History

With each generation, there is a growing urgency to provide descendants of

Polish birth with information about their heritage, culture and traditions and to enhance

the knowledge of the contributions Polish immigrants made to America and to the world

civilization. In order to promote this mission on a local level, in October 1987 a number

of members of the former Holy Name Society-Men’s Club of St. John Cantius Church,

Northampton, wanted to celebrate Polish American Heritage Month, an event originated

in 1981 by the Polish American Heritage Cultural Center of Philadelphia, PA. The

founding members of the newly created Polish Heritage Committee were Casimir

Kuczynski, Nicolas Kowalczyk, Walter Grygorcewicz, Robert Gibowicz, and Jesse

Rydenski. A memorial Mass was instituted and celebrated by the parish priest, Rev.

Casimir Switalski. Parish members and the community met at the Pulaski Monument in

Pulaski Park, Northampton for a brief remembrance ceremony with taps offered by

Jesse Rydenski, a founding member. Our first parade included a 3 member Polish

American Veterans Drum Corp from Holyoke, MA followed by area Polish Groups

that marched to Pulaski Park.


Thanks to the interest of many friends of Polonia in the Pioneer Valley, the

Polish Heritage Committee grew to approximately thirty members. The Committee over

the years, planned and successfully carried out and continue to do so many celebrations

of Polish Heritage including a Memorial Mass, Polskie Kolędy (Polish Christmas Carol

Sing Along), Polish Constitution Day, Polish Flag Raising Ceremony in October and the

beautiful Pulaski Day Parade celebrating the contributions of General Casimir Pulaski,

father of the American cavalry and those of Polish heritage who contributed so much to

the growth of our region and nation.

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