[Photograph Pride of Polonia ]

left to right: Mrs. Irene & Mr. Thaddeus Mirecki

.......... [Photograph Pride of Polonia]

Pride of Polonia plaque presented to Thaddeus Mirecki

Thaddeus (Ted) Mirecki

A Lifetime of Service
to Polonia Pride of Polonia Award

by Marion & Jo Louise Winters

Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine of Doylestown, PA held its Annual Polish Festival and the Fall Harvest Festival (Dozynki) this past Labor Day weekend. On Sunday, Sept. 4th, a large number of guests including a large contingent of Polish Highlanders were present for the Mass. (Note: it has been a tradition to present the "Pride of Polonia" award on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Czestochowa, but Hurricane Irene forced the 2011 presentation to be rescheduled to Sunday, Sept. 4th.) The "Pride of Polonia" award is promoted annually by the National Polish Apostolate Committee, which is affiliated with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C.

The "Pride of Polonia" award is presented 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. Thaddeus Mirecki, "whose lifetime of service to Polonia" requires special recognition.

The special Mass was celebrated by Fr. Jozef Olczak, Provincial of the Pauline Order, with the assistance of Fr. Tadeusz Lizinczyk, Prior of the Monastery at Doylestown, and a number of other priests. The pews were packed with Polish Highlanders and Polish Apostolate and Polish Women’s Alliance members who had made the pilgrimage to the Shrine for the Festivals. Seated among them were the family members and friends of the Mirecki family who had come from afar to witness the moving award ceremony.

The Mass ended as Fr. Olczak called for God’s blessings upon everyone and one could feel the peaceful spiritual joy reigning over the Shrine. At this point, Fr. Olczak offered his most sincere congratulations to Mr. Mirecki and presented him with a large plaque that reads in part:

The National Polish Apostolate
gratefully presents
Pride of Polonia Award to
Thaddeus Mirecki
In recognition of his continuous support of cultural and religious
projects for Polonia of the United States, especially his charitable
attitude and contributions to many philanthropic causes.

Moved deeply, Mirecki accepted the Award and expressed his appreciation as follows: "I wish to thank the Polish Apostolate for this distinct honor that places my humble person among some of the most accomplished activists for the causes of Catholic Polonia. But my deepest thanks go to Irena, my wife, and helpmeet of some 44 years, whose patience, forbearance, encouragement and, above all, assistance, have made it possible for me to be actively involved in causes that are dear to me and, I trust, to all of Polonia. I accept this award with humility and gratitude, and with the hope that my continuing activities will justify this recognition and fulfill the expectations implicit in its bestowing.Serdeczne Bog zaplac."

Ted Mirecki represents a unique blend of Polish and American culture. Raised in Canada and the United States since childhood, he has a native identification with the needs and aspirations of the Polish-American community in the United States. Yet his family background has inculcated in him a deep understanding of the social, cultural, historical and political values of the Polish nation, and how these may enrich our American experience. He is equally fluent in both Polish and English, and has a rare insight into the nuances of language, honed through a lifetime of multi-lingual skills and years of professional writing and editing.

Ted has been active in the Polonia of the Washington / Baltimore area ever since he arrived here with his family in 1987. From the first year, he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Division of the Polish American Congress, and from 1995 served 7 one-year and one two-year term as its President.

Ted is also very actively involved in organizations beyond the PAC. At Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish, he is chairman of the Financial Council, the coordinator of liturgical lectors, and takes active part in Parish fund-raising activities. He has also assisted in the charitable fund-raising events organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the Friends of the John Paul II Foundation, and the American Council for Polish Culture, and the Polish American Arts Association of Washington, the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta. He is active as a writer and translator: member of a bilingual editorial team of the Bulletin of the Polish Association of Knights of Malta; headed a team of translators of Adam Boniecki’s Calendarium of the Life of Karol Wojtyla; translator for Ossolineum’s The Fate of the Lubomiski Durers and Jan Nowak Jezioranski’s Poland’s Road to NATO (Polish to English and English to Polish), editorial reviewer of the Polish edition of Ben Weiser’s A Secret Life, the story of Col. Ryszard Kuklinski.

