St. Stanislaus Catholic church in Chappell Hill, Texas held their 5th annual Dożynki Mass and Celebration at the historic church on Sunday, November 24, 2013. 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.
The colorful celebration began at 8:30 am with dożynki bouquets being given to the female Mass attendants and the Holy Rosary led in Polish by St. Stanislaus pastor Father Jozef Musiol and accompanied by Pauline Mazurkiewicz and other descendants of the early Polish settlers of Chappell Hill. The Mass began at 9 am with a Dożynki procession of baskets of homemade bread, bowls of salt, a harvest wheat basket, farm harvesting tools and a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa carried to the altar by CCE youth and adults dressed in Polish folk costumes and followed by Father Jozef. During Mass, choir director Michael Addicks led the choir in singing Polish and English hymns. CCE children 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 and then Richard Pitcher represented the Knights of Columbus with a reading of the fallen knights. Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz then 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 Katie Murski and Quentin Gurka Martin, the Przodownik and Przodownica which are the honorary male and female harvesters. After a quick group photo at the altar, 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 salt and eaten.
The celebration continued with a procession to the parish hall led by musicians Frank Motley, CJ Jozwiak, James Mazurkiewicz and Charlie Brossman, followed by Father Jozef and the congregation. When everyone was in the hall there was a welcoming and special presentation by the leaders of St. Stanislaus parish. Father Jozef then blessed the meal and everyone headed for the food table which was loaded with grilled 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 the Polska Kapela band with Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, James Mazurkiewicz, Frank Motley, Charley Brossman and C. J. Jozwiak playing lots of old Polish songs. Dr. Jim conducted a live auction and then Brian and Jakub Marshall joined Polska Kapela to play an old Polish tune while Dr. Jim and his wife Kathy, the Dziedzic & Dziedzica, danced the first dance with the Przodownik & Przodownica.
The afternoons events ended with an exciting Pierogi eating contest and a 2013 Polish Texans Heritage Tour presentation by Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz about his recent trip to Poland.