Dziennik Chicagoski -- August 22, 1894Polish Roman Catholic Union Holds Twenty-First Convention at Cleveland (Summary)
The convention opened on Tuesday, August 21, 1894. Delegates came from all over the country. Many congratulatory telegrams were received. Clement Bielinski of Chicago was chairman of the convention, and Szczesny Zahajkiewicz was secretary.
"Warszawa" [Warsaw], a Polish settlement in Cleveland, has been full of life since last Sunday. The railroad trains are bringing delegates from every part of the country, and the very hospitable and hearty Clevelanders are trying to outdo one another in entertaining the guests with the old-time Polish cordiality.
The streets in "Warszawa," especially in the vicinity of the magnificent 2St. Stanislaus Church, are beautifully decorated with American and Polish colors, garlands, and triumphal arches. Foreman and Tod Streets are especially beautiful.
Some of the triumphal arches bear the following greetings:
Brothers, Welcome to the Convention of the Polish Roman Catholic Union in in America!
Long Live the Polish Roman Catholic Union in America!
Long Live the Delegates to the Convention!
God Bless Our Work!3
Monday was devoted to inspecting the city, especially the parts inhabited by the Poles. More delegates arrived on Tuesday, but the delegates did not begin to gather till 2 P.M. at the parish hall. This large hall is beautifully decorated with American and Polish flags and with emblems. Over the platform is the inscription:
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
On the opposite side there is another inscription which reads:
"Bless our work, O Lord."
At 2 P.M. the clergy and the president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union appeared on the platform, and the delegates occupied their respective places.4
From Chicago the following clergymen were present: the Reverend Fathers Francis Lange, Stanislaus Nawrocki, Ladislaus Grabowski, J. Kasprzycki, Eugene Sedlaczek, and V. Borzynski.
At 2:20 P.M. the Reverend Father Gutowski, spiritual adviser of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, delivered a short but inspirational address, in which he asked the delegates to repeat a prayer after him, which they did, upon their knees. Then Joseph Kromka, president of the organization, opened the twenty-first convention of the Polish Roman Catholic Union in America with a patriotic address. He announced that the Union had added seventeen [new] societies in the last year; the statement was received with great applause. This, of course, means that the Union has gained in membership. President Kromka appointed a credentials committee, and the session was adjourned for half an hour. After it had reopened, the secretary read the names of the delegates, and the tally showed that there were 76 delegates, who held 121 votes.5
Chicago was represented by the following societies: St. Joseph Society of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, delegate Hubert Abraham, three votes; Holy Trinity Society of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, delegates John Kortas, two votes, and Francis Wleklinski, Albert Jendrzejek, Joseph Lieske, and Szczesny Zahajkiewicz, [one vote each]; St. Joseph Society Number One, delegate Francis Fuhl, two votes; St. Joseph Society Number Two, delegate John Jazzembowski, two votes; S. S. Cyril and Methodius Society, delegate Isadore Komorowski; Holy Name Society, delegate Clement J. Bielinski, two votes; St. Adalbert Society, delegate Joseph Smorowski, three votes; Polish Priests' Association, delegates the Reverend Fathers Francis Lange and Stanislaus Nawrocki; St. Mary's of Perpetual Help Society, delegate John Kulaszewski; St. Isadore Society, delegate Stanislaus Kalemba; Number One, St. Adalbert Society, delegate Francis Wleklinski; St. Stanislaus Kostka Society, delegates Mathia Derengowski and John Arkuszewski, five votes; St. Casimir Society, delegate B. Straszynski; St. Mary of the Scapular Society, delegate B. Straszynski; Sacred Heart of Jesus Society of the Town of Lake, delegate B. Straszynski; St. Cecilia Society, delegates John Czekala and John Kondziorski, three votes; Holy Name of Mary Society, delegate 6Thomas Krolik, six votes; St. John Cantius Society, delegate Julian Okon, two votes; St. Adalbert Society of St. Mary of Perpetual Help parish, delegate Vincent Mroczynski, two votes; St. Francis Xavier Society, delegates Thaddeus Klein and the Reverend Francis Lange, two votes; Holy Family Society, delegate John Manna; Sacred Heart of the Sorrowful Mother Society, delegate John Manna; Sacred Heart of Jesus Society Number One, delegates the Reverend Vincent Barzynski and John Gniot, three votes; King Sobieski Society, delegate Ignatius Lanski; St. Stanislaus the Bishop Society, delegate Boleslaus Klarkowski; St. John the Baptist Society, delegate Anthony Polec; and S.S. Peter and Paul Society, delegate Francis Wleklinski.
