My family adheres to the Polish tradition of attending Mass on December 26th for the feast of St. Stephen, who is recognized as the first martyr of the Catholic church. Over the past couple of years, the day after Christmas has been the only time during the year that I would attend a Mass in Polish. I always look forward for the opportunity to go to the service in the language and culture I’ve grown up with. From my experience, Polish Masses are more solemn and formal than other Masses I’ve attended, which I like. I also enjoy the music, particularly Christmas carols at this time of year. What I admire most is the size of the crowd at Polish Masses. The church is always full, as seen in the photo above (there was even a back room with filled chairs and standing attendees). I admire how even after they emigrated from their homes, the Poles have remained loyal to their traditions and religion. It brings a sense of community and pride for my background.
Other happy tokens for attending the Mass was visiting the beautiful chapel that had once served as a restaurant, and running into a high school friend with whom I exchanged holiday wishes and updates on what we’ve been up to.