Community Projects

Veteran's Monument

After years of fundraising and planning, PolishYoungstown’s dream to relocate the veteran’s memorial became a reality in June 2010.

The memorial is dedicated to Polish émigré veterans of World Wars I and II. It was erected in 1970 on South Avenue by the Youngstown chapter of the Polish Army War Veterans of America. That group is now defunct and the former Polski Dom, known as Krakusy Hall, had been vacant for several years.

To fully appreciate the sacrifices made to construct this monument and the sacrifices it stands for PolishYoungstown felt compelled to find a new location that was not only relevant to the monument, but accessible to the general public.

That goal was achieved with Peterson Park in Poland, Ohio’s center. The focal point of the peninsular park is a life-size sculpture portrays Gens. Casimir Pułaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko—the two Polish generals for whom the village and township were named to honor. The statue is the only one depicting these two Revolutionary War patriots together. PolishYoungstown, the Polish Army Veteran's Association of America District 9 and Town One Streetscapes dedicated the Polish War Veteran’s Memorial at its new home.

We can think of no better home for this monument. It honors the courage of patriots and a patriot’s struggle to be free transcends national, cultural and territorial bounds. Now, in one location, visitors can learn about the contributions of the Polish generals to the initial American fight for freedom and the sacrifices of Polish men and women during the World Wars.

Our Lady of Częstochowa Shrine

“You'll find quiet in her arms and you'll find shelter from the evil,
'Cause she has a tender heart for all of her children.”
-- “Czarna Madonna” religious hymn

In every Polish church there is a reproduction of Our Lady of Częstochowa, a replica of the miraculous Madona and Child icon in Poland.  When Poles emigrated, they brought their devotion to the Mother of God with them, creating home altars and innumerable churches, chapels, and shrines in her honor. A special place is always reserved for her.

In recognition of this tradition and the pain of church consolidation, PolishYoungstown initiated and effort with His Excellency George V. Murry, S.J initiated to make sure that there will always be a home for the faithful of Polish heritage in our city. This idea complimented a desire to renovate the bell towner baptistery at St. Columba Cathedral and it was selected to be a shrine to Our Lady.

To raise the $10,000 necessary to complete the project PolishYoungstown orchestrated a development campaign, held fundraising events, offered a pilgrimage to Doylestown and initiated an annual community-wide novena to Our Lady of Lady of Częstochowa. Inspired by the efforts, St. Stanislaus Kostka graciously gifted their incredible Madonna mosaic to serve as the centerpiece. Financial donations also came from St. Casimir Society, parishioners and the community at large.

In October 2012 this new shrine was dedicated with a month-long commemoration and celebratory mass to mark this joyous event.

Bishop George Murry, assisted by numbers of regional priests, presided over a beautiful ceremony complimented by the heartfelt performances by the choirs of St. Casimir, St. Columba and St. Stanislaus Kostka choirs.

Dinner followed with a talk by Rev. Eric Orzech of the Polish American Priests Association and followed by a choral performance by Poland’s Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble.

Mary is a window for us to heaven. The role of the Black Madonna in Poland’s history is compelling, yet it is not just history. She is there comfort and guide us today. The privilege of having a shrine is ineffective if we don’t take advantage of it by spending time there. Zapraszamy! Join us!

St. Pope John Paul II: Beatification & Canonization Celebrations

Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, (18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) was head of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005. Appointed bishop in 1957, the former actor, poet and steelworker became a priest in secret during WWII and occupation. He rose through the church ranks to become second to only the Cardinal. As a result, Wojtyła had a strong influence on Polish society at a time when the Church was the main power protecting Polish citizens against the communist regime's pressure.

He was active participant of the Second Vatican Council and in 1968 played a very leading role in the drafting of Paul VI’s important Humanae Vitae encyclical letter.

His selection to the papacy in October 1978 stirred up emotions around the world and jubilation in the Polish and Polish-American communities. The conclave broke the rule that the Supreme Pontiff had to be Italian and elected a man from behind the Iron Curtain. Many historians believe that John Paul II was instrumental in toppling communism in his homeland several years later.

To educate our community and celebrate this extraordinary Pole, PolishYoungstown hosted two special events:

For JPII’s Beatification in April 2011 PolishYoungstown reached out to local churches and Catholic schools and distributed info about the study guide that is available to help young people re-discover the Pope and his teachings. We then hosted a celebration mass and vigil on Saturday, April 30 at St. Casimir Church on Youngstown’s north side. Following mass, thanks to underwriting from Kinnick Funeral Homes, there was a reception with homemade Polish food and drink – including Karol Wojtyła’s favorite dessert Kremówka papieska. After eating, we screened the documentary Nine Days that Changed the World which tells the story of Pope John Paul II’s historic nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979.

The faithful had been proclaiming “Santo Sabito! Sainthood Now” even as JPII lay dying so when it was announced that he would be canonized, there was great excitement. While more than 4 million pilgrims and tourists will celebrate the event in the Vatican, Polish Youngstown helped those who choose to celebrate the occasion here at home. on Sunday, April 27, 2013 we coordinated the Mass of Thanksgiving Celebrating Canonization of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II at St. Columba Cathedral.In addition to sharing information on Rome travel opportunities, prayer circles and social media links to participate in the celebrations in some way, we create commemorative pray statues, cards and prayer cards to recognize the elevation of our beloved Polish pope.