St. Stanislaus Catholic church in Chappell Hill, Texas held their 4th annual Dożynki Mass and Celebration at the historic old church on Sunday, November 18, 2012. The dożynki or harvest festival is a joyful celebration which dates back to the middle ages in Poland. The celebration honors our Polish Heritage by giving thanks for our many blessing during the week of Thanksgiving.
Shortly before the 9 am Mass began, dożynki bouquets were given to the female Mass attendants and the Holy Rosary was led in Polish by St. Stanislaus pastor Father Jozef Musiol accompanied by Pauline Mazurkiewicz and other descendants of the early Polish settlers of Chappell Hill. The Mass began with a Dożynki procession with baskets of homemade bread, bowls of salt, a wheat basket and a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The procession was led by religious education youth and adults dressed in Polish folk dress and followed by Father Jozef. During Mass, choir director Michael Addicks led the choir in singing Polish and English hymns. RE children and adults in Polish folk dress brought the offerings to the altar.
At the end of the Mass, Father Jozef blessed the bread and salt, dożynki bouquets and basket. Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz gave a presentation on the tradition of dozynki with all of the children of the parish seated on the floor in front of him. Dr. Jim also introduced the Przodownik and Przodownica which are the honorary male and female harvesters. The basket, bread and salt was carried out of the church in a procession and as the congregation left the church, everyone was handed a piece of the blessed bread which was then dipped in the salt and eaten.
The celebration continued with a procession to the parish hall while the church bells were ringing. The procession, led by musicians Frank Motley, CJ Jozwiak, James Mazurkiewicz, Lawrence Wisnoski and Charlie Brossman also included Father Jozef and the congregation. The musicians continued playing at the door until all of the participants were in the hall. When everyone was in the hall there was a welcoming and special presentation by the leaders of St. Stanislaus parish followed by comments from the Przodownik (male harvester) Quentin (Gurka) Martin & Przodownicy (female harvesters) Katie Murski & Hannah (Mazurkiewicz) DiPrimeo. Washington County’s well know Polish fiddler Daniel Cendalski played an old Polish tune while the Dziedzic & Dziedzica then danced the first dance with the Przodownik & Przodownica.
Daniel Cendalski who has been playing music for 65 years then gave a presentation on his Polish Family Musical History. He told the story of how he learned to play from his father Mitchell who had learned to play from his father Stanley who had immigrated to Texas from Poland. There were lots of stories of playing music at Polish weddings and other celebrations in old Chappell Hill.
Dolores Wisnoski Newman, president of the Polish Genealogical Society of Texas gave a short presentation about the societies Polish Pisanki and Wycinanki (egg painting and paper cutouts) activities for the kids and their onsite genealogical searches for the adults. Father Jozef then blessed the meal and everyone headed for the food table which was loaded with fried chicken, kielbasa and a large variety of covered dishes including homemade gołąbki, kapusta, pierogi and other delicious Polish foods. Another table held luscious homemade deserts.
As the attendees ate, they were entertained by Daniel Cendalski and the Polska Kapela band with James Mazurkiewicz, Frank Motley, Lawrence Wisnoski, Charley Brossman and C. J. Jozwiak playing lots of old Polish songs. When the band finished playing, there was an exciting Pierogi eating contest, a power point presentation by Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz about his recent trip to Poland and a live auction.