The National Polish Apostolate
Each year, many Polonians of the United States make a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine in Doylestown, PA. This spiritual event is promoted by the National Polish Apostolate Committee, which is affiliated with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C. This years celebration took place on Sunday, August 29th with a solemn liturgy at 12:30 PM.
It has been a tradition to present the "Pride of Polonia" Award on this day to an individual whose personal integrity and involvement in the Polish American Community is exemplary. It is the responsibility of Adam Cardinal Maida, as Episcopal Liaison of the USCCB to choose a person for this award from a slate of nominees presented to him by the National Apostolate Committee. Upon review, Cardinal Maida chose the individual recommended by Monsignor Anthony Czarnecki, Rector, St. Joseph Basilica, Webster, MA: Mr. Marion V. Winters "whose dedicated service to Polonia for over 50 years requires a special recognition".
The special Mass was celebrated by Bishop Stanislaw Jan Dziuba, Diocese of Umzimkula, South Africa with the assistance of Msgr. Czarnecki and fourteen other priests. Mr. Winters and his wife Jo Louise were seated at the left side of the altar. The pews were packed with the Polish Apostolate and Polish Womens Alliance members who had made the pilgrimage to the Shrine for the Celebration of Our Lady of Czestochowa Feast and Polish Apostolate Day. Seated among them were the family members and friends of the Winters who had come from afar to witness the moving spiritual event and the award ceremony. The Mass was held in Polish and the congregation was spellbound by the stirring prayers of the Bishop and priests and the Polish music that moved everyone. Beautiful music filled the church as the organist played and sang memorable Polish hymns that led some people to say they experienced a kind of heavenly aura in the depths of the beautiful Shrine.
The Mass ended as Bishop Dziuba called for Gods blessings upon everyone and one could feel the peaceful spiritual joy reigning over the Shrine. After a moment of silence, Msgr. Czarnecki stepped up to the microphone. He recounted with enthusiasm some of the many services and undertakings Winters has rendered on behalf of the Polonia and Poland throughout his life and continuing. The Monsignor expressed the opinion that such devoted work helps strengthen the bonds between Polonians and with the church.
Bishop Dziuba offered his most sincere congratulations and presented Mr. Winters with a large plaque that reads:
Marion V. Winters
In recognition for outstanding service to
Polonia dedicated efforts and sensitivity
to the educational needs of young people
GOD BLESS YOU SZCZESC BOZE
Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine
August 29, 2010
Moved deeply, Winters accepted the award and expressed deep appreciation for the special recognition. He pointed out that his accomplishments would not have been possible without the full and enthusiastic support he has received from his wife, Jo Louise as well as strong backing from his sons, Jeffrey and Brian, their wives and grandchildren, Katy, Damian and Monica.
As the award ceremony ended, a swarm of family and friends rushed to the altar to embrace and congratulate the Winters. All were invited by the Polish Apostolate to a splendid Polish luncheon. Marion and Jo Louise were placed at the head table with Bishop Dziuba, Msgr. Czarnecki and past Pride of Polonia Award winners, Lady Blanka Rosenstiel of Miami and Sir Walter Zachariasiewicz of Washington, DC. Toasts rang out and the wondrous day ended for the Pride of Polonia, Marion Winters.
Mr. & Mrs. Winters genuinely feel that they owe a big debt of gratitude to Msgr. Anthony Czarnecki for his initiative and determined leadership in making the Pride of Polonia Award to Marion Winters possible.
Bishop Dziuba presents the "Pride of Polonia" plaque to Marion Winters.
Marion Winters with Jo Louise, his bride of 68 years.
Marion Winters, a past president of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) with Debbie Majka the current ACPC president
Group Picture (l. to. r.)
Jo Louise and Marion Winters, Debbie Majka, Lady Branka Rosensteil, Michael Blichasz, Walter Zachariasiewicz, Theresa Romanowski, unknown lady, Pauline Father.