The 100th Anniversary of St. Mary’s PNCC took place on Saturday October 10th, 2015, as the Most Rev. Anthony Mikovsky, Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church, gave glory to the Holy Trinity, beginning our procession for the 3pm Centennial Mass.
The procession included members of the Love of God Sodality, Branch #29 (Parma) of the YMSofR, Acolytes, and clergy.
The procession made its way into church, pausing as the traditional “Witaj, Pasterze Witaj!” welcomed the Bishop of the Western Diocese of the PNCC, the Rt. Rev. Stanley Bilinski as well as Prime Bishop Mikovsky.
Ralph Zaun, Chair Emeritus of the parish, welcomed Bishop Bilinski with the traditional bread and salt. Our Chair Elaine Ploskonka welcomed Prime Bishop. Together, they thanked the bishops for coming to pray on behalf of all current and former members of St. Mary’s.
Holy Mass was celebrated in the Contemporary Rite as Prime Bishop Mikovsky led the Con-celebration with the gathered priests in attendance. Concelebrants included: Prime Bishop Mikovsky, Bishop Bilinski, Very Rev. Jaroslaw Nowak (Hamtramck, MI), Very Rev. Joseph Soltysiak (Westfield, MA), Rev. Jason Soltysiak (Parma, OH), Rev. Greg Gronn (N. Olmsted, OH), Rev. John Cramer (Dearborn Hts, MI), Rev. Raymond Drada (Sterling Hts, MI) and Rev. Bruce Sleczkowski (McKeesport, PA). Rev. Drada also served as Master of Ceremonies, along with assistant MC and diaconate candidate Cleric Richard Kasprzak.
As Prime Bishop Mikovsky gave God the Glory for his being at St. Mary’s for the day, he mentioned how the perseverance and prayerful nature of the people of St. Mary’s brought them to the joyous day.
The readings and intercessions were read by parishioners Carole D’Arcy, Barbara Bogzevitz, and Bob Samelson, as well as Cleric Richard. Rev. Gronn proclaimed the Gospel from the middle of the church in Gospel Procession.
Bishop Stanley Bilinski served as homilist for the day, retracing his steps as one who participated in the life of St. Mary’s as a child with family on vacation, then as pastor, and later as bishop. The Holy Spirit was with our bishop as he mentioned how very emotional it was to preach before the clergy and congregation he cares so much for.
The choir of St. Mary’s belted away with full voice and heart, singing hymns and selections that were chosen many months prior. Among them included “Blessed is He”, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”, “We Will Lift Up Your Name,” “Be Still”, “Breathe On Me”, “Before You I Kneel”, “Beloved, Let Us Love One Another”, “10,000 Reasons”, and “God of Our Fathers.”
The Love of God Sodality filled the front pews throughout the church, shining their light on behalf of all Sodality Sisters in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Branch #29 of the YMSofR served as Ushers for the Distribution of Holy Communion. Our greeting ministry did their usual wonderful job welcoming new and old alike to our parish.
The Sign of Peace was delivered to all gathered by the clergy from the altar. Holy Communion was distributed by the bishops and Fr. Jason brought it to the choir loft.
After receiving the Episcopal Blessing, Fr. Jason thanked everyone in attendance and encouraged everyone to meet all the clergy in the landing outside the front doors of the church.
Following services, all were asked to drive a few miles up the road to Pokrova Hall, where the banquet and dance would take place.
Appetizers and cocktails were served for an hour, with the banquet beginning with the welcome, introduction of the master of ceremonies (Dr. James Ploskonka), Invocation (Fr. Cramer), anthems, and a toast (Michael Ference).
Following dinner, the formalities began with the introduction of the head table, greetings from PNCC luminaries in attendance, and the reception of formal congratulatory greetings from various state officials.
Bishop Bilinski offered remarks as Diocesan Bishop, followed by our Main Address by Prime Bishop Mikovsky. Flowers were then presented by parish youth to our beloved bishops.
Presentations were then made concerning our parish’s Past (Michele Barry-Misiewicz), Present (Elaine Ploskonka) and Future (Fr. Jason Soltysiak). All were well-received.
Benediction was offered by the Administrative Senior of the Northeast Seniorate, Fr. Sr. Jaroslaw Nowak. After singing “Sto lat!” and “Tyle Lat”, attendees danced the night away or chit-chatted about the evening’s happenings.
The celebration continued Sunday morning, as we celebrated only one Mass at 10am, with Bishop Bilinski as our Celebrant and Prime Bishop Mikovsky as our homilist.
After Mass, the Fesz and Boehnlein families, led by the efforts and idea of Susan, put together an amazing breakfast. It included a waffle station, various egg dishes, fruits, drinks, and more.
Each table received a commemorative 100th Anniversary napkin. In addition, various raffles brought to the winners circle recipients of even more stuff!
Since there were so, so, so many involved with our 100th Anniversary—simply, thank you to all.