The other fifty-two delegates were from other localities. [Translator's Note: There were all together seventy-nine delegates.]
After confirming the delegates the assembly proceeded to choose the chairman of the Convention. On a motion made by W. Jedrzejek, Clement Bielinski of 7Chicago, was unanimously elected chairman.
The assembly greeted Bielinski with thunderous applause, after which he thanked the delegates in eloquent words for the honor bestowed upon him and promised that he would conduct the convention according to the rules prescribed by the constitution. Subsequently President Kromka tendered his resignation to the convention, and the assembly thanked him for his services by rising.
Then the chairman appointed Szczesny Zahajkiewicz of Chicago secretary of the convention.
The chairman appointed the records committee, of which two members, Messrs. Kondzorski and Polenz, were Chicagoans.
The chairman then announced that there would be a mass meeting at 8 P.M. and proceeded to appoint a program committee. Two members of this committee, the 8Reverend F. Lange and Boleslaus Klarkowski, are Chicagoans. The last event was the reading of congratulatory telegrams by the chairman, and the session was adjourned to the next day.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Aug. 23, 1894.
So many people came to the mass meeting announced for Tuesday night that the hall was not big enough [to accomodate them]. The Reverend Father Rosinski, pastor of St. Stanislaus' Church greeted the delegates and introduced the Reverend Vincent Barzynski of Chicago as the first speaker.
Father Barzynski was received with prolonged applause. He greeted the clergy and the gathering and began his sorrowful speech with the words of St. Paul the Apostle, "Even if an Angel from Heaven should announce to you a gospel different from that which I preach, you ought not to believe it."9
The speaker began his speech with a very elaborate and argumentative assertion that truth is eternal, unchangeable, and infallible, and that therefore it cannot be improved. God cannot be improved, [said he]. We did not come here for the purpose or preaching a new gospel, a new philosophy. And this eternal and unchangeable truth is preserved by the Holy Church--this truth is interpreted by the authorized teachers of the Church; for this purpose we have bishops. We did not come here especially to interpret it, but we come here for the purpose of comforting ourselves and confirming ourselves, that we may not be tempted. For we all are exposed to temptations, and even angels were not free from them, since some of them fell. Lucifer, an archangel, fell and became Satan, angel of darkness.
The speaker emphasized that during his thirty years of priesthood he had never spoken on a sadder subject, for he was obliged to speak about a fall--the fall of a priest.
Nevertheless [he went on], we did not come here to condemn any one. Every sinner 10rises from his fall. God can forgive every one, even that priest. We came here that we may avoid falling.
"I do not speak." [said Father Barszynski] "to the delegates but to the people, among whom there may be some who waver. Even those who are strong may yield to temptation, and if I could save only a few souls from falling, my merits before God would be great. I do not boast that I am able to do this, but the One Who commands us to love another will help me to do it."
The speaker further said that those who are still friendly and sympathetic toward this unfortunate fallen priest [Father Kolaszewski] may show him their Christian love by telling him that he is wrong, that they can not follow him, and that they will pray to the merciful God for his conversion, saying:
"We are telling this to you without malice, with sad hearts, that you may not later on have the right to say:11
'"I am innocent; I did not know it; there is the Polish Roman Catholic Union, and there are the Polish clergy, but no one told me about it; no one enlightened me."'
Then the speaker described very exhaustively how these apostates and impostors work. He described a person who has the habit of changing his faith--how he became an archbishop, and how he makes priests out of men who are not prepared, who probably do not know even the catechism. He explained the importance and the sacredness of the office of the priesthood. He elucidated the difference between the function of a priest and that of a layman. He explained that no priest nor even bishop has the right to perform any function without the authorization from Rome of the successor of St. Peter.
He also explained the so-called "Polish National Church"--what part it plays in Germany and in Russia. He stated that other nationalities are more faithful to the Church in this country and conjured the Poles not to stain Polish honor by 12publicity in the newspapers. He said that Father Kolaszewski has lost the right to be the pastor of his parish.
