanki workshop in May given by Mrs. Chorzempa, or for more information on the workshop, please call Ski’s at 419-882-1199. She will be teaching a pisanki workshop on May 10th and 11th at Ski’s Restaurant.
Polish Easter Basket
Maslo (Butter) – This dairy product is often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny) or a cross. This reminds us of the good will of Christ that we should have towards all things.
Babka (Easter Bread) – A round or long loaf topped with a cross or a fish, symbolic of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.
Chrzan (Horseradish) – Symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in our minds.
Jajka (Eggs) and Pisanki (decorated with symbols of Easter, of life, of prosperity) – Indicates new life and Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb.
Kielbasa (Sausage) – A sausage product, symbolic of God’s favor and generosity.
Szynka (Ham) – Symbolic of great joy and abundance. Some prefer lamb or veal. The lamb also reminds Christians that the Risen Christ is the “Lamb of God.”
Slonina (Smoked Bacon) – A symbol of the overabundance of God’s mercy and generosity.
Sol (Salt) – A necessary element in our physical life. Symbolic of prosperity and justice and to remind us that people are the flavor of the earth.
Ser (Cheese) – Symbolic of the moderation Christians should have at all times.
Candle – Represents Christ as the Light of the World.
Colorful Ribbons and Sprigs of Greenery – are attached to the basket as signs of joy and new life in the season of spring and in celebration of the Resurrection.
Linen Cover – drawn over the top of the basket which is ready for the priest’s visit to the home or the trip to church where it is joined with the baskets of others to await the blessing. The food is then set aside and enjoyed on Easter Sunday
The blessing of the Easter food, or the “Swieconka” is a tradition dear to the heart of every Pole. Being deeply religious, he is grateful to God for all His gifts of both nature and grace, and, as a token of this gratitude, has the food of his table sanctified with the hope that spring, the season of the Resurrection, will also be blessed by God’s goodness and mercy.
Traditions vary from village to village and family to family. They have changed and evolved with each passing generation. Traditionally the food is brought to the church in a basket, often decorated with a colourful ribbon and sometimes sprigs of greenery are attached, with a linen cover drawn over the top (hence “The Traditional Polish Easter Basket”) and blessed by the parish priest on Holy Saturday morning. The food can also be blessed in the home. After the blessing, the food is usually set aside until Easter morning when the head of the house shares the blessed egg, symbol of life, with his family and friends. Having exchanged wishes, all continue to enjoy a hearty meal.
The foods traditionally blessed for Easter can be reduced to three categories:
Easter bread and cakes of all kinds – particularly babka
Meat products, like ham, stuffed veal, suckling pig or lamb, sausage, bacon, etc.;
Dairy products, like butter, cheese (“hrudka” cheese cake), eggs – some shelled, some decorated (“pisanki”); etc.
The blessing of Easter food is one of our most beautiful and most meaningful customs with which our devoted ancestors have enriched us. This centuries old custom is indeed richly symbolic and has a deep liturgical and spiritual meaning. It is one in which the whole family can participate and help prepare. Let us preserve these customs so that they may endure for many generations to come.
All of us can enjoy this beautiful Polish custom by participating at the blessing of the Easter food “Swieconka” at the Polish church nearest you. This is an excellent way to teach the younger members of your family about this treasured Polish tradition. Remember, it is up to us to teach our customs to our children.
The origin of this miraculous image in Czestochowa, Poland is unknown for absolute certainty, but according to tradition the painting was a portrait of Our Lady done by St. John sometime after the Crucifixion of Our Lord and remained in the Holy Land until discovered by St. Helena of the Cross in the fourth century. The painting was taken to Constaninople, where St. Helena’s son, the Emperor Constantine, erected a church for its enthronement. This image was revered by the people of the city.
During the siege by the Saracens, the invaders became frightened when the people carried the picture in a procession around the city; the infidels fled. Later, the image was threatened with burning by an evil emperor, who had a wife, Irene, who saved it and hid it from harm. The image was in that city for 500 years, until it became part of some dowries, eventually being taken to Russia to a region that later became Poland.
After the portrait became the possession of the Polish prince, St. Ladislaus in the 15th century, it was installed in his castle. Tartar invaders besieged the castle and an enemy arrow pierced Our Lady’s image, inflicting a scar. Interestingly, repeated attempts to fix the image, artistically have all failed.
Tradition says that St. Ladislaus determined to save the image from repeated invasions, so he went to his birthplace, Opala, stopping for rest in Czestochowa; the image was brought nearby to Jasna Gora ["bright hill"] and placed in a small wooden church named for the Assumption. The following morning, after the picture was carefully placed in the wagon, the horses refused to move. St. Ladislaus understood this to be a sign from Heaven that the image should stay in Czestochowa; thus he replaced the painting in the Church of the Assumption, August 26, 1382, a day still observed as the Feast Day of the painting. The Saint wished to have the holiest of men guard the painting, so he assigned the church and the monastery to the Pauline Fathers, who have devoutly protected the image for the last six hundred years.
