The organization and planning of this day took quite a long time. But finally it was time to put the plan into action. Sister Grażyna Rocławska, Provincial Superior of Holy Spirit Province welcomed the congregated guests. Fifteen minutes before the Mass, a video entitled “Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth 60 Years of Service 1954-2014” was shown. The selected scenes included Polish Saturday School, the scouts and Holy Week celebrations that occurred throughout these sixty years.
The celebration of the Eucharist began at ll:00 am in Our Lady of Częstochowa Polish War Memorial Chapel. The main celebrant, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP Bishop of Parramatta was joined by Fr Wieslaw Slowik SJ (Polish Council), Father Henryk Zasiura SChr, Father Kazimierz Bojda SChr, Fr Jozef Kolodziej SChr, Father Shane Reade SDB, Fr Ron Mc Farlane (St Andrews Parish Marayong), Fr Chris De Souza VG EV, Rev Peter Williams VG and Deacon Joseph Ledang, assisted the Bishop and read the Gospel in English. The Diocesan Master of Ceremonies, Father Andrew David Bass assisted with the planning of the Mass, as well as, directed the actual proceedings making sure they followed the plan during the ceremony.
The Mass was celebrated in English and Polish. The readings of the scriptures occurred in Polish and English. However, the prayers of the Faithful truly represented the different languages and cultures that are currently spoken in the Marayong area as well as in our community. Prayers were said in English, Polish, Maltese, Belorussian and Tagalog. The congregation was totally surprised that Bishop Fisher pronounced the final blessing in Polish.
The front three pews on each side were reserved. In the pews on the right hand side Sister Helen Tereba, General Assistant of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, MS Dorota Preda, Vice-Consul, represented Ms Regina Jurkowska Polish Consulate, Ms C Donaldson Delegate of the Honourable Len Robinson, Mayor of Blacktown, Mr John Farrugia, Head of Property and Facilities , Catholic Education Office Parramatta, Mr Kevin Rocks CEO of Holy Family Services and Mr Andre Heyko- Porebski, Chairman of the HFS Board, Dr. John De Courcy Consultant of the CEO of Parramatta Emeritus and his wife, Mr Nick Vidot, Principal of St Andrews College, Mr Richard Mc Guiness, former Principal of St Andrew’s Primary School., Sister Ailsa MacKinnon RSM , Vicar for Religious and Sister Joanna Zarzyczna, Assistant Provincial of Holy Spirit Province. Sisters from interstate and surrounding convents as well as other lay people filled the next pews.
On the left hand side the dance troupe Lajkonik, scouts and scout leaders, and children from Polish Saturday School. The Associates of the Holy Family from Sydney and Canberra were also present.
It was surprising that representatives of many religious congregations of brothers and sisters came from the Blacktown area to celebrate with us. Sister Grażyna Rocławska concluded the proceedings by inviting the guests to the John Paul II Hall.
After this announcement, the guests proceeded to the John Paul II Hall for a brief programme and refreshments. The hall was “packed” with guests. So much so that table seating was totally used, and the overflow of guests either sat or stood against the perimeter of the hall. The special guests, of course, sat at their own table in front of their name cards that marked their seat.
After the guests were mostly seated, Mr Leszek Mądry, the Master of Ceremonies introduced himself and the first speaker, Sister Helen Tereba, representative of Mother General, Mother Jana Zawieja. Sister Helen Tereba delivered her speech in English in segments, and this was promptly translated by Sister Grażyna Rocławska. After her presentation, Sister Helen requested that Sister Joanna Zarzyczna come to the stage to receive a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis that was arranged as a gift for the occasion. Then she presented a certificate of Appreciation to Holy Family Services and the Board for their generous donation to the school in Ghana. This was received by Mr Kevin Rocks CEO of Holy Family Services and Mr Andre Heyko-Porebski, Chairman of the HFS Board. Next, Ms Dorota Preda, Polish Vice-Consul, and Father Wiesław Słowik SJ Polish Council delivered short speeches of congratulations.
Lunch comprising Polish sausage, bigos (cabbage dish) and bread was served by the sisters, associates, scouts leaders and the catering team. During this time the children of Long Day Care with their care givers did two short dances. Lajkonik juniors sang three songs in Polish and did a dance. This was followed by the Lajkonik seniors who did a lovely folk dance as well. By this time everyone was ready for dessert-Polish Jelly doughnuts! Coffee, tea and cold drinks were self-served.
The visitors could entertain their children with the Jumping Castle and by visiting the Long Day Care. The party ended around three o’clock. A brief clean-up occurred and the hall was emptied.