A Weekend to Remember

polish girlsIf you ever wanted to pick a time to see the Orchard Lake Schools team in action, mark your calendars for the first weekend in May.  As the Orchard Lake campus hosted rowing teams from across the country (17 to be exact) for the annual OLSM regatta, SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary held graduation ceremonies at the Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake.  While St. Mary’s men rowed to a trophy victory for crowds gathered along Indian Trail, a proud Msgr. Tom conferred degrees on ten Seminarians and lay students after a special mass celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Reiss.  Congrats to the winners and graduates from The Polish Mission!  Despite all that, a few sports games, and even a wedding, the weekend wouldn’t be complete without The Polish Mission’s annual Constitution Day celebration!

The cultural programming for the weekend began on Saturday night this year, when we had the pleasure of hosting our very first theatrical performance!  It was called Radiation, and it presented the story of Marie Skłodowska-Curie.  Offered in commemoration of great Polish scientists (including our two most generous benefactors), actresses Maria Nowotarska and Agata Pilitowska mezmorized a crowd gathered at the lower level of the Adam Cardinal Maida Alumni Library.  The intimate performance was unique since it presented a very personal look at Poland’s most celebrated scientist heroine.  Presented in Polish with English subtitles, all in attendance were invited to be moved by her passionate story.  Members from the French Alliance were in attendance, in addition to special guests from Spain and Poland

After the performance, Msgr. Tom mingled with the eclectic crowd.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the AVI team and Mrs. Halina Malinski (our premier local envoy to Polish culture), all enjoyed luxurious hors d’oeuvre and delectable Polish and French sweets.

After a short rest that evening, it was back to work bright and early the next day, as the long-standing annual Constitution Day celebration began at 11:30, presented in cooperation with the Polish-American Congress (PAC).  Thanks to fantastic weather, revitalized programming by JJ Przewozniak, and the dedication Of Mrs. Ann Bankowski (PAC), this year’s event was the biggest in over five years.  To make a long story short, over 250 people came to the “Old Gym” to witness performers, language recitals, and addresses by community leaders,  It was our pleasure to welcome Polish language schools from across the metro-Detroit area.  The schools had held language competitions through the spring, and we congratulate all the winners, who received their awards on our historic  stage.  This event gave us the opportunity to share important messages:  Keynote speaker Ania Bieciuk, representing Governor Snyder, delivered his personal address to Michigan Polonia.  Most importantly, JJ presented a message from Dr. Ryszard Schnepf, Polish Ambassador to the United States to a supportive crowd.

After the patriotic program, the Old Gym crowd joined the faithful at the Shrine Chapel for Polish mass celebrated by Fr. Madey.  When he raised Fr. Dabrowski’s chalice, and the voices of the Filarets choir filled the chapel with traditional music, the spirit of Poland united all participants.

Special thanks to the following:  Kelley Stramaglia and her husband Tony for being with us every step of the way to make sure everything was perfectly in place throughout the entire weekend; and Alicja Karlic and her Tygodnik Polski (Polish Weekly) team for tirelessly promoting Orchard Lake Schools.

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