Saint Pope John Paul II bust dedication
Polish Cultural Garden in Cleveland May 18, 2019
A statue of Saint John Paul II was dedicated on May 18, 2019 in the Polish Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio.
Bust of Saint John Paul II in the Polish Cultural Garden
Gene Bak, Executive Director of the Polish American Cultural Center, served as MC and welcomed the crowd. He pointed out that May 18 is the Saint's birthday.
Gene then introduced Dr. Dorota Sobieska, from the Cleveland Opera, who led the singing of the US and Polish national anthems.
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Dorota Sobieska led the singing the Polish national anthem
Gene Bak then introduced fellow PACC Director Connie Adams who thanked some of the people, such as Katie Kern-Pilch and Chris Collins, responsible for the occasion. She then introduced Dr. Wael Khoury the president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation.
Chris Collins and Katie Kern-Pilch
Dr. Wael Khoury
Dr. Khoury introduced some of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation board members in attendance including Tom Turkaly, Paul Burik, Qaisra Haider, George Terbrak, Dozia Krislaty, Svetlana Stolyarova and Dan Hanson.
Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation board members
Connie then introduced Gary Kotlarsic, VP of the Polish American Cultural Center, who gave a brief history of the Polish Garden part of the chain of gardens of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation.
Gene Bak thanked the City of Cleveland for their support and introduced Cleveland City Council president Kevin Kelley and Councilman Tony Brancatelli.
Cleveland City Council president Kevin Kelley
Gene Bak, Kevin Kelley and Councilman Tony Brancatelli
Councilmen Kevin Kelley and Tony Brancatelli
Next, Gene introduced the world renowned sculptor Andrzej Pitynski who created the bust of Saint John Paul II. He spoke in English and then in Polish. Mister Pitynski said "A monument is an expressive symbol, a good one looked at for even a few minutes will remain in memory for years or even for one's entire lifetime. Monuments are the milestones in a nation's history - they will not allow other systems and governments to destroy the core values of a national culture."
Gene also recognized Lisa Olitsky, Studio Foundry and Kathleen Jankowski, Architect.
Sculptor Andrzej Pitynski
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Gene then introduced Bishop Roger Gries and Father Jerzy Kusy for the blessing of the statue.
Bishop Roger Gries blesses the bust of Saint John Paul II
Bishop Roger Gries and Father Jerzy Kusy
Dr. Dorota Sobieska from the Cleveland Opera and her daughter Wanda and son Julian sang the ancient Polish hymn to Our Holy Mother called Bogurodzica.
Dr. Dorota Sobieska, daughter Wanda and son Julian
Members of the Slovak, Ukrainian, Polish and Serbian cultural gardens and communities placed flowers by the statue as Wanda Sobieska played the violin.
Laying of wreaths at the bust of Saint John Paul II
Zenon and Dozia Krislaty and Ukrainian community wreath
George Terbrak and Father Mike representing the Slovak community
Members of PIAST, the Polish Artistic Folk Song and Dance Ensemble under the direction of Agnieszka Kotlarsic, began their presentation with the Hejnal Mariacki (St. Mary's Trumpet Call) by Olivia Gutowski. They then offered readings in Polish about Saint John Paul II.
Hejnal Mariacki by Olivia Gutowski
Readings in Polish by PIAST Ensemble
Then the PIAST Ensemble performed traditional Polish dances.
PIAST Ensemble performing traditional Polish dance
To end the event Joe Feckanin led God Bless America and Dorota Sobieska sang Boze cos Polske.
Joe Feckanin leading God Bless America
End of the ceremony
Congratulations to Gene Bak, Andrzej Stepien, Gary Kotlarsic, Connie Adams and the Polish American Cultural Center, Polish Cultural Garden and Cleveland Polonia on this historic addition.
Gene Bak and Connie Adams
PIAST with John Paul II bust
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