|CORPUS CHRISTI CHURCH WELCOMES ALL WESTERN NEW YORKERS TO POLISH THANKSGIVING FEAST |
7/16/2007 - For Immediate Release
Contact: Father Anzelm Chalupka, Pastor
Contact Phone: (716) 896-1050
Date: July 12, 2007
CORPUS CHRISTI CHURCH WELCOMES ALL WESTERN NEW YORKERS
TO POLISH THANKSGIVING FEAST
Buffalo, New York – Based on last year’s success, Corpus Christ Parish in
Buffalo will once again hold their Dozynki Polish Harvest Festival on
Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26. For the past 28 years the parish has
sponsored this unique cultural festival in Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore
neighborhood which gives thanks for the fruits of the land.
This year’s expanded version of the festival will include traditional Polish
foods, imported Polish beer and beverages, a Polish cheese tasting, wine
tastings, a Polish cooking class, a farmers market and a variety of live music.
The centerpiece of the festival will be a Polish-American Folk Mass on Sunday
at 11:30A.M. during which a specially designed wreath made of wheat and
other fruits of the harvest will be presented.
After the Holy Mass there will be live polka music under an outdoor tent, a
chicken dinner by Chef John, a large theme basket auction and other
attractions. New this year will be a Polish café featuring homemade pastries, Polish
teas and coffee, plus a silent art auction, all to the live strains of Polish
classical music played by young pianists. The café will be located in the
newly renovated St. Kolbe Center on Clark Street (across from the church).
Sunday’s live music lineup will end with the pop band “Achilles Revival” from
Saturday’s events, beginning after the 11:30 Holy Mass in the Church, will
feature a farmer’s market, pork loin dinner and a one-man performance of a
play about the life of St. Maxmilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who gave his life
for another prisoner about to be executed in Auschwitz. The performance will be
staged by California actor Leonardo Defilippis.
Live polka music by Polka Smile, Eastern Style will round out the evening.
The Polish café and the Polish food and beer tents will also be open on
All proceeds from the Dozynki festival will go toward the restoration of the
historic church building, which was recently designated a New York State
Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition
of its architectural and historic significance.
Security and ample parking will be provided during this special event. For a
complete listing of all events, please call 716/896-1050 or visit our
website at: www.corpuschristionline.org.
About Dozynki - Dating to medieval times, Dozynki is a holiday of t
hanksgiving centered on a bountiful harvest. The colorful celebrations were held by
the nobility and large landowners as a reward to all those in their employ for
their hard labor.
The symbol of Dozynki was a Wieniec, (harvest wreath) which was presented to
the landowner. This large wreath was made of a mixture of wheat and/or rye,
as these grains were considered the most important. Crafted from the most
beautiful ears of grain, the Dozynki wreath was made in the shape of a
dome-shaped crown. It was decorated with flowers, ribbons, hazelnuts, and fruit. The
conclusion of the harvest and the making of the wreath generally fell around
the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin — August 15 — so the
wreath was taken to church to be blessed.
Wearing the wreath was considered an honor. Generally, it was worn by a
young girl involved in the harvesting, or someone who was considered a very good
worker. The chosen girl went to church in great pomp and ceremony, wearing
the wreath on her head while sitting in a wagon pulled by four horses decorated
in greenery and surrounded by other young girls wearing flowers in their
hair. The group was followed by all those involved in the harvest. After the
wreath was blessed, the entire procession proceeded to the manor house while
singing traditional songs.
The procession stopped at the gate leading to the manor house, its members
continuing to sing until the owner emerged. The girl wearing the wreath
approached, removed it from her head, and either handed it over to the owner or
placed it on his head. She was often given a handsome reward consisting of
either money or some gift.
After rewarding those that offered the wreath, the owner signaled to the
musicians to start playing. Once the lord of the manor started dancing, the
celebration began in earnest.
The wreath, arriving only once a year, was cherished and given much care. It
was hung in a prominent place, such as in an entrance hall or above the door
of the main living room, as a symbol of prosperity.
Today, Dozynki celebrations continue the traditions that began hundreds of
years ago. While many people labor in urban centers rather than at farms, the
end of summer still presents a welcome opportunity to “count your blessings”
About Corpus Christi Church – Corpus Christi Church is located at the
intersection of Clark and Kent Streets, better known as “Superman Corner” in a
reference to the super hero’s alter ego. It is a fitting description for the
amazing transformation that has taken place in the parish since 2004, when
the Pauline Priests and Brothers purchased the parish complex in a miraculous “
eleventh hour” accord that saved the church from closing. Since then, the
parish has experienced a remarkable rebirth that can be seen in attendance for
cherished religious traditions such as the blessing of Easter baskets on
Holy Saturday, May Crowning and the outdoor procession that marks Corpus
Parishioners and supporters from the larger Western New York community
have made extensive improvements to the exterior grounds of the church
buildings. Volunteers have also completed interior improvements to the ancillary
church structures. All of these projects have helped to stabilize and advance the
On the strength of these early initiatives, Corpus Christi parish began a
$1 million capital campaign in May 2005 to address critical repairs to this
magnificent, historic church. Major projects to be completed through the
Preservation Fund Campaign include the main roof, the twin bell/clock towers,
exterior masonry, the interior apse, electrical system and restoration of the
original terrazzo floor.