|I never lived the neighborhood surrounding St. Casimir’s Church, but my mother did. Although she moved from the family home and the neighborhood in 1963 when pregnant with me, she never left the parish; too much of her heart was there. She made sure my sisters and I grew up knowing all the people, stories and even streets that surrounded it. It was important that we appreciate it as much as she did and that we create our own memories there. And she accomplished her goal. This Saturday February 25 at 4 PM when Bishop George Murray celebrates the last mass at this parish my family and I will be sitting in the pews remembering experiences there with so many others. To read some of the things I will be thinking about and share some of your own thoughts, click HERE|
Since 1906 St. Casimir Church has been a landmark in the historic Brier Hill neighborhood, but after Saturday evening it will be an active parish no longer. It will be the next casualty of the Diocese reconfiguration and consolidation. For a number of years it has been sharing a priest with St. Columba and in the last year officially merged with the Cathedral.
It was founded when Polish American residents of the area requested permission to establish a new parish. The parish grew steadily during the next two decades, prompting construction of the current Spanish Mission-style church completed in 1927. It is known as the “Birthplace for Religious” because so many priests and nuns were raised in the parish. Eye-catching elements inside are the marble altar and colorful, but tasteful mosaics that enhance the sanctuary. St. Casimir, a Polish prince who was a man of peace in a time of war, is among the statues that include the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Ann, St. Joseph and the Infant Jesus of Prague. The Polish community will mourn its loss.
Hope you enjoyed YOUR Ostatki!
Today we are all supposed to start sacrificing and focusing on pious thoughts to mark the Lenten season. After the weekend of Polish activities I enjoyed, I can honestly say I am ready.
On Saturday, February 18, 2012 we gathered at The Youngstown Club for our Ostatki: A Polish Carnival Celebration. Sponsored by Bison Grass and Vesica vodkas, this elegant party gets better every year. But I guess an elegant tour of Poland through samplings of its best vodkas and beers in that classic setting enhanced with delicious food, interactive games and a pączki parade shared with fun people is a winning combination. Speaking of winning, congrats to our first-ever Pączki King Ken Shirilla. We are quite pleased that it is no longer just a thing for the girls—and that he didn’t choke on the peanut that was used to make his a special donut! Before donning his sash, Ken was working as host of our 3rdAnnual Vodka Cocktail Contest. We are grateful to our sponsor Vesica Vodka, created by Adamba Imports (the makers also of Bison Grass Vodka). This year’s contest was really enjoyed by the competitors, judges and interested audience members alike. Although we lost two of our most vicious competitors at the last minute due to illness, the remaining group certainly mixed to win. The esteemed judging team of Natalie Lariccia, Lyndsey Hughes, Jack Kravitz and Matt Thompson had their work cut out for them. The cocktails were judged on four criteria - drink name, presentation, originality and taste with points awarded for each category. When it was said and done, Peterson Park monument leader Lisa Lotze won for the second year in a row with an unusual-sounding but delicious- tasting concoction. Seriously— the Henryk Sienkiewicz-inspired Ogniem i mieczem (With Fire and Sword) was made with red beet juice, ginger ale, port wine and Bison Grass! Ew, right? You should have seen the looks on the judge’s faces when they hear that! But after they tasted it, they were sold! In addition to her prizes, Lisa will be honored for her accomplishment by being appointed a judge in next year's contest since she obviously needs to leave room for other competitors. Hee hee Sto Lat Lisa!
I was one of far too few of you that spent Sunday afternoon in the peaceful beauty of the Butler Institute of American Art. The rest of you really, really missed something. The Polish Arts Club of Youngstown was hosting its 76th Annual Scholarship Art, Music & Tea Reception and it was sincerely lovely. But it has that tradition. Click on the photo above and see the Club’s snazzy founders in action at the Tea in 1955.
This year the Club hosted world-renowned colorist, Julian Stanczak. His talent is visible in the art on the walls at the museum, but when he was interviewed by Dr. Lou Zona, it was his humor, charm and spirit that made the biggest impression. Read more about the whole event HERE
While many you were out enjoying the President’s Day sales, the parents of the Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle were up to their elbows in pączki wrapping up their annual sale. The group was confused by the reduced number of orders last week, but then found out why yesterday. The phone was ringing off the hook with non-computer people who were waiting for an article in the paper or story on the news to tell them how to order. Lesson learned says Fundraising Chair Cynthia Foust. Next year phone orders will be solicited. BONUS: For those watching their calories or who can’t enjoy such a treat for other reasons, the dancers created some charming, pączki candles! Hilariously cute and smelling like a bakery, the little pączek was taken home for $5 each. Interested Call 330-746-8900.
We made the Donuts!
I didn’t get a chance to tell you about our first Polska Kuchnia class, Pączki 101, which took place earlier this month. More than a dozen eager students joined Clevelanders Irene Elbicki and Bernadette Zubel to learn the secrets of making this light, tasty treat at home. We are soo grateful for the work these ladies did that day! Did you know if you add lemon rind for flavor you better add baking soda? I didn’t. There were loads of those tips as well as dozens of pączki made at Sts. Peter and Paul that day. See the photos HERE Plans are underway now for a paska bread baking lesson during Lent. Stay tuned for details!
Your Opinion Needed
Washington, D.C. area resident Jolanta Middleton has prepared a brief online survey of the Polish community for her work. When you are asked about your favorite Polish website, please remember ours, but don't feel obliged. It will take you literally only a minute. Please help her out by going HERE
Congratulations to The Kosciuszko Foundation and President Alex Storozynski on crossing off another major member of the media. The Associated Press has decided to change their Stylebook regarding WWII-era concentration camps. This is a major development because the AP Stylebook is the most widely-used journalistic style guide in the United States. Storozynski says this change and that of the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and Yahoo! Inc., can be attributed to the more than 300,000 people that have signed the Kosciuszko Foundation Petition on German Concentration Camps. Have you signed it yet?
News from Poland
House Shopping in Warsaw
There is lots of talk about the real estate housing market finally improving… even here in the Mahoning Valley. The houses that have been for sale for more than 13 months on my street are actually selling. In Poland, it’s international home buyers that are growing the residential real estate market. Warsaw and the surrounding area has seen the most activity from foreign buyers. According to the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the last six years foreign activity has been extremely high and now accounts for more the 19,000 housing units in country. In practice, that number could be even greater than suggested by official statistics because it does not reflect some of the biggest sources of investment monies. What locations do foreigners choose the most often? What is the nationality of the buyers? Read MORE on this and read other news from Poland at our Polish Media Watch.
February 25 Last mass at St. Casimir, Brier Hill…Feb. 25 Honky Express at Kuzmans…Feb 26 Academy Awards-- Cheer for In Darkenss by renowned director Agnieszka Holland. It is nominated for Best Foreign Film…Feb 29 Gorzkie Zale services begin for Lent at St. Stanislaus…March 1 Polish American Congress bus trip to Presque Isle Downs Casino call 216-662-4360…March 16 Lake Erie Monsters hockey game Call 216-478-0120… March 8 Polish Happy Hour…March 11 Polska Kuchnia cooking class…Do Zobaczenia!
Aundréa and Your PolishYoungstown Team