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Visitors travel from Silesia to Texas
Visitors from Silesia, Poland, visit the St. Ann Catholic Church in Kosciusko June 7, during a tour of Texas. The 10-member group included winners of a radio competition. The visitors were accompanied by Monsignor Franciszek “Father Frank” Kurzaj, the pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in San Antonio, who served as their tour guide.
By Martha Gonzales
A 10-member group of visitors recently came from Silesia, Poland, to discover Texas and America during a three-week trip. On the way to Texas, they stopped in New York City, where they visited some Polish communities, parishes, and organizations. Of course, they visited the Memorial at the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
They are in Texas at the invitation of Monsignor Franciszek Kurzaj, the pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in San Antonio and president of the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation, an organization that builds cultural bridges between Texas and Silesia.
Among the visitors are the winners of an annual competition in Silesia called “Po naszymu czyli po Slasku,” which means “in our own Silesian language.” The winner of the competition was required to entertain the audience for five minutes with a monologue in the Silesian dialect still spoken in Silesia, as well as among the Polish people of Texas. The travelers are accompanied by a Catholic priest who assists the archbishop emeritus of Katowice, and a journalist from Radio Katowice.
Additionally, the visitors participated in the Folklife Festival in San Antonio and visited Silesian and Polish communities in Kosciusko and La Vernia, and spent time in Austin, Houston, and Corpus Christi. They also visited local nursing homes, especially in Karnes City and Floresville, where they conversed with the Polish Texans in their native language.
They met with San Antono Archbishop Gustavo Garc’a-Siller, Bishop Oscar Cantu, and Amarillo’s Bishop Emeritus John Yanta. They were guests at the homes of the Seraphic Sisters in San Antonio. They enjoyed the friendliness of the parishioners of St. Paul parish and the kindness of the friends and singers of the Liederkranz Choir, whom they met at the annual spring concert held at St. George Maronite Catholic Church in San Antonio.
They participated in the Folklife Festival June 8-10, held annually in San Antonio, where they mingled with hundreds of Texans of different ethnic backgrounds. They participated in an outdoor Mass, during which they sang in Polish. They visited SeaWorld in San Antonio, the State Capitol in Austin, and Johnson Space Center in Houston.
For all of them, this is their first visit to the United States, so they are filled with a lot of emotion and thankfulness for the unforgettable experiences.
For more information about the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation, visit www.FLMFoundation.org or www.SilesianTexans.com.
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