We at the Friends of John Paul II Foundation, Washington, D.C. Chapter, have had a busy and wonderfully productive year as we have been expanding our horizons to reach different age groups and populations to spread the legacy of St. John Paul II.
We have been blessed in this endeavor with capable and generous members who devote their time, talents, and support to growing our Chapter.
Last February, we launched our inaugural Outreach Program to college students at a local university. In early May, we sponsored a presentation by a local Polish Drama Group about the life of John Paul II, in English and in Polish, which included a cast of children, youth, and adults, and included poetry, music, and slides. At our 2nd Annual St. John Paul II Lecture in late May, 2016, presenter Maria Juczewska, from the Institute of World Politics, spoke on the topic of “Scholars or Friends? Women in St. John Paul II’s Life.” The talk was preceded by a mass concelebrated by Rev. Canon Philip Majka and Rev. Pawel Sass. The lecture was followed by a delicious luncheon featuring Polish food.
In June 2016, we presented on the topic of John Paul II’s legacy at the 74th Annual Conference of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America (PIASA) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Included was a presentation by Dr. Edwarda Buda-Okreglak on the young Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II’s life and the lesser known facts about him as a youthful actor, playwright and life-long poet. To the delight of our general membership, she presented parts of this talk and slide show at our November meeting. In summer we participated in “Krakow in the Capital” World Youth Day locally at Catholic University of America. We were happy to see the founder of our chapter, active centenarian-plus four Walter Zachariasiewicz, show up and join us for lunch. We were sorry to lose Walter at the end of September, 2016, but we are comforted by the thought that he is now with his great friend St. John Paul II.
In early October we held our annual Wadowice-on-the-Potomac dinner (in honor of the birthplace of Karol Wojtyła at the elegant Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA, with Monsignor Anthony Czarnecki as our honoree. Monsignor Czarnecki was applauded for his devotion in establishing the first chapter of the Friends of John Paul II Foundation in New England and for promoting our beloved Saint John Paul II through his example, teachings and pastoral works. It was an honor for President Bożenna Buda to present Monsignor Czarnecki with our custom designed crystal image of himself with Pope John Paul II and the Vatican flag. Our featured speaker at the Wadowice-on-the-Potomac was Rev. Pawel Sass, Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Washington, D.C., who is active in Youth Ministry and credits Pope Saint John Paul II for his call to the priesthood, after a successful career in journalism and as a Vatican reporter. Fr. Sass’s presentation about his visit to Krakow for the World Youth Day, accompanied by young people from this area, was dynamic and inspirational and touched all of us.
In October, accompanied by President Bożenna Buda, we joined in the festivities in Rome and the Vatican, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the parent John Paul II Foundation. We not only met members of the Foundation from around the world but also had an opportunity to be at the audience with His Holiness Pope Francis.
In November we hosted the Polonia Pilgrimage at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., which was also sponsored by the National Polish Apostolate Committee. Pilgrims from many states in the United States and Poland were represented. We wrapped up the year by once again decorating the Friends of John Paul II Foundation Christmas tree at the St. JP II National Shrine with Polish Christmas ornaments. We are very proud and congratulate Ray Glembocki, past president of our Chapter for being honored with the Pride of Polonia Award and Cecilia Glembocki, also a past president, for being awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Papal Award in Rome. Kudos to both of them!
As we continue our mission in perpetuating the legacy, ideals and teachings of John Paul II, we are reminded of his exhortation, “be not afraid,” a message of hope and compassion he directed to the world
by Bożenna Buda
National Conference for the Social Studies
December 2-3, 2016
Polish Perspectives Exhibit
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Reported by: Cecilia and Raymond Glembocki, former presidents and active members of John Paul II Foundation in Washington DC