Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 18, 1892St. Casimir Young Men's Club Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary
Last night, the Young Men's Club of St. Casimir's Church celebrated the fifth anniversary of its organization at the Polish hall of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. An evening of entertainment was given to the members and to the public as well. A variety program was presented, which included guest speakers, drama, music, and a resume of work accomplished.
Noble Street was crowded with the members of this organization early in the evening. This demonstration of club members was positive proof that the anniversary affair was going to be a success. Many other people had also started to assemble. About 7:30 P. M., the various parochial military societies began to march to the accompaniment of a drum corps. Each military society was garbed in typical Polish costumes of the heroic soldier. They were followed by the members of the club, who marched gallantly like the Polish 2soldiers of Napoleonic times; following them came all the societies that were invited to participate in this affair.
After the triumphal march, all the participants and visitors were seated in the spacious hall. John Paszkiewicz was elected president of the fifth anniversary of the society. He, in turn, nominated Ignac Machnikowski for secretary. J. Szczepanski, a member of the young men's society, opened the meeting in the following manner:
"My Dear Friends: Five years have elapsed since the day of the origin of our club, whose foundations were laid several years before by the pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Father Vincent Barzynski. Like the flow of the river that passes in its course green pastures, cultivated lands, and sandy plains, this organization has also passed through many stages and faced many barriers. At times, when the hardships were overcome, a little ray of sunshine would appear for a moment, but the clouds would soon approach and cover the glimmering sun, and they would be followed by storms. Then again a new day would be born and 3new hope would take root. The many stages did not spell failure, for each disappointment brought stronger determination, until the road to success was finally reached. We bring this out with pride and happiness.
"The aim of the society is to further the development of morals, education, and a higher standard of living. Each member is instilled with patriotism toward his native country, familiarized with the historical background of Poland, and acquainted with her literature. We do not wish to brag too much about our accomplishments, but I will say that we do as much as lies within our power and as much as our spare time permits. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the clerical members of St. Stanislaus Parish for their invaluable support, and to thank the parishioners for their kind response to our various activities. Without this splendid co-operation we would long ago have failed in our purpose. It is this assistance that enables our organization to grow."
After the applause had subsided, the outstanding singer of the church choir, J. Kondziarski, in his resonant bass voice, sang three verses of the well-known 4Polish number, "Smutnoz To Smutno, Bracia Za Dunajem". Quietness filled the auditorium as soon as the opening bars were sung, for the audience did not want to lose any of the richness of words and melody. At the completion of the song, the singer left the stage. The audience began to applaud, and no amount of persuasion could make them cease. The likable singer returned to the stage to acknowledge the applause, and graciously sang."With Us Life Is Rough", also in Polish. Again the audience enthusiastically applauded him.
Francis Kiolbassa, the younger brother of City Treasurer Peter Kiolbassa, and one of the officers of Stensland's Bank, gave an oration on "Orden's Fortifications". (Julius Constantine Orden, 1810-1887, was a Polish army officer in 1831, and a great here.)
The Nowicki brothers, directors of the orchestra, played as a clarinet duet a variation of R. Eilberg's "A Child's Soul". Their playing was received by the audience with enthusiasm; continued applause brought then out for an encore.5
Peter Kiolbassa was called onto the stand by the president of St. Casimir Young Men's Club to give a talk. He gladly accepted the invitation. The City Treasurer, an expert judge of American Poles, excused himself in his inimitable manner for not being prepared to give an interesting speech. These in attendance were net much concerned about this, because it is known that wherever he has spoken his words have been remembered long after the occasion. It is well known that his speeches are always full of life and overflow with sincerity, religion, and patriotism. It would be a heart of stone, indeed, that did not respond to his words. Mr. Kiolbassa, despite his modesty, has accomplished a great deal as a Pole in Chicago. May God give him the opportunity to continue his work for a long time to come.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Jan. 19, 1892.
