After a successful festival opening on Friday evening , Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church in Houston Texas began their annual Dożynki or Polish Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 12, 2012 with a grand opening showing of the American, Polish and Texas flags and the singing of the national anthems.
The three day Dozynki festival is based on a tradition that dates back for many centuries in Poland and symbolizes the end of the harvest for the farmers. It is a time of happiness, good food, folk dancing and live music. Hot and humid weather, typical for this time of year in Texas didn’t stop the large crowd of people from having fun.
The entry to the festival was beautifully decorated and lined with booths selling Polish t-shirts, ornaments, pottery, jewelery and lots of other items. Bounce houses, face painting and other activities kept the kids busy while the adults sat under the covered tables and enjoyed the food and entertainment. Many beautiful items were available to the highest bidder at the silent auction in the air-conditioned hall. A great selection of delicious traditional Polish food such as pierogi, bigos, kielbasa, golabki and kiszka were served as well as hot dogs, fries and turkey legs. Cold water, soft drinks, piwo and wino were available to help cool off.
The most popular area at the festival was the large covered stage where the crowd was entertained by a variety of music, singing and folk dancing including the Wawel Folk Dance Ensemble, children from the Polish School, vocal group Polonia Houston, Halny, Edward Winiarski and Bernard’s Band. D. J. Chris Piorkowski kept the music and entertainment going all day. In the early afternoon, Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz and his Polska Kapela band entertained the crowd with plenty of old time Polish tunes. The band consisted of talented musicians Jim Mazurkiewicz, Frank Motley, Mark Hopcus, C. J. Jozwiak, Charlie Brossman and James Mazurkiewicz.
The highlight of the day was a very beautiful and moving harvest wreath and sharing of bread ceremony presided over by festival hosts Elizabeth Wojciechowski & Richard Sienko with Monika Zielinski & Adam Golunski as master of ceremonies. Our Lady of Czestochowa pastor Father Waldemar Matusiak blessed the bread and it was then shared with the crowd.
On Saturday evening, Fr. Waldemar Matusiak, pastor of Our Lady Of Czestochowa parish concelebrated Mass with three visiting Polish priests who are friends and former classmates of Fr. Józef Musiol, pastor of St. Stanislaus parish in Chappell Hill Texas. The visiting priests were Fr. Janusz Lasok, pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Tychy Poland, Fr. Jan Grzesica, retired Theology professor from Mysłowice Poland and Fr. Pawel Bubalik, pastor of Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Myslowice-Brzezinka Poland.
Sunday events started with a beautiful 10 am Dożynki Mass that included a procession of the harvest wreath and bread and a sharing of the bread in the church. The Mass was followed by a parade welcoming all guests and lots more singing, dancing and fun continued throughout the day.