Challenges facing Polish Catholics mirror those of church in general
Published: April 27, 2012
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (CNS) -- The issues surrounding the preservation of long-established parishes and the preservation of ethnic traditions are not all that different. During the awards dinner of the 23rd annual Polish American Priests Association convention in Michigan City April 19, Father Czeslaw Krysa of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., talked about the challenges facing Polonia in America and the impact that challenge is having on the Catholic Church and ethnic neighborhoods. During his talk about the state of Polonia in the U.S., Father Krysa said Polish traditions that were brought to this country by today's grandfathers and great-grandfathers is fading. "We know what they are, but we don't know why they are," he said. The slow disappearance of those traditions mirror the slow decline in the Catholic Church's prominence in neighborhoods. For instance, Father Krysa said that in the 1970s there were 1,200 priests in Buffalo. Today, there are fewer than 200. "That has presented some challenges, but everyone should know that we're here to stay. We are resilient," said Father Krysa, emphasizing that his comments referred to both Polonia and the church. "This is representative of the challenge facing Polonia today," he said. The importance of preserving Polish traditions and its neighborhoods in the United States, he said, is that nearly all Polish traditions are rooted in the church. "We need to market our spirituality," said Father Krysa. "To do that we need to go out and meet people where they, not where we would like them to be."
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