For the past 40 years, Corpus Christi Church had celebrated their Dożynki Harvest Festival with a special Polish-English Mass, cultural traditions including the procession of the thanksgiving gifts of harvest bread, beautiful flower and wheat creations, Polish costumes, Polish and American colors as well as those of a fall harvest, great homemade food, desserts, pierogi contests, Polish-American drink, dancing, theme baskets raffles, t-shirts, and so much more. We were so grateful to come together to celebrate our blessings with each other.
This year was different! There was no big social celebration. Rather, it was a humble gathering of people coming together on Sunday, September 20, 202020 for the 9:30 am Mass to celebrate what is most important. We are blessed! We are coming together to stay strong amidst the anxiety we still feel regarding the pandemic, civil unrest, upcoming elections, wildfires, missed vacations, disrupted school and work schedules, and so much more.
However, we have been given opportunities to shop and buy food and enjoy the bountiful harvest of the summer-fall seasons. Some of us have continued to be employed, and others received benefits. Medically, we wear masks to protect each other and use sanitizer like never before. Yes, even the technology has become a closer friend, (perhaps more than we would like). We have been able to participate in church services like never before; watching online or TV/radio. This time of harvest has been different for each of us. Perhaps it has been a time of reflection, where we were able to spend time in quiet prayer, or maybe we discovered how important it is to take care of ourself more spiritually, physically, or mentally. This awareness may have enabled us to become more aware of our children and their needs as well as the sick and elderly. Even through loss and sadness, our faith is seeing us through.
So, as the church was cleaned and decorated with pride, we knew coming together is what our faith is all about. We are most thankful for our Pastor Fr. Michał Czyżewski and Fr. Jan Kolmaga-Vicar, and the 15 years the Pauline Fathers have committed to serve our church. Our 41st Dozynki Mass welcomed our new organist, Mason Cancilla and his accompaniment-eager to play and share their talents with the congregation. We thanked the Lord for the near completion of the waterproofing and abatement work in the basement of the church and to President Lucy Ederer and Friends of Corpus Christi Preservation Group. The work will strengthen the church foundation for years to come. We are thankful for the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Rosary for who served the WNY community for over 100 years, blessed us with beautiful statues which adorn our church and monastery garden and to Henry Swiatek for helping to bring the statues to their new home. We are thankful for the new parishioners and families with children who have been attending mass and bring a new youthful spirit to the church. Following mass we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet which inspires us to continue our prayers for others in need of mercy. We ended our celebration with a theme basket raffle lead by Diane Kusek.
The goal of our Harvest Festivals have always been to raise funds to pay for the $27,000 insurance policy on our 5 buildings. Although this will be a challenge for this year, we know that with God’s help, all things are possible. Our Lord expects US TO DEMONSTRATE A THANKFUL HEART AND BE HUMBLE AND EXPECT GREAT THINGS.
Beverly A. Sikora, member of Corpus Christi Church Buffalo N.Y.
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