2015 Annual Report

St. Mary’s Polish Parish

Annual Report

Submitted to the Annual General Meeting on May 15, 2016

Pastor’s Letter for the AGM

Dear Friends,

2016 – hard to believe how quickly time flies! Only a year and a half ago we were looking at the ashes of our beloved old St. Mary’s Church. Now, out of those ashes has arisen a new and beautiful St. Mary’s Church. How proud your ancestors and loved ones must be as they watch over you from heaven! Before long we will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in this new building dedicated to the worship of God. It will also provide you with a weekly gathering place for family and friends. Indeed, we have much for which to be thankful.

I want to express my thanks to all those who are involved in the life of the parish in any capacity, but especially in its administration. It takes a lot of time and commitment to oversee the weekly running of any parish. St. Mary’s Polish Parish is blessed to have so many people who willingly offer their talents and experience to ensure the spiritual and material well being of the parish. It is part of your baptismal vocation as the People of God to step forward joyfully and humbly to serve God by serving your parish and fellow parishioners. It also makes the Pastor’s ministry much easier.

May God continue to watch over St. Mary’s Polish Parish for many years to come. May your life in our new church be a testament to all people of your love for God and His Universal Church. May Our Lady of Czestochowa also deign to watch over us.

God bless each and every one of you.

Father Paul K. Murphy
Pastor – St. Mary’s Polish Church, 2016


Za pełną radość poczytujcie to sobie, bracia moi, ilekroć spadają na was różne doświadczenia2. 3 Wiedzcie, że to, co wystawia waszą wiarę na próbę, rodzi wytrwałość.”
List św. -- Jakuba 1:2-3
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
James 1:2-3

Drodzy Parafianie! Dear Fellow Parishioners:

On behalf of the Rada Duszpasterska, please accept this as an expression of heartfelt thanks … for your faith, kindness, generosity and dedication.

As a parish, we have persevered in the face of incredible difficulty. Through prayer, hard work, and the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, we have survived and even thrived as a community. Together, and with the help of so many others, we have been rebuilding our church – a church of open doors and open hearts.  This has been the work of many hands – a work of solidarity, a work that will endure.

A “serdeczny Bóg zapłać” must be extended to so many people:

  • To the people who serve in all our parish ministries: our Pastor, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, altar servers, ushers, greeters – for your joyful service week after week.
  • To all members of our Rada for going above and beyond in navigating the parish – with faith, calm diligence, and skill, and in responding effectively to crises and complex situations.
  • To the members of our hard-working committees that help keep our parish running and vibrant, and that link us to other people and to resources: Finance, Hospitality, Fund-raising, Sacred Objects, Care Group, Time Capsule, event committees, the working groups that assisted in the major job of insurance inventorying, and other task groups that saw us through projects or challenges.
  • To everyone who accompanied fellow parishioners and others in need or homebound: with visits, cards, calls, prayers, and help in any way. It is truly appreciated.
  • To our various construction workers from the various companies, to our architect, and to our construction management company. They have shown great pride in the work, and it is a pleasure to work with them.
  • To our insurance company and to our many, many generous donors for making the rebuilding possible.
  • To our extraordinary friends of all backgrounds and all walks of life, from across Cape Breton and around the world. What a joy it has been to be part of special services, dinners and fund-raising concerts, and special presentations by people who reached out to us. What a pleasure it was to see the steeple and cross and so many other features come about because of local expertise and a desire by people of all generations to be part of a project that has brought so many people together.
  • To our choir for representing us so well with the beauty of your voices and the treasure trove of our spiritual hymns.
  • To all who have worked hard to maintain our Polish traditions, to teach the language, to keep alive our special prayers and liturgies.
  • To all who have assisted with youth education and ministry – and to the youth members of our parish for your ongoing dedication.
  • To our talented webmaster and to all who helped with communications and promotions throughout the year.
  • To our five parishioners who celebrated their First Holy Communion and our three fellow parishioners who celebrated their first Holy Communion. May you continue to grow and thrive in faith and service.
  • To our esteemed elders, who shared so much of their wisdom and knowledge as we navigated through challenging times.
  • To the St. Michael’s Polish Benefit Society for keeping up the Polish Village Hall as a much-needed hub and helping with the rebuilding.
  • To the Pogoria Polish Folk Ensemble for continuing to be an excellent ambassador of our history, culture, and traditions.
  • To members of local firms who gave us much-needed and detailed legal advice as we worked through the aftermath of the fire and the rebuilding process.

