Full House for Constitution Day at The Polish Mission!

The Polish Mission Hosts Constitution Day Celebration with Polish-American Congress Colleagues

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In our modern world, with all of its fast-paced dynamism, if people create something that has lasted 225 years, it’s a considerable accomplishment.  This year, as many know marks the 225th anniversary of the Polish Constitution of 1791, originally ratified on May 3rd.  For Poles and Polish people across the globe, Polish Constitution Day is a joyous traditional celebration, where people gather to honor the liberties and freedoms with a happy gathering.

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As Polish-Americans, the sense of pride is heightened by the fact that Poland’s Constitution of 1791 was modeled after the Constitution of the United States of America from 1776.  Scholars do agree that this Polish document was the first European constitution and second in the world (after the U.S.).

8The Polish Mission has long been the host venue for the Polish-American community to commemorate this joyous occasion.  In recent years, we’ve partnered with the Polish-American Congress – Michigan Division (PAC) to welcome a host of people from across metro Detroit to the shores of Orchard Lake to see musical performances, oratorical presentations by youth Polish language schools, and patriotic displays that share detailed historical facts and information.

This year was no exception as the enthusiasm put forth by the Polish Mission team and select hard-working members of the PAC served them well in the week leading up to the big event. Long hours were spent cleaning the Galeria on the Orchard Lake campus, setting up chairs, exhibits, displays and decorating. The finished product was a beautiful room that was warm and inviting despite the cold and rainy weather on May 1! A special thank you to Barbara Lemecha and Ann Bankowski for their planning and invaluable help!2892

It has been the Orchard Lake tradition for many years that the first Sunday of the month a Polish language Mass is celebrated at 1 p.m.  The Filarets Choir volunteered their time and voices to sing during the mass and their accompanying music made this solemn celebration even more beautiful.  The Polish Scouting Organization was also represented at mass with the presentation of the flags and procession at the beginning of mass.

Immediately following mass, the community gathered in the Galeria for refreshments and settled themselves down for the hour long program.  Every single seat was filled and there was standing-room only in the Galeria!  A diverse crowd, young and old, spoke Polish and English to each other and the chatter in the room showed a great joy to be visiting with friends.

2907The event was opened by Ann Bankowski, President of PAC-Michigan Division, welcoming everyone and giving a brief background on the event history in Poland and the US.  Outlining the performers and presenters scheduled, she called up the Polonaise Chorale for the singing of the US and Poland national anthems.  As everyone stood, it was wonderful to hear both songs being sung with pride and love.

After remarks and the anthems, a representative from Michigan Senator Mike Kowall’s office shared a few thoughts on the importance of Polish Constitution Day and presented an official proclamation to JJ Przewozniak of The Polish Mission that recognized May 3, 2016 as the 225th anniversary of the Polish Constitution. State-wide recognition of the occasion we hold so near and dear to our hearts was fulfilling and exciting! Since May 1, news of this proclamation has been shared by many organizations in Polonia and by some of our Polish Embassies in the United States.

Recitations by two local Polish Language Schools, our own J. Dabrowski school, and the General Pulaski Polish School, followed the proclamation presentation. The students took turns speaking about the history of the 1791 Constitution.  Special kudos to our Polish Mission J. Dabrowski Polish Language School for the excellent memorization skills.

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There were also performances from two musical groups at this special event: The Polonaise Chorale and Polskie Nadzieje from Windsor, Ont.!  They all sang patriotic songs that the entire crowd was able to join in and sing. The Galeria was filled with resounding choruses of our favorite Polish songs!

In closing of this wonderful event, JJ Przewozniak, Curator of Collections, stepped up to the podium and thanked all the guests for joining in the festivities. He explained that the celebration was held in the Galeria, as opposed to the Old Gym, because the Polish Mission Galeria Project is slotted to move forward very soon and this Trzeci Maj celebration would be the last in the old Galeria building!  The room erupted in cheers for many of the Polish Mission friends and supporters have been anticipating this project for years.

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The Polish Mission wishes to thank all the attendees of our Constitution Day celebration for their participation, the schools and singing groups that performed during the program, the Michigan Senate members, and especially our friends at the Polish American Congress – Michigan Division.

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