2016 Annual Report



Walne Zebranie Roczne – 11-ego czerwca 2017 roku
Presented at the Annual General Meeting on June 11, 2017

Description: Image result for St. Mary's Polish Church reopening

Description: Image result for St. Mary's Polish Church reopening

[Images of final preparations before the re-opening of St. Mary’s Polish Church, June 2016]


Dear Parishioners of Saint Mary’s,

As is the tradition for a number of years, an annual report to the parish family is made at this time of the year. The pastor or administrator also writes a message for the report.

I have had the privilege to be your parish priest again for nearly the last nine months. I want to again congratulate all of you, the parishioners. I also especially want to thank those who have worked and sacrificed so much time and labour over the past two and a half years, since the tragic fire. You have succeeded in building a new church and hall and ensured the continuation of this faith community that was founded by your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and other ancestor relatives over 104 years ago.

Despite the new church and soon the fully completed hall and kitchen, as a parish, we face challenges that are common to all parishes of the diocese, Cape Breton in general and also in some ways to most of Atlantic Canada. Those challenges are the demographic situation as we continue to lose population through death, migration out of the region, declining birthrates and the spiritual faith crisis in an increasing secular and material world that is not only indifferent, but at times hostile to Christian and Catholic values and beliefs. As an ethnic parish, the problem is even more magnified with the lack of any new Polish-speaking parishioners coming to our area. In general, all of North America’s Polonia communities are facing similar problems and challenges, but generally not as severe as we do.

In the future, we need to continue to be open to all who are attracted to our church and wish to worship with us and be part of our faith community regardless of their ethnicity and make them feel comfortable here. I am sure they will respect and even come to love the uniqueness of our Polish Catholic heritage and traditions.

I realize that you have had long periods of when priestly leadership of a pastor has been lacking, but you have made up for that with your own involvement in providing lay leadership. Lay leadership in the Parish Rada has succeeded in bringing many parishioners to become involved in parish life.

This will continue to be very necessary in the future as I will likely (God and health permitting) be with you for just one more year to July, 2018. Meanwhile, I work to see the best possible solution for providing pastoral and priestly care for the parish in the future.

May the Lord bless each and every one of you for your generosity, involvement and your loving support of your parish and your parish priest.

Your Parish Priest,
Father Rich
Rev. Richard Philiposki S.Chr.

“Open Doors and Open Hearts”


The past year has been very momentous for our parish. With God’s help, and the love and support of so many people in our community and beyond, our church was rebuilt and re-opened. And, we began Phase 2 of the construction (Sala 1050).

We did this while never losing our bearings as a faith community animated by our rich and spiritually meaningful Polish cultural traditions, and while trying to live the Gospel message through service to others. We presented and lived out a positive testimonial of Christianity. May it continue for many years to come.

From the bottom of our hearts, we wish to thank our fellow parishioners:

  • To all who assisted with the planning, oversight, and hands-on-work of construction. (We are likewise grateful to all of our contractors and volunteers for their professionalism and the great pride they put into their work.)
  • To all who serve in various parish ministries: Eucharistic Ministers, lectors, greeters, altar servers, and other ministries.
  • To members of all the parish committees. Please know that your volunteer work is not taken for granted and is crucial to the maintenance, good functioning, outreach and vitality of our church.
  • To our tireless Hospitality Committee and all who worked on the many fund-raising events and extensive food preparation.
  • To our cherished choir for enriching our lives of faith and service, and for all you did in connection with the rebuilding and the re-opening.
  • To the St. Michael’s Polish Benefit Society and the Pogoria Polish Folk Ensemble for your continued and tireless support.
  • To our dedicated Altar Society.
  • To the youth of our parish, who have been integral to parish life in so many ways: in various ministries, helping with the Time Capsule Committee, the dinner theatre and other fund-raising events!
  • To our dedicated Care Committee, who continued to reach out to parishioners and others who are homebound and who appreciate the prayers, greetings and assistance.
  • To all who made the Open House for our rebuilt church (attended by more than 1,000 people!) and the Mass of Dedication so moving and spiritual.
  • To our youth who represented us so well last year at World Youth Day in Poland.
  • To all who assisted in the parish’s community service projects, as we strove to fulfill the Gospel Message – the contributions to Loaves and Fishes, the Thanksgiving flood-relief contributions, and in so many other ways.
  • To all who worked so hard caring for the church’s property and grounds.
  • To everyone who has been involved in the planning – and who will participate – in the 2017 pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Poland.
  • To the young people and their families who are involved in religious-education classes. Thank you for keeping our faith and sharing it.

We would like to warmly acknowledge Father Rich Philiposki and the Society of Christ for caring about us and for us, and for re-establishing your presence here. This truly means a lot.

We likewise will never forget those who have come before us … We are building on your shoulders! And we pray for our fellow parishioners who are ill or homebound.

We look forward to the years ahead. We are inspired by the spirit of collaboration -- and warmth and welcome -- that prevails here. We are deeply grateful to our ancestors and predecessors for the legacy they have left us.

We will try to honour them by loving God, loving our neighbours, and carrying out the Gospel message in a troubled world.

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. Amen.