The audience listened with great attention and applauded him, for he spoke eloquently.
The next speaker was Peter Kiolbassa. He spoke on sorrowful themes, including that of the"Polish Independent Church".
It was getting late; therefore Father Rosinski announced that there would be only one more speech, and he introduced the Reverend Stephen Szymanowski as the next speaker. Father Szymanowski said that he wished to speak about a pleasanter subject than the schism, but that this was impossible because he was in Cleveland, where the Poles were afflicted with this misfortune. The speaker proved by historical references that the Polish people have always been faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. It was after 10 P.M. when he ended his speech, and the session was adjourned.13
The session was resumed on Wednesday, August 22. According to the announcement made by the Reverend Father Rosinski the delegates representing the societies of the Polish Roman Catholic Union in America and the members of the societies of Cleveland which belong to the organization gathered at the churchyard at eight o'clock in the morning. They formed in lines and began to march through the streets adjoining St. Stanislaus' Church.
The procession was headed by a mounted marshal, Jacob Kowalski, who was followed by a Polish band. Right behind the band marched the Knights, dressed in beautiful uniforms. The Knights were followed by the delegates, and after the delegates marched the church societies belonging to the Polish Roman Catholic Union. The procession went to meet the Right Reverend Bishop Horstmann and escorted him to the church, at which a solemn service was held for the delegates at 9:30 A.M.
The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by the Reverend P. Gutowski, spiritual adviser of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, and he was assisted by the Reverend Father 14Motulewski as deacon and the Reverend Father Czerwony as subdeacon. The Bishop was assisted by the Reverend Father Nawrocki and the Reverend Father Matkowski. The Bishop delivered a beautiful sermon. His Excellency was also present at the afternoon session, where he delivered a very interesting speech.
There was another mass meeting in the evening.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Aug. 24, 1894.
The afternoon session was opened on Wednesday at 1:50 P.M. The prayer was offered by the Reverend Eugene Sedlaczek, after which the secretary read the names of the delegates. A few minutes later Bishop Horstmann entered the hall. He was escorted by the clergy. The audience greeted him by rising.
The Reverend Father Raszkiewicz addressed the audience in Polish, pointing to a badge on the Bishop's breast which indicated that he was an honorary member 15of the Polish Roman Catholic Union. On a motion made by the Reverend Father Raszkiewicz the audience cheered the Bishop by shouting three times, "Long live the Bishop!" Then Clement Bielinski, chairman of the convention, greeted the Bishop in English, assuring him of Polish loyalty to the Church.
Subsequently the Bishop began to speak by stating that he saw an inscription over the church door, and he asked for its meaning. He was told that it is "szczesc Boze," which means, "God bless you". The Bishop used these words as the theme of his talk. He praised the ideals of the Polish Roman Catholic Union and encouraged loyalty to the Church and obedience to the bishops. He concluded by blessing the audience. On a motion made by Peter Kiolbassa the Bishop of Cleveland was made an honorary president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union. Since it was getting late, the session was adjourned to the next day.
Another mass meeting was held in the evening, at which the question of the Polish League was taken up. Again the hall was filled. The Reverend Father Rosinski greeted the audience with hearty words and introduced the Reverend Father 16Jakimowicz as the first speaker. Father Jakimowicz spoke with great enthusiasm and was continually applauded.
The next speaker was Clement Bielinski, chairman of the twenty-first convention of the Polish Roman Catholic Union.
The theme of his speech was the thought that as Bismarck, the German, was destroying Poland by "Kulturkampf," so Rademacher Kolaszewski, also a German, is trying to work harm to the Poles in Cleveland. He spoke about the deceivers of the Polish people, about the harmful press represented by such newspapers as Jutrzenka (Morning Star) and Katolik (Catholic). In very simple words he explained the fraud of "Bishop" Vilatte and Rademacher Kolaszewski, who are trying to draw the people away from the Catholic Church and from our old traditions. He conjured the people not to yield to the deceivers. Finally the speaker mentioned the newly founded Polish League in America.
The next speaker was Szczesny Zahajkiewicz. In a beautiful speech Zahajkiewicz 17explained the meaning of true patriotism. He said that true patriotism, depends not on words but on deeds.