And a big thank you to all parishioners for your thoughtfulness and input. The process of rebuilding has been truly collective – both in work and in design. Let our new church be a reflection of God, the Blessed Mother and a reflection of us all – our commitment to others and our commitment to the next generations.

Zdrowaś Maryjo,
łaski pełna, Pan z Tobą,
błogosławionaś Ty między niewiastami
i błogosławiony owoc żywota Twojego, Jezus.
Święta Maryjo, Matko Boża,
módl się za nami grzesznymi
teraz i w godzinę śmierci naszej.




Hospitality Committee:

WOW!!  It was another busy year for the men and women of the Hospitality Committee.  I cannot thank them enough for their help and generous support.

It is so important to know that as members of the Hospitality Committee, we get to help, support and promote our Polish Heritage (Swieconka Breakfast, Oplatek Supper, Workshop with the Boys and Girls Club of Whitney Pier featuring a Polish luncheon, Polish language and History of Poland).  These are a few of our many accomplishments.

The Hospitality Committee always appreciates help from anyone who can lend a hand.  Please feel welcome to come on board!

-Submitted by Peggy Ryba


What is the role of a greeter?

Greeters welcome and assist all guests and members who enter the church. First impressions people have of a church are so important. A firm handshake, a gentle hug, a warm smile or a friendly hello can be simple gestures but powerful tools to ensure everyone is genuinely welcomed.

Over the past year, the committee has been actively involved in church life, participating in special celebrations and parish events. The role of the greeter is fulfilled not just inside the church circulating weekly Sunday bulletins but also outside the church. In August 2015, members of the greeters’ committee presented red and white ribbons to the people gathered at the church site for the blessing of the grounds. In October, greeters congregated at the O’Connell House and helped hand out exterior colour voting forms. Members of the committee also assisted in January 2016 with passing out the fund-raising post cards. During the blessing of the Easter basket in March, tulips were distributed.

St. Mary's Polish Parish is blessed with wonderful, devoted volunteers and this committee is another example of that.

Many thanks to everyone for their commitment and outstanding call to service. The committee looks forward to happily serving our parish in the coming year. Our members are Marjorie Ardelli, Shirley Ardelli, Victoria Aucoin, Stephanie Black, Mary [Micka] DiPenta, Teresa Fagan, Carolyn Kiley, Patricia Kiley, Toni LaRusic, Janina MacCormack, Joan Mosher, Peggy Ryba, Catherine and Herb Tucker, and Anna Wesolkowska.

New members are always welcomed!

-Submitted by Marjorie Ardelli

Sacred Objects and Art Working Group Report 2016:

Members, Marjorie Ardelli, Anne Marie Campbell, Evelyn Cook, Teresa Fagan, Janet Hawthorne, Carolyn Kiley, Frania McKay, Shauna McKay, Sheri McKay, Lynette Ryba, and Tom Urbaniak established the Sacred Objects and Art Working Group on March 22 2015 in order to acquire necessary church items that were lost in the fire.

Over the past year, much has been collected from many people, parishes and organizations that stretch from our home Cape Breton Nova Scotia, to Wisla Manitoba, across the States and as far away as Poland!

To recognize all the wonderful individuals and to itemize all the numerous religious articles, objects, goods and things is too extensive for this brief summary but suffice to say that due to the extreme thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity shown to our parish, we have the necessary items to celebrate mass in our new St. Mary’s Polish Church.

Thank you everyone.

Thank you God.

-Submitted by Marjorie Ardelli


The parish’s 2015 financial statements were also distributed by the Finance Committee, and reviewed by parishioners at the Annual General Meeting on May 15, 2016. For a copy, please contact the parish office.