You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Polish descendants enjoy annual gala
Receiving an award from the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation for “outstanding generosity for building a bridge between Texas and Silesia” is the family of the late Adrian Opiela of Gillett, accepted by his widow, Florence Korzekwa Opiela. The award was a special honor bestowed by the foundation’s president, Monsignor Franciszek “Father Frank” Kurzaj. Mrs. Opiela is pictured here with members of the Polish string quartet, “Apotheosis,” after their concert Dec. 22 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Floresville
The annual Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation Gala took place Dec. 15 in the Father Thomas O’Brien Hall at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Martinez. Approximately 300 people from all over Texas attended for fellowship and entertainment, and to enjoy the rich Silesian Polish heritage.
They began the evening in the church, with Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. John W. Yanta, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Amarillo.
Music was provided by a string quartet from Poland, “Apotheosis,” which includes Sara Malinowska, Karolina Hyla, Aleksandra Badura, Nikol Latocha, and vocalist, Agnieszka Hyla. The musicians and singer visited Texas from Dec. 8-23 and shared Christmas greetings from Poland by performing in 14 churches, six nursing homes, a prison, two high schools, many community halls, and several private homes.
At the Mass, all the Silesian Polish families were remembered and honored as the different family surnames were read aloud. In his homily, Bishop Yanta reminded those present of the many blessings they received throughout the years and encouraged them to continue sharing their riches of faith and traditions with the next generations.
Following the Mass, the gala was opened in the O’Brien Hall with a prayer by the Rev. Norbert H. Herman, pastor of both Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Kenedy and St. Anthony Catholic Church in Runge. In 2013, he celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He spent 15 of those years in Peru as a missionary.
Next, the traditional “Opłatek” was shared by everyone in attendance. During the Polish Christmas Eve service, Wigilia, the Opłatek wafer is broken and consumed by friends and family while well-wishes are expressed. This Polish tradition brought much joy and reverence to the special evening. Then the lights were dimmed as the talented musicians from Poland played angelic music for the audience. Their outstanding performance touched everyone.
The meal, prepared and catered by Snoga’s Cafeteria of San Antonio, consisted of Chicken Cordon Bleu, wild rice, cucumber salad, and green beans almondine, with assorted cheesecakes for dessert. A wonderfully prepared silent auction with many donated items bought in Poland was a great addition to the evening.
After the delicious meal, one of the recipients of the 2013 Essay Contest Scholarship for high school seniors, Lauren Elise Voigt of Pflugerville, was introduced. Voigt is now a student at Texas A&M University, majoring in biomedical engineering. Her award-winning essay was titled, “Portrayal of a Silesian-Polish Texan: Theodore Kniejski.” She thanked the foundation for the generous scholarship and expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the beautiful gala. Another essay contest scholarship recipient also was recognized, Madison Brianne Pollok of Floresville; she was not able to attend.
Another award announcement followed; however, due to health issues of the recipient, the winner of the 2013 Outstanding Service Award was presented not at the gala but at a special concert Dec. 22 by “Apotheosis” at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Floresville. There, the prestigious award for “outstanding generosity for building a bridge between Texas and Silesia” was presented by the foundation president, Monsignor Franciszek “Father Frank” Kurzaj, to the family of the late Adrian Opiela of Gillett. His widow, Florence Korzekwa Opiela, accepted the award with much pride.
Following the award presentation, the gala attendees learned about plans for a 2014 trip to Rome and Poland to attend the canonization of Blessed John Paul II, and the upcoming 160th anniversary of the establishment of Panna Maria, Texas, the oldest Polish settlement in America.
The gala committee was recognized for its outstanding work on this year’s event and everyone was thanked for their continued support and generosity.
Closing remarks and a blessing were given by Bishop Yanta, who has for many decades generously supported all the activities of the foundation.