Peter Kiolbassa paid fine tribute in eloquent style to the fifth anniversary celebration of the Young Men's Club. He pointed with pride to the fine example of the society.6
"Great strides", he said, "have been made in the instruction of Polish history and folklore, and, what is more important, greater heights have been reached in the instruction of English. It is laudable of the parents to have their young man belong to this organization. Although these young people work hard for a living during the day, they work equally as hard in the evening to further the principles of their institution. Many of then support their mothers and fathers, and sometimes even younger brothers and sisters, yet they find a few spare hours to spend among volumes of Polish history and literature. In this manner, they lift the banner of our younger generation in Chicago to a better position. Their example ought to be followed by many of us. We ought to support such a noble cause.
"Recreation after a day's work is a prime essential for mental and physical stability, but this recreation must be instructive, so that it will not bring any bad results. This is how the members of the club spend their free time. They look after the interests of the club with the same ardour as members of similar groups in the Poland of yesterday. Their work is done with such zeal 7that it sometimes surpasses the efforts of our older members.
"However, among most of our younger generation there is a lack of esteem toward adults. There is also a lack of respect for the fair sex, honor and respect for which would bring a better understanding of the relations between the sexes. This would prove extremely advantageous, for out of it would come the development of praiseworthy manners. The parents should look after the behavior of their sons. When such things are uncovered, the boys should be reprimanded for their errors.
"Young ladies should avoid the company of young men who do not have the manners of a gentleman. In this respect, with the co-operation of the parents and young women, a great deal can be done to enlarge the horizons of our boys. In the long run, they will nature into fine citizens, likable companions for our girls, and respectful husbands.
"A youth having respect for everything that is Polish, learning Polish history 8and literature, and observing every religious oath with ardour, merits high admiration. A youth who believes in God and is loyal to the concepts of the church can be a fine Polish patriot.
"The young men of St. Casimir's club fall into this category. This is why we lock upon them with confidence. When we leave these fields of life, it will be with calm minds, for our places are going to be filled by competent men. This is why we beast about this club, and why we boost it, because we feel that many, many more ought to belong to it. We would not only like to see another fifth anniversary, but also a fiftieth anniversary."
Loud applause greeted Mr. Kiolbassa as he left the rostrum. Walter Dombek, a guest artist, was next on the program, and he acquitted himself admirably. He sang a beautiful song called "Anchored", with the spirit of a true artist. For an encore, he sang the memorable ballad, "The Hymn That Mother Sang".
S. Ciwinski gave a reading which dealt, in popular style, with the entire life 9history of St. Casimir. He received a great ovation for his commendable reading. The applause for him would probably have continued even longer, had it not been for the announcement that the popular Miss Rose Kiolbassa was next on the program.
Her interpretation of "Evening Star", from the German, which was sung in English, kept the entire audience spellbound. Her rendition was so well liked that she repeated it in Polish and then in English again.
She was followed by J. Oszwaldlowski, who gave a recitation on the "Polish March". A musical background was supplied by the St. Stanislaus Kostka church choir, under the able direction of Mr. Kwasigroch.
The church choir of mixed voices included the following feminine members:
Miss Kwasigroch, Miss Constantine Kaminski, Miss W. Chlebowski, Miss Rose Stas, Miss Rosalie Siuda, Miss Mary Gorzynski, Miss Anna Nering, Miss Frances Jesska, 10Miss Pearl Werner, Miss Rose Kiolbassa, Miss Anna Borkowicz, Miss Julia Dominikowski, Miss Mary Czerwinski, Miss Leona Ekwinski, Miss Frances Switala, Miss Casimira Murkowski, Miss Ann Krysiak, and Miss Olenczak.
The following male voices were also included:
J. Kendzierski, Frank Kwasigroch, W. Dembek, Anthony Huntowski, John Nering, W. J. Jozwiakowski, F. Kinkel, J. Ogurek, and Jacob Mruczkowski.
This choir of mixed voices sang several numbers after the completion of the recitation. The numbers were of typical Polish European atmosphere, and brought back memories to many in the audience. "The River of Our Village" was the outstanding number. It is needless to say that the director and the choir were given a great hand.
W. J. Jozwiakowski, a member of the club noted for his many activities in the organization, spoke directly to the younger people in attendance. The orchestra 11then played a medley of Polish airs.
