Christmas - Christian holiday to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ was already celebrated in Rome in IV century. Customary tradition is to have a festive dinner on the Christmas Eve. In Polish tradition, this dinner is called ‘Wigilia’ and involves many traditional customs among which we can list singing of Christmas Carols as well as sharing Christmas Wafer with making wishes.
This year, the traditional Christmas Wafer meeting of the John Paul II Foundation members and friends was held on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the POSK in “Łowiczanka” restaurant. The meeting attended 110 individuals. Consul Ines Czajczyńska Da Costa, Rector of the PMK Rev. Prelate Stefan Wylężek, and many others distinguished guest were present at the meeting. Ms. Ewa Szymańska, the President of the Chapter welcomed all attendees and made New Years’ wishes. Then, Prelate Wylężek explained the meaning of Christmas and tradition of sharing Christmas Wafer. He also recalled that on annual basis, in Vatican, Pope John Paul II was sharing the Christmas Wafer and making wishes with his Countrymen. After the breaking of the Christmas Wafer, Rector presented the John Paul II Foundation’s Merit Medal to a few individuals: Consul Ines Czajczyńska Da Costa, Grażyna Bielecka, Jadwiga Dee, Barbara Flis, Wanda Mieszkian and Zofia Walisiewicz.
Soon afterwards, the dinner was served. After the dinner, there was a concert which featured: Teresa Greliak, singer and actress; Maciej O’Shea, opera singer (baritone); Andrzej Matuszewski, musician; and a special guest from Warsaw, Barbara Dobrzyńska – mezzosoprano, prior soloist of the Wrocław Opera and currently the actress of the Polish Theatre in Warsaw. The artists presented many beautiful Polish and English Christmas Carols (“White Christmas” and “O Holy Night”). They also sang poems of Gałczyński and Kochanowski, while Ms. Teresa sang “Mother Teresa of Calcutta.” The entire concert was very touching and the long applause confirmed that the concert was very well received. After the concert, there was a time for lottery which was led by Alfred Winiecki. The entire proceeds from the lottery totaled £368.
Special thanks for making this meeting a success should be directed to: Lucyna Schmidt, Danusia Krawiec, Grażynka Wojciechowska for selling lottery tickets and distribution of prizes; Teresa Blatiak and Marysia Rumun for collection of payments for dinner; as well as our treasurer Alfred Winiecki for collection of membership fees and donations for the Foundation. Of course the entire Christmas Wafer meeting would not be possible without efforts and work of the management of the Great Britain Chapter of the John Paul II Foundation as well as a great response from members and friends of the Foundation. We are cordially welcome all for our next meetings.
Ewa K. Szymańska