Thursday, June 8, 2023
Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, which is a state holiday in Poland. We went to mass in the parish of Długołęka. The procession started after mass. The Virgin Mary was carried out by four women. Little girls dressed in Polish dresses tossed flower petals on the road. The consecrated host was carried by the priest under a canopy held by four men. There were musicians. There was a young man wearing a loudspeaker so the crowd could hear the priest as he led prayers at each altar. Dad remembers processions like this from his childhood in the Polish neighborhood in Buffalo, New York., where he was an altar boy in the parish of Corpus Christi. I’m glad that we had the chance to observe the procession.
After the Corpus Christi procession, we headed to Jaworzno for an unplanned trip to meet Dad’s second cousins. Our newly-found distant cousin Teofil (whom we met on Day 1) had a neighbor Stanisław who knows Stanisława, one of the granddaughters of Wojciech Dadał, my great-grandmother’s brother. (I love this story because it shows the networking that goes into the successes of these genealogical trips.) Although Stanisław knew the general location of Stanisława’s house, he couldn’t remember the specific location. So the day before, he knocked on 10 doors before he found Stanisława’s house. Although he told her that he would be back for a visit the next day, he did not mention that he would be bringing cousins from America! So, once again, we showed up at someone’s house with absolutely no notice. Regardless, they heartily welcomed us in. Stanisława called her sister Lidia, who quickly came over. They had no idea that their grandfather Wojciech had siblings, let alone eight siblings, let alone one who had emigrated to America. Wojciech died before either Stanisława or Lidia was born, but they told us stories of their grandmother Stefania.
The rest of the day was driving from Małopolska to Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), where my grandfather’s mother’s parents (the Szymenderas) were from. We passed through many small towns and saw many churches overflowing, streets closed, and petals on the road from the Corpus Christi processions. We stopped for dinner on the way and had gołąbki, sauerkraut pierogi, and strawberry pierogi.
About DAY 4 you can read HERE.