It has been observed before, on other entertainment programs, that there was a lack of Polish melodies. This was one occasion where such was not the ease. The Nowicky brothers had made a varied arrangement of many of the outstanding Polish airs, much to the liking of all present. These melodies were well arranged, which pleased the many amateur singers who were accompanied by the orchestra. However, it must be pointed out that, although the entire performance was to be in Polish, some of the guest artists sang in English. Their musical repertoire was not as complete as that of the Nowicky brothers.
This was the theme of the speech of Father Vincent Barzynski, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. As he rose upon the rostrum, his countenance was filled with sadness. His opening words were equally sad.12
It was difficult for the pastor to talk on such a very delicate subject. But, once he began, he did not hesitate to speak the truth. His first words touched some members of the audience who have desired to hear more speeches of criticism in this direction. Many regretted that there were not more speakers who could speak so fluently in the native tongue about the Poles and Poland.
The other part of the pastor's speech acted more like a soothing balm for the wounds inflicted upon our nationality by the many radicals, and suggested important steps to be taken as a cure for all these hardships.
"This concerns", said the reverend speaker, "everyone of us vitally, and fills us with hope. One of the rays of hope within our circle is the grand work of the Young Man's Club of St. Casimir. These boys work hard to attain their objectives, in order to create more respect for our people. Unfortunately, we cannot say this about all of our young people in Chicago. We view this with sad hearts, because these youths are gradually dropping out of our circle, out of our nationality.13
"Today, there was a typical occurrence which confirms my statement. As a priest, it is my duty to go wherever my assistance is needed within the parish. As I was making a call, I met a group of boys and girls out in the streets who had no thought of attending this anniversary celebration here this evening, nor did they recall that this day was set aside to God, nor did they observe in their hearts the recent holiday ceremonies. To put it differently, what are they looking for--loitering in the streets, using a different language? Most certainly not the will of God, nor the respect of our people!
"Thus--it is sad to reveal, but it must be done--our younger generation is gradually falling away from our ranks. Our younger generation is falling away, and it is primarily the fault of the parents.
"It is sad for me to see that the ranks of St. Casimir Young Men's Club, the pearl of our parish, has so few within its ranks. Why are there so few? Because the parents do not encourage their children to join this fine organization. Parents should not, because of hardships, discourage their children from joining.14
Nevertheless, every step in the direction of fulfilling our love for our country is costing us a heavy price. It is becoming difficult to redeem the younger generation from its waywardness. Yet, if definite steps are not taken to remedy this situation, we will be faced with a serious problem. We will not be able to determine whether we are advancing, or merely existing, or dying out.
"If we are dying out, let us expire in glory. Our work is that of martyrs, but this is not strange, for we are the offspring of martyred people. Our people have always withstood the most fearful onslaughts with the aid of the sign of the cross, although on the borderline between Asiatic and European countries. The cross is the symbol of martyrdom; consequently, our nation has struggled under trying conditions for freedom and recognition, in a struggle which was both against oppressor nations and against paganism. In this battle, our people did not have time to rest, and there was no spare time in which to develop intellectually, for the fathers of the nation were always on horseback, with saddles serving them as pillows. When they, in their idleness, began to seek rest without the sign of the cross--it was then that they began to fall.15
"As many times as the Polish people want to solve their problem worthily, as many times as they desire to become recognized, they must stand and upheld the banner of the cross and show that they are descendents of martyrdom. Therefore, upon the true flag of the Polish people there should always be found the sign of the cress.
"If the Poles in Chicago were united, if they had regard and respect for their banners and the sign of the cress was found upon them, if they would solemnly observe all of their historical memories while they are trying to save their souls, there would be no split, no discord in our ranks, and our younger generation would not be falling away.
"Alas! evil papers, sinful pastimes, and unfortunate imbibing are ruining our younger generation and also our older members. Great responsibility rests upon the shoulders of those who permit themselves to be seduced by these papers, the words of which are food for the mad, if not for the vile.16
"But, thank God, the majority of Poles in Chicago have not forsaken Polish ideals; therefore we have hopes. Our young people have surpassed us in some of our fields. There is hope from this source--their example will recruit many of the younger people into their ranks.