"We need deeds. Let us prove by deeds that we are true sons of Poland. Poland became independent when she accepted the cross when she was christened. The churches are our fortresses, and the Christian faith is our dearest heritage."
Then he spoke about the Polish League and encouraged its support. He asserted that its opponents are anarchists, pseudopatriots, supporters of Jutrzenka, Katolik, etc. He was rewarded by thunderous applause. The next and last speaker was the Reverend Vincent Barzynski, who thanked the delegates for their devotion to the organization and for their useful work. He also mentioned the League and added that it is based on Catholic principles. The mass meeting was concluded by cheers:
"Long live the Polish Roman Catholic Palonia in Cleveland! Long live Pope Leo XIII! Long Live Bishop Horstmann! Long live Father Rosinski! Long live the Polish Roman Catholic Union in America!"18
Thursday's activities began at 8 A.M. with a requiem mass for the dead members of the Polish Roman Catholic Union. The mass was celebrated by the Reverend Father Raszkiewicz, who was assisted by the Reverend Fathers Lange, Nawrocki, and Suplicki. The requiem address was delivered by Father Barzynski.
The session was opened by the chairman at 9:15 A.M.
It was decided that Wiara I Ojczyzna shall continue to be the organ of the Union. The motion committee submitted a new regulation providing that if there is a balance of three hundred dollars in the assessment fund, it shall be announced in the Union's organ, and the sum shall be transferred to the death-benefit fund. The motion was adopted after a short debate.
Another noteworthy regulation submitted by the motion committee provided that half the death benefit should be paid to those who have been members of the organization for fifteen years but are unable to work on account of serious injury or incurable disease, and that after that their membership should be canceled.19
The Reverend Father Szymanowski was in favor of the motion with an amendment that the entire sum should be paid. This motion was debated for a short time but did not pass and was tabled.
The secretary then read the report of the last meeting and some congratulatory telegrams.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Aug. 25, 1894.
The motion Committee then submitted the following additional motions:
(1) That membership should be extended to persons not affiliated with a society belonging to the organization (rejected);
(2) That the cashier should receive a salary of one hundred dollars a year, and that the accrued interest [on funds on hand] should be transferred to the treasury (rejected);
(3) That one thousand dollars should be taken out of the treasury fund and invested (adopted with an amendment);20
(4) That all appeals for support should be submitted directly to the Convention, and that they should be approved of by the presidents of the respective societies (adopted with an amendment);
(5) That the Polish Roman Catholic Union should have its own banner (rejected on motion of the Reverend Father Barzynski); and
(6) That priests 45 years old and older should be allowed to join the organization (unanimously adopted).
The session was adjourned to 2 P.M.
The afternoon session was opened at 2 P.M. by the chairman. New Motions were made and accepted or rejected.
There was a recess for ten minutes. As soon as the session was reopened, the resolutions committee read the resolutions. The most important are as follows:
1. That the twenty-first convention of the Polish Roman Catholic Union condemns all newspapers and periodicals which oppose the Holy Roman Catholic 21Church and Christian morality, especially those journals which are trying to separate the clergy from the Church; and that the convention further condemns those members and those societies (God forbid) which support such journals to the penalty of losing all the privileges of membership so that members and societies must reject these periodicals, namely, Wiarus, alias Katolik, Jutrzenka, and the like;
II. That the convention recommends the Polish Roman Catholic parochial schools to all societies and especially to those which belong to the organization because these schools teach Christian principles essential to the rearing of children;
IV. That the Polish Roman Catholic Union considers our new national organization, namely the Polish League in America, to be good and worthy of support; that this organization is not opposed to the Roman Catholic Church; and that our societies may join it; and22
VI. That the societies belonging to our organization should co-operate with other Roman Catholic societies and organization, especially the "Unia".
The convention was closed at 5:50 P.M. with a prayer.
The following members were elected officials of the organization: Joseph Kromka, of Detroit, Michigan, president, Joseph Jozwiak, of Bay City, Michigan, vice-president, Boleslaus Straszynski, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, secretary, and Francis Wleklinski, of Chicago, treasurer.
Two Chicagoans, Thomas Krolik and John Czekala, were made members of the board of directors.
The next convention will be held in Philadelphia.
II D 1, III B 4, III C, IV
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