Polonia vs. Homeland’s matters
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Polonia should be cared for. The example of that is the American Polonia, especially the Polish immigrants in Chicago, practically from the beginning being under the care of the Polish Church, which has maintained faith, culture and Polish traditions. Those people do care for their Homeland. We saw how many of them participated in the presidential elections.
The Polish immigrants living in Chicago are very much interested what is going on in Poland. They love their homeland. They think and speak Polish. Most of them go to church. In the interview with Fr Michal Osuch, the parish priest of St Jack’s basilica (published in ‘Niedziela’, issue 26, pp. 14-15), we can read that 8,000 Poles attend Saturday and Sunday Masses. Please show me one church in Poland where Sunday attendance is 8,000. In Chicago there are over 50 churches where Masses are celebrated in Polish. In America and in other places in the world where Polish immigrants live Polish schools are run by churches. Children are taught Polish. There are discussions about Poland; there are bookstores in which ‘Niedziela’ can also be bought.
At the moment Anna Przewoznik from ‘Niedziela’ is living in Chicago and she will inform us about the life of the Polish immigrants there. When I was in America I experienced very much the patriotism and the Polish spirit of the Polish immigrants. Poland is everything to them. I also had the occasion to meet the late Edward Moskal, the President of Polish American Congress, who made me aware of many important problems. I also think that patriotism is developing abroad. Perhaps those who left Poland did not think that they would long for their homeland, Polish landscape, church, bread, shops. Many Polish immigrants are moved when they speak about Poland; they experience deeply various patriotic celebrations or other events connected with Polish traditions. I also participated in such meetings in London and I know that they were really great events for the Polish community, that those people really are interested in Poland and Polishness.
The Polish immigration in America, I want to write about, has been connected with the Church firmly. Even whole parishes with parish priests went to America to find their living there. The Polish immigrants needed the Church as they needed bread and they built churches wherever they settled. Nowadays we have a new wave of immigration that may think somewhat differently than the old one... The current of life has been different, too – it is rapid. Certainly, people have changed. Nevertheless, pastoral care provided by Polish priests is desirable. Other countries will not surely care for us. The American or the English Church will keep an eye on the American way of life, including the church life. Many a time Polish priests encounter difficulties when they want to cultivate Polish customs. We can help Poles be Polish, help them live so that they can have reference to their Homeland.
I mean the Polish Chart since Polish immigrants should know that they have their Homeland that will help them when they need her. The Polish embassies and consulates, which are responsible for providing care for Polish citizens, play important roles. Responsibility is mutual. Those who leave Poland must know that they represent their Homeland, that they have Polish documents that recommend them.
Poles of flesh and blood are obliged to remember their country of origin like they remember their fathers and mothers, their families. It is important to feel in Polish and make life choices in this spirit as well as to explain others – sometimes ignorant – the essence of what Poles are and to care for the transmission of true history.
As we are not indifferent to what happens with our dearest we cannot be indifferent towards our Homeland.