Having survived two attacks upon it, Our Lady’s image was next imperiled by the Hussites, followers of the heretic priest, John Hus from Prague. The Hussites did not accept papal authority as coming from Christ and taught that mortal sin deprived an office holder of his position, among other heresies. Hus had been influenced by John Wyclif and became infected with his errors. Hus was tried and condemned at Constance in 1415. The Hussites successfully stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the image. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites went a little ways but then the horses refused to go any further. Recalling the former incident that was so similar, the heretics threw the portrait down to the ground, which shattered the image into three pieces. One of the plunderers drew his sword and slashed the image twice, causing two deep gashes; while attempting a third gash, he was overcome with a writhing agony and died.
The two slashes on the cheek of the Blessed Virgin, together with the one on the throat, not readily visible in our copy, have always reappeared after artistic attempts to fix them. The portrait again faced danger in 1655 by a Swedish horde of 12,000, which confronted the 300 men guarding the image. The band of 300 routed the 12,000 and the following year, the Holy Virgin was acclaimed Queen of Poland.
In September 14, 1920, when the Russian army assembled at the River Vistula, in preparation for invading Warsaw, the Polish people prayed to Our Lady. the next day was the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Russians quickly withdrew after the image appeared in the clouds over Warsaw. In Polish history, this is known as the Miracle of Vistula.
During the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II, Hitler order all religious pilgrimages stopped. In a demonstration of love for Our Lady and their confidence in her protection, a half million Poles went to the sanctuary in defiance of Hitler’s orders. Following the liberation of Poland in 1945, a million and a half people expressed their gratitude to the Madonna by praying before this miraculous image.
Twenty-eight years after the Russian’s first attempt at capturing the city, they successfully took control of Warsaw and the entire nation in 1948. That year more than 800,000 brave Poles made a pilgrimage to the sanctuary at Czestochowa on the Feast of the Assumption, one of the three Feast days of the image; the pilgrims had to pass by the Communist soldiers who patrolled the streets.
Today, the Polish people continue to honor their beloved portrait of the Madonna and Child, especially on August 26, the day reserved by St. Ladislaus. Because of the dark pigment on Our Lady’s face and hands, the image is affectionately called the “Black Madonna,” most beautifully prefigured in the Bible, in the Canticle of Canticles, “I am black but beautiful.” The pigmentation is ascribed primarily to age and the need to keep it hidden for long periods of time in places where the only light was from candles, which colored the painting with smoke.
The miracles attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa are many and most spectacular. The original accounts of them, some of them cures, are archived by the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora.
Papal recognition of the miraculous image was made by Pope Clement XI in 1717. The crown given to the image was used in the first official coronation of the painting, which was stolen in 1909.
No discussion of Easter is complete without a mention of its much-anticipated precursor — Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It’s the last chance to party hearty before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.
In the old days, meat and meat byproducts, like butter and eggs, couldn’t be eaten during Lent. So ingenious cooks used up all their dairy and eggs during Fat Week, from Shrove Thursday to Shrove Tuesday, by making pączki(POHNCH-kee) in Poland.
This year, the Kielbasa Cook Off will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014. It will be held at St. Clements Parish, 3030 Tremainsville Road in Toledo Ohio. We are excited about this year’s cook off and want to get the word out early so potential contestants can register in plenty of time. If you have questions, or would like to be a contestant in this year’s cook off, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jack Sparagowski at 419-356-1811.
Contestant’s Information Sheet
1. The Kielbasa Cook-Off is being held to determine who makes the “Best” home-made kielbasa in the Toledo area.
2. The Cook-Off will be held at the St. Clements Parish, 3030 Tremainsville Road, Toledo, Ohio.
3. The date for the Cook-Off is Saturday, October 4, 2014, and will run from 1 to 6 PM.
4. Contestants should plan to be at the hall no later than noon and should be prepared to start serving by 1 PM. Contestants are expected to stay until the event closes at 7 PM.
5. The public will be invited to attend and will taste test the contestants’ kielbasa. Ballots will be provided to each person who will be asked to vote for the kielbasa they liked best.
6. The winner, as selected by the collected ballots, will receive $300 in cash, a trophy and recognition as having Toledo’s best home-made kielbasa. The runner-up will receive $150 in cash and 3rd place winner will receive $100.
7. Promotion for the event will be conducted in local newspapers, radio and television.
8. Contestants should bring a minimum of 40 lbs. of fully cooked and ready to eat kielbasa. The kielbasa should be sliced into pieces that are 1 inch in length.
9. Contestants should have a fully functional roaster or pans that are set on wire racks with sternos. In either case, the kielbasa must be maintained at the minimum serving temperature of 160 degrees.
10. No commercial contestants will be permitted. The contestants do not pay any registration or entry fees. However, a check for $50 paid to PACT will be collected before the Cook-Off and returned after the cook-off is finished. In the event that the contestant does not show up, the check will be forfeited to PACT.
11. Beer, pop, coffee cake, sweet & sour cabbage and other foods and condiments will be provided by PACT, the event sponsor.
12. A meeting will take place 2 weeks prior to the Cook-Off where contestants can ask questions and all information will be supplied at that time. All contestants will be notified about the meeting.