"Our older people never knew freedom, for they were constantly being stepped on by other nations. In the schools established by the hostile countries, Polish literature and history were forbidden. Our younger generation in this country today has a better opportunity to know Poland, if we could only give it proper impetus.....The St. Casimir Young Men's Club has such potentialities.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Jan. 21, 1892.
"Although we are far away from our country--primarily because of this--it would be disgraceful to forget our obligations to our native land. Our own parish here should serve as an example. It is the largest in Chicago, perhaps the largest in the United States. We are making every effort possible against the 17opposition that comes from all sides. The young men of St. Casimir's Club are doing a splendid and untiring job in this direction. Although they must earn a living during the day, and support their families, yet they find time to continue in this field of Polish endeavor. If we follow their example, God will give us victory.
"If a comparison of the history of Poland is made with that of other countries, it will be seen that her history, although not always noble, is by far the richest. Yet for all our historical accomplishments we were delivered to the will of the Muscovites by France and Germany, and for our struggles for freedom we have been mercilessly treated.
"During his holy lifetime, St. Casimir had foreseen the early ruin of Poland, and perhaps that is why he did not want to wear the crown of Poland. He had foreseen the evil that spread over the country. But the source of this evil was not found amid our people, but in the German religious papers and French liberal papers. Instead of accepting these stories so easily, the Poles should 18have long before stood by their own religious faith, just as our boys of St. Casimir's Club are doing. This would have been the best means of protection from political and religious decay.
"Therefore, the parents of our parish ought to make a strong effort to have their children join this organization.
"Unfortunately, our younger generation does not wish to burden itself with religious and patriotic duties, but desires instead to be free. It desires the freedom which we here in America are enjoying to the fullest extent. But there is as great a differences between good and bad freedom as there is between good and evil, between Heaven and Hell, between a good patriot and a bad one.
"Our patriotism should be as perfect as possible, and should be supported by religion, for this was the kind of patriotism our fathers upheld. If our patriotism is of this sort, we will withstand all adversities and patiently endure all sufferings. We are all suffering, and our brothers in Europe are 19suffering even mere. Yet, no matter what burdens the czar heaps upon them, they do not give themselves up to him.
"We ought to bear the pain for the faults of our fathers, for a good son pays the debts of his father. We ought to suffer also for our own faults. If we suffer together, we will all weather the storm, and a brighter horizon will be curs forever."
The ovation that Father Barzynski received exceeded that accorded to any other artist or speaker of the evening. Following the speech, the orchestra played several traditional Polish tunes.
A one-act drama, played by fifteen male actors, and arranged by our young poet, Szczesny Zahajkiewicz, was the final presentation of the evening. Outstanding performances were given by Anthony Huntowski and R. Szajkowski. Huntowski portrayed the role of "Kuba" with notable ability. "Kuba" was a Polish 20character who never had enough time between drinks to study the history and culture of Poland, or become familiar with the great names of Poland. In spite of this, the tradition of his native country was deeply rooted within him, for he displayed great indignation whenever his partner, "John," discredited anything Polish, or whenever he praised anything other than Polish.
The author has well brought out in this short play the Polish-American youth, which has shed completely the native culture of its fathers, and has put on ways unnatural to its origin. As a contrast to this kind of character, the author has introduced in another role the youth of St. Casimir's Club, ably portrayed by Mr. Jozwiakowski. It was he who instructed "Kuba" and "John", and showed them the way to reading the history and literature of Poland. It was he, as a representative of this society, who taught these two and their colleagues what great men Poland has given to the world, and gave them an example of the wayward youth that followed the teachings of radicalism.
This short but instructive and interesting play, concluded the entertainment of 21the fifth anniversary of St. Casimir Young Men's Club. The entire audience was moved to the roots of their souls by this grand performance of Polish-American youth. It wished these young men a continued success in their work, a continuation of happiness throughout all their efforts, and, finally, not only a tenth anniversary, but a fiftieth, plus an ever increasing membership.
Signed: Ignac Machnikowski,
Secretary of the Entertainment
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