For more information, visit www.FLMFoundation.org and www.Silesian Texans.com.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Benefit for animal shelter is Aug. 1 (July 29, 2015)
Cestohowa Altar Society ladies celebrate 60 years of service (July 29, 2015)
Church youth to hold car wash (July 29, 2015)
Don’t miss Kosciusko Picnic this Sunday (July 29, 2015)
Free movie Friday in Poth (July 29, 2015)
Historical marker denotes former school site (July 29, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary garage sale Aug. 1 (July 29, 2015)
Life in the Camp Ranch community (July 29, 2015)
Luciano Pacheco – the sole Tejano survivor of the Alamo (July 29, 2015)
Opry helps fund historical markers (July 29, 2015)
Popeye beach pail (July 29, 2015)
See a free flick in Elmendorf (July 29, 2015)
Stuff the bus in Stockdale (July 29, 2015)
Summer program ends at Falls City library (July 29, 2015)
WCRSP delivers children’s books to schools (July 29, 2015)
Balance classes start July 27 (July 22, 2015)
Be a high roller in Floresville (July 22, 2015)
Bobble-head Bozo (July 22, 2015)
Cool down with free snow cones (July 22, 2015)
Copper-pot craftsmanship — CINCO Vodka (July 22, 2015)
Marion Sausage Supper is Aug. 1 (July 22, 2015)
Mu Chi members attend state convention (July 22, 2015)
Opry lineup is sure to satisfy (July 22, 2015)
Save the date for Kody Fest Aug. 8 (July 22, 2015)
Shop ‘Trinkets and Treasures’ (July 22, 2015)
SSCA seeks donations for rummage sale (July 22, 2015)
Start two-stepping at FUMC (July 22, 2015)
Texas sales-tax holiday (July 22, 2015)
The Landing offers help for teens (July 22, 2015)
What a difference an ‘A’ makes! (July 22, 2015)
Browse, learn, shop at Home and Garden Show (July 15, 2015)
Celebrate Czech Day in Jourdanton (July 15, 2015)
Daughters of the Republic installs officers (July 15, 2015)
Enjoy St. Anthony church fest (July 15, 2015)
Experience ‘The Hobbit’ under the stars (July 15, 2015)
Free Movies at the Park in Poth (July 15, 2015)
Learn to compost with worms (July 15, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary plans garage sale (July 15, 2015)
Library happenings (July 15, 2015)
Mystery blanket sparks search (July 15, 2015)
Night In Old Fredericksburg is July 18 (July 15, 2015)
Plan now for Beaver Roundup (July 15, 2015)
Teddy bears, pottery (July 15, 2015)
The bridges of Wilson County (July 15, 2015)
‘Atomic tourists’ converge on Trinity Site ahead of 70th anniversary (July 15, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (July 8, 2015)
Bobby Flores Birthday Bash is July 11 (July 8, 2015)
Early settlers of Wilson County (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Big Hero 6’ at Movie Day (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Cool Tunes’ in Brenham (July 8, 2015)
Family violence shelter seeks volunteers (July 8, 2015)
Family weekend fun in Adkins (July 8, 2015)
FHS Reunion is July 25 (July 8, 2015)
Fishing lures (July 8, 2015)
Give blood at Sacred Heart Church (July 8, 2015)
Hamilton earns rank of captain (July 8, 2015)
Memorial hog hunt a hit! (July 8, 2015)
Save the date for Home and Garden Show (July 8, 2015)
See comedians in China Grove (July 8, 2015)
‘Alabama’ to invade K-Town (July 8, 2015)
‘Dying’ brings broadcaster back to life (July 8, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (July 1, 2015)
Buses, pickup trucks, automobiles, and walking (July 1, 2015)
Davy Crockett, Depression glass (July 1, 2015)
Dog shows start July 8 (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Fourth of July parade, concert in Seguin (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Sunday Dances all month (July 1, 2015)
Free July 4 concerts in SA (July 1, 2015)
Free music, fireworks in Brenham (July 1, 2015)
Ice cream makers, tasters needed (July 1, 2015)
Jack's Cafe adds Sports Room and patio (July 1, 2015)
July is for grape stomping (July 1, 2015)
Look who's flying solo! (July 1, 2015)
Memories fly following balloon stories (July 1, 2015)
Register for state-wide Chili Cook-off (July 1, 2015)
Remembering my first haircut (July 1, 2015)
Savor: Summer drinks with calories and exercise equivalents (July 1, 2015)
South Texas Gardener reveals 'mystery plants' (July 1, 2015)
The Gathering Music Show (July 1, 2015)