Poles Display Pride in Their Faith

by Antonina Zielinska

Bishop Artur Mizinski of Lublin, Poland, preaches at St. Matthias Church, Ridgewood, during the celebration of Polish Heritage Month.

Continuing their month-long celebration of Polish heritage, the priests and faithful of the Polish Apostolate came together at St. Matthias Church, Ridgewood, for their annual Mass with a guest bishop from their homeland.

This year, it was Bishop Artur Mizinski, auxiliary of Lublin, who came to meet the Polish flock residing in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Living in this country, in your second motherland, you cannot forget that you are the children of Poland,” the bishop said during his homily. “Let us not step away from the ideals that strengthened our predecessors.”

Staying true to those ideals is what Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said the Polish Apostolate contributes to the diocese.

“You are important to the Church,” Bishop DiMarzio said after greeting the congregation in Polish. The sons and daughters of Poland exploded with applause when they heard their native tongue on their bishop’s lips.

“You have been faithful to the Church for over 1,000 years,” he said thanking the apostolate. “You are so faithful to the Church that you continue to be faithful, here in this land.”

The dedication to Polish heritage could be clearly seen throughout the church. Young children wore traditional Polish outfits, and older children held flags with Polish saints and heroes.

Father Luke Trocha, pastor of St. Rose of Lima, Parkville, and a native of Poland, said it is faith that helps the Polish community fight against secularism.

“Faith gives us the vehicle through which we can keep our identity,” he said.

Father Witold Mroziewski, director of the apostolate, said personal visits from Polish bishops help American Poles keep their identity.

“It gives them a bridge from where they came to where they are going,” he said.

Bishop Mizinski encouraged the congregation to heed the advice of the late Polish pontiff, Pope John Paul II, to participate in their adoptive diocese to build a stronger church.

“We don’t want to isolate ourselves,” he said. “We want to be part of the church here (in the U.S.) and there (Poland).”

A way in which this can be accomplished, Bishop Mizinski said, is to take the opportunity which Pope Benedict XVI has afforded the Church by celebrating the Year of Faith.

“Today’s celebration is that much more special because it is the Year of Faith,” he told the congregation. “The Year of Faith should strengthen the faith…to bring about authentic conversion.”

The auxiliary from Lublin asked the congregation to better learn their faith so they can help spread it within their communities.

Bishop Mizinski said the vibrancy of the liturgical celebration proves the strength of the Polish faith.

“This day shows the greatness of the Polish heritage,” he said.