CHICAGO, IL – The Polish Roman Catholic Union of America (PRCUA), the oldest Polish fraternal organization in the United States, celebrated the 140th anniversary of its founding in 1873. The organization was begun in Detroit, MI, but has been headquartered in Chicago since 1874. On October 4th, festivities began with the Opening of the Exhibit entitled “140 Years of PRCUA History” at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, IL. The Exhibit was curated by Kathryn Rosypal and Lidia Kowalewicz, editors of Narod Polski newspaper, with assistance from PMA Archivists Halina Misterka, Teresa Sromek and Photo Curator Julita Siegel. A large crowd was in attendance to view the vintage photographic collection and rare historical artifacts – including the original Constitution hand‐written by Jan Barzynski, one of the PRCUA’s three founders ‐ that were on display.
The celebration continued the next day with Mass being concelebrated by PRCUA National Chaplain Rev. Walter Ptak, and seven priests at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago, IL at 4 p.m. This is the parish in which the PRCUA’s first national office was located in 1874.
After Mass, a Gala Banquet was held at White Eagle Banquets in Niles, IL. Guest speakers included His
Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago; Hon. Maciej Pisarski, Deputy Chief of Mission, Republic of Poland; and Hon. Paulina Kapuscinska, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.
Consul General Kapuscinska graciously presented the PRCUA with the “Gloria Artis Silver Medal for Cultural Merit” from the Polish Ministry of Culture & National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
Accepting this most auspicious award, on behalf of the PRCUA, was National President Joseph A. Drobot, Jr., who expressed sincere gratitude to the Republic of Poland for this great honor.
In his remarks, President Drobot said, “Why did our ancestors come to America? Because America offered two things; Freedom and hope. Freedom and hope to dream of a better life with opportunities for themselves and their families for generations to come.” He went on to point out that “We are the beneficiaries of that hope and those dreams! In 1873, the PRCUA was formed. It was founded to fill a need and to provide a sense of belonging, of identity, a feeling of family, friends, religion and culture, a remembrance of the Old Country and as a provider of information and representation in the new country.” The PRCUA has, indeed, been fulfilling that role for 14 decades and looks forward to continuing to serve the Polish American community long into the future.
Other speakers included Frank Spula, President, Polish American Congress & Polish National Alliance, and Allison Koppel, Executive Vice President, American Fraternal Alliance. Guests were entertained with lively dances performed by the Wesoly Lud Polish Folk Dance Ensemble and Polonia Ensemble –Chicago dance groups sponsored by the PRCUA. Over 300 people were in attendance at this anniversary jubilee.
The PRCUA is proud to be the largest Polish Roman Catholic fraternal benefit society in America.