Prior to his retirement, Ted was a prominent member of the Consulting Services Division of Microsoft Corporation, the largest and leading producer of computer software in the world. His services were much in demand by clients all over the country, and he conducted seminars and training sessions throughout the United States and in Warsaw and Moscow. Yet he still found time and continues to assist, at no charge, with computerization of offices of organizations in the Polonian community: the Polish Parish, the Washington Office of the National Polish American Congress, the Polish Library, ACPC and PAAA. Prior to his position with Microsoft, Ted was a prominent author and editor in the technical press, with approximately 100 published articles on various topics in computer and information sciences.

Before coming to the Washington area, Ted lived in Chicago, the largest Polonian community in the world, where he and his entire family were very actively involved in affairs of the Polish-American community. Most recently before departure, Ted and his wife Irena were part of the administration of a Polish Saturday School. Ted was the treasurer of this organization, which in the early 1980’s had a budget of approximately $30,000 per year. Ted and Irena were instrumental in enrolling this Polish School as a group of the Polish National Alliance. The school still exists today, and has almost 500 pupils, all of whom are PNA members. Ted and his family are members of the PNA since 1967.

Ted and his whole family are also long-time members of Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego (Polish Scouting Organization). Ted was the District Commissioner of the Organization for the entire Chicago area. His work in the Polish-American community began with Scouting: upon arriving in Chicago at the age of 16, he became assistant scoutmaster, later scoutmaster, of a scout troop; subsequently, the director of the Senior Scouts’ Circle, a group performing charity work and community service in Chicago’s Polonian community, especially among the Polish veterans of World Wars I and II. In fact, Ted met his wife Irena at an event the Scouts put on for the non-Polish community of Chicago; they grew close through working together in the service of Polonia. Their two daughters, Joanna and Marta (both now graduated from Northwestern University, Joanna with a PhD in Materials Science) played leadership roles in Scouting, leading Girl Scout and Brownie troops both during the school year and at summer camps.

Professionally, Ted's work in the Chicago area included the position of Manager of Financial Planning Systems in the Corporate Planning Department of a Fortune 200 company; before that, he was a chemical engineer and the manager of a production facility at a large chemical plant. His education includes a degree in Chemical Engineering, and Master of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Financial Planning, all from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Ted grew up in Canada, where he finished the 12 grades of primary and secondary school in 10 years. His service to Polonia started there, when he joined the Polish Scouting Organization and began serving as an assistant Cub Scout leader at summer camps at the age of 14.

Ted came to Canada from France at the age of 6, and went to the first grade not speaking a word of English. A year earlier in France, he had gone to school not speaking a word of French, only Polish. After a year he learned to speak French like a native, but then the family moved and he had to start over (he subsequently forgot his French, but then re-learned it, and retains a working knowledge of the language to this day). His parents taught him to read and write Polish at age 4; throughout his youth, they continued his education in Polish literature, history and culture. These experiences gave him a deep insight into the nature of human language, forming the basis for his life-long communications skills.

He was born in Poland, the son of a prominent Resistance leader in the underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa). The family survived the Nazi occupation, but had to flee the Communists, traveling through Czechoslovakia and Germany to France. Ted left Poland at an age too young to remember, but he has never forgotten his heritage.

Ted has received the following awards and recognitions:

  • Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  • Medal of Recognition by the Ossolinski National Institute in Wroclaw
  • Founder’s Award for meritorious service to the American Council for Polish Culture
  • Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Furthering an Understanding of the Polish Experience in America
    from the Polish American Historical Society
  • Recognition by the Polish American Congress, Washington Metropolitan Area Division
  • I.J. Paderewski Award for Distinguished Service to Society and Culture from the International Friends of Music Association
  • "Manifesting the Kingdom" Award for Dedicated Service from the Archdiocese of Washington

[Photograph Pride of Polonia]

left to right: Fr. Jozef Olczak, Provincial of Pauline Order; Mr. Thaddeus Mirecki; Fr. Lizinczyk, Prior of the Monastery at Doylestown, PA