The 27th National Convention of the Polish American Priests’ Association (PAPA) took
place in the heart of Polonia – SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary – as the Orchard Lake
Schools hosted the annual event April 24-27, 2017. Catholic clergy of Polish heritage in
the United States came together in brotherhood, renewing friendships and making new ones
while accomplishing many tasks for the greater good of Polonia.
The Polish American Priests’ Association (PAPA) is a national religious and educational nonprofit organization
whose members share a common ethnic heritage while working to support their goals, purpose and objectives.
PAPA, under the patronage of Our Lady of Czestochowa, works to promote the pastoral, spiritual and cultural
identity of its members according to the needs of the Church and Polonia as they exist in today’s world.
Participants heard from notable speakers, including Rev. Maciej Mankowski, author,
Catholic Parishes in
Monsignor Frank Koper and Reverend Stanislaw Flis; and Marcin Chumiecki, Director, The Polish
Mission. The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, D.D., Archbishop of Detroit, celebrated the convention Mass,
open to the public, on Thursday, April 26. Guests were treated to a special presentation by Reverend Michael
Gaitley, well-known author and speaker from the Shrine of Divine Mercy, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, who
honored Very Reverend Canon Walter J. Ptak, PAPA President and National Convention Co-Chair and Reverend
Monsignor Thomas C. Machalski, Jr., Chancellor-Rector of the Orchard Lake Schools and National Convention
Co-Chair, with PAPA’s highest honor, the Father Leopold Moczygemba Award for their outstanding service to
National PAPA Convention Comes to
Heart of Polonia
Presented by Msgr. Francis Koper to the Catholic clergy attending the PAPA Convention
Almost 60 years ago in Polish American Studies (July-December, 1957), Fr. Joseph Swastek wrote, “A Critical
Examination of Father Kruszka’s Historya Polska w Ameryce.” As some of you may or may not know, Waclaw
Kruszka was born in 1868 of peasant stock at Slabomierz, near Gniezno in Prussian Poland. As a youth, he joined
the Jesuits, was expelled, reinstated and again left the Society, coming to the United States at the age of 25. He
entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, completed priestly studies and was ordained two years later. Within
a year after ordination, Kruszka became pastor of a country church in Ripon, Wisconsin, where at the age of 31
he thought of writing the history of Polish American life.
Between November 1899 and June 1901, in addition to his regular pastoral duties in Ripon, Fr. Kruszka collected
materials and worked on his history. Finally, after not quite three years’ effort, the history was completed. On
September 1, 1901, the first installment of the
appeared in three Polish Wisconsin papers—
, a daily,
, both weeklies, and ran serially until December
During this time, according to Fr. Swastek, Kruszka engaged in what was perhaps the most important activity
of his life — the movement for securing a Polish bishop in America. In June 1903, accompanied by a Mr. R.B.
Mahany, a Buffalo attorney, he went to Rome as a delegate of the Polish Catholic Congress to present a petition
to the Holy Father. Upon his return from Rome in April, 1904, Fr. Kruszka began making plans for publication of
his newspaper version of the history into book form. Ultimately, 13 volumes appeared at different intervals from
1905 to 1908 — over 2,300 pages.
The Story of Polish Catholicism in America