Banquet in honor of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Papal Medal for Mieczysław Pająk

Tradition of the John Paul II Foundation Chapter in New York is to organize an annual banquet, during which one spiritual leader merited for Polonia and the John Paul II Foundation is distinguished.  This year, during the banquet that took place on June 2, 2019 at Princess Manor in Greenpoint, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was our Guest of Honor.  This date was special as the date exactly happened on the 40th anniversary of the first pilgrimage of John Paul II to Poland, the fact that was mentioned several times during the banquet to stress the historic importance of that event.   On the beginning of the official part, Bishop Andrzej Zglajszewski from Rockville, delivered invocation.   In his speech, in the part related to the activities of the Foundation, Bishop said:  “Let the celebrations of the anniversaries related to life, activities, and death of John Paul II, Masses, and concerts organized by the Foundation become a brick in construction of our humanity and contribute to renewal of the Christian culture, which the world needs today so much.” Bishop Raymond Chappetto presented a short biography of the Guest of Honor.  Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio graduated from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, N.J. in 1970.  In 1996, Pope John Paul II elevated him to the rank of Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Newark.  On October 3, 2003, DiMarzio was named the Bishop of the Brooklyn Diocese.  Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is a member of the Vatican Pontifical Council primary responsible for immigrants.  He is also a member of the International Migration Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Bishop DiMarzio has a doctoral degree as well as a few honorary doctorates from various universities in the United States.  The speaker emphasized that more than 40 years, Bishop DiMarzio devoted to immigrants.  It is worth to mention that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn-Queens is very diverse ethnically.  He often supported them as an advocate on social and political forums.  Bishop DiMarzio initiated many projects aiming to provide help to immigrants in the Unites States and other countries.   He looks after all immigrants regardless of their origin.  As, for Bishop DiMarzio, all are “one family in God.” Then, Bishop Witold Mroziewski spoke about the cooperation with Bishop DiMarzio.  They knew each other since 1993, when Bishop DiMarzio visited Our Lady of Czestochowa and St. Casmir Church in Brooklyn, where current Bishop Mroziewski was the vicar, at that time.  He was describing Bishop DiMarzio childhood in Catholic family which emigrated from Sicily, in which his faith and calling was growing.   He emphasized, that Bishop DiMarzio is a very hard-working person, who has excellent organizational skills.  He provides special care to people in need, migrants, and internally misplaced people.   Bishop Witold Mroziewski stated that this banquet is a gesture of thanksgiving for the goodness and kindness that Bishop DiMarzio provides to Poles and Polish Americans. In the banquet participated Maciej Golubiewski, the Consul of the Republic of Poland, who in his speech, in warm words described activities of the John Paul II Foundation, as a heritage which was left by the Polish Pope. The President of the Chapter, Mieczysław Pająk, expressed gratitude to Bishop DiMarzion for accepting the invitation to the banquet, as well as for the pastoral care of Polish ethic group.   As a token of gratitude, the Guest of Honor received from the John Paul II Foundation Chapter in New York a portrait of Pope John Paul II.  Giving thanks for the distinction, Bishop DiMarzio recalled some events from history.  He stressed the gratitude which Italians have to Poles for the battle of Monte Cassino.  Bishop DiMarzio also recalled his meetings with the Holy Father John Paul II, who appointed him as the bishop.  He also mentioned a longstanding friendship with Prelate Piotr Żendzian.  Bishop DiMarzion stated that the Diocese of Brooklyn has more than 100 thousand Poles, for whom Masses are celebrated in Polish language in more than 20 parishes. During the banquet, the President of the New York Chapter, Mieczysław Pająk, received the Papal medal PRO ECCLESIA ET PONTIFICE (for Church and Pope) awarded by the Holy Father Francis.  Bishop Witold Mroziewski presenting the medal along with the congratulation letter, said:  “Honoring His Excellency, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, on behalf of the John Paul II Foundation in Rome, through hands of Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko and Father Krzysztof Wieliczko, we would like to present this medal, which the Holy Father grants for special work and dedication to the Church and for the Pope.  The award is presented to Mr. Mieczysław Pająk.”  The presentation of the medal was a very nice surprise for the President of the Chapter and guests.   Mieczysław Pająk leads the New York Chapter for 22 years and is one of the co-founders of the Chapter. The artistic part featured: Julia Skubisz, Marika Szczepek, and Giovanni Pinto.  The music was provided by ‘The Masters’ band.   Jakub Staniewski was the announcer. Numerous friends of the John Paul II Foundation, representatives of the Polish Saturday Schools , approximately 40 priests from various Polish parishes together with parishioners, Polonia’s organizations: Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men, representatives of the Polish American Congress, representatives of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, and of the Polish-Slavic Center  participated in the banquet. This year’s banquet provided a lot of nice and touching moments among friends.  We would like to express our congratulations to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Mieczysław Pająk wishing them God’s graces and St. John Paul II patronage. Zofia Twarowska