Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Thursday, April 26, 2007

None too happy with 30% drop

Vocations to women's religious orders have fallen sharply in Poland, while the number of priestly vocations has remained stable.

Bishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno has called attention to a 30% drop in female religious vocations over the past 20 years. The decrease is particularly acute in rural areas, the bishop notes, in part because 90% of the vocations are being fostered by lay movements, which are most active in Poland's cities.

When the corporate world has trouble recruiting enough candidates to fill positions, often times companies use ad campaigns, hire P.R. firms or send out a spokesperson to visit schools.

In the instant case, perhaps the best solution would be for Polish television to secure the syndication rights for the 1960's program "The Flying Nun" starring Sally Fields. The reruns could be dubbed in Polish and would present the vocation as a fun and fulfilling commitment.

The statistics cited by Bishop Polak show another interesting trend: a rise in the number of men over the age of 50 who are pursuing religious vocations. Maybe that's due to a not so swell pension system in Poland.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bush to visit Poland

According to the Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, President Bush will visit Poland after the G-8 conference in Germany June 6-8 to discuss a proposed missile shield. The plan calls for deployment of 10 interceptor rockets in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic by 2012 as part of a multi billion-dollar system designed to shoot down missiles from states such as Iran.

Poland's government supports the shield, saying it would boost Polish security. But public opinion is divided, with critics saying an installation could make Poland a target for terrorists.

Russian opposition to the proposal has been steadfast even though the rockets could not be used for offensive purposes.

The Bush administration is offeringRussia a new package of incentives to drop its strong opposition to American missile defense sites, including an invitation to begin linking some American and Russian antimissile systems, according to senior administration and military officials.

The continuing meat Polish meat embargo in Russia may be related to Poland's consideration of participating in the missile shield program.

The row has taken on wider proportions since Warsaw vetoed the opening of talks between the European Union and Russia on a new partnership agreement in retaliation over the embargo.
That new broad economic cooperation agreement will be aimed, among other things, at securing a reliable flow to Europe from Russia's massive oil and gas fields.

- - search earlier posts on the topic in this blog




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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Constitution Day May 5th

The Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago will be held Saturday, May 5th on Columbus Drive in Grant Park along Chicago's beautiful lakefront. http://www.may3para de.org/index. htm

The Polish Constitution Day parade celebrates the passage of Poland's remarkable May 3, 1791 constitution. http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Constitution_ of_May_3, _1791

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Words could never explain

Monday, April 16 in Oswiecim, Poland the Jewish prayer for the dead echoed across the wooden barracks and barbed wire fences of the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp as thousands young and old from around the world gathered to mourn the victims of the Holocaust. Ironically, on the same day a 76 year old Holocaust survivor, Liviu Librescu, teaching at Virginia Tech saved the lives of his students as he barricaded the classroom door with his body affording them time to escape by jumping out windows before being mortally wounded by the gunman himself.

[Related Post]

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A German Problem

The eagerly awaited asparagus season has arrived in Germany, but growers fear they will not have enough pickers for the harvest. Walter Heuer, a grower in Lower Saxony, said the movement of job-seeking Poles to the UK and Scandinavia had created problems for German growers.

"Seasonal labour is very strictly regulated here," he complained. "We have lots of paperwork."

German asparagus growers traditionally rely heavily on Polish workers.

The UK especially has experienced an influx of Poles since it opened up its labour market to the new EU member states in 2004.

Search for recruits

The German government has ruled that growers must hire at least 20% of their pickers from among German unemployed. But Mr Heuer told the BBC News website that he had experienced "big problems with unemployed Germans" hired to do the arduous harvesting.

Last year only four turned up for work on his farm out of 12 hired, he said.

The shortage of Poles had also forced him to seek Romanians to do the work, he said, adding that "Poles are better adapted to our culture".

A Lower Saxony labour office official, Michael Klinke, told the German news website Focus that the number of Polish pickers on German farms had declined.

They were drawn to the higher wages on offer in the UK and the Netherlands, he said.

It is critical for the farmers to harvest asparagus on time, as it may spoil if it stays in the ground even a week too long.

Source: BBC 4-16-07

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Flocking to Poland

Foreign tourists spent more than $7.1 billion in Poland last year. Tourist spending has been growing since 2004 when tourist spending amounted to $5.78 billion. While 2006 saw 15.7 million tourists, estimates are that in 2010 the number will go up to 18.7 million.

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Hillary tells Poles what to do

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) wrote to the Polish prime minister requesting that Poland enact a restitution law for property confiscated during the Nazi and communist eras.

Przemyslaw Gosiewski of the PM's office has stated that compensation claims of former owners who lost their property in the wake of the Second World War should be addressed to Germany and not Poland.

Commenting on Hillary Clinton's recent appeal to Polish authorities to settle the issue of Jewish property losses as speedily as possible, Gosiewski reminded the world that it was the Germans and not Poles who deprived Polish inhabitants of Jewish descent of their material wealth.

Hillary, restitute the Native Americans - Maybe Lech Kaczynski should write you a letter.

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Representative Democracy Polish Style

Most of the political parties represented in the parliament said they had counselled their members to vote according to their personal convictions instead of on party lines.

A proposed constitutional amendment that would have further tightened abortion law in Poland failed in parliament Friday. A two-thirds majority is needed for passage.

The law would have amended the country's constitution to protect human life from conception - in practice it would have led to a full ban on abortion. Currently Poland only allows abortions in cases of rape, severe birth defects or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Parties stepped aside on this issue allowing the lawmakers to vote according to their personal convictions. Thus, the MPs answer to their constituency and not party bosses.

Refreshing! Reminds me of how it was so long ago in America. Two thumbs up.

Could we hope American politics like the Poles would ever take the high road? Limme check my Spirytus bottle. Yep, it's half empty.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Remembering St. Stan from time to time

I remember my babcia Birkowska telling me as a young boy a story about St. Stan's. As a girl she lived one street over on Chambers Ave. In 1909 there was a tornado that blew the 200 foot spires off the steeple mounts. One that fell to the street killed a passer by. After the storm the City of Cleveland passed an ordinance prohibiting tall spires.

The current version of the church was built in 1891 replacing the old church that was built a decade before, but quickly became too small for the rapidly growing Polish population. The Chapel in the basement of the church is nearly as large as the 900 seat sanctuary above. In the old days Masses were simultaneous in both. With 7 to 9 priests assigned to the parish it was not difficult. At one time there were 50 nuns living in the convent.

St. Stanislaus Patron of Poland and Martyred Bishop is for whom this church is named. (not to be confessed with St. Stanislaus Kostka)

King Boleslaw was furious with the Bishop who had a dispute regarding church lands and how the king treated some nobles who put their families ahead of service to the crown. Royal guards followed the Bishop, some of whom were sent to kill the Saint. These Christian Poles dared not obey, so Boleslaw slew him. Boleslaw was excommunicated and run out of the country.

History tells us that the people of Poland turned against Boleslaw and wanted to shred him to bits. To remember his terrible deed they created a dish of shredded cabbage known today as Coleslaw. The B was changed to a C because the actual name of Boleslaw became vulgar to utter. [cite needed] So, now every time you eat coleslaw you will remember what that SOB Boleslaw did to our dear Saint. Even if this is not factual - at least you will remember St. Stan when you eat coleslaw. I think he'd appreciate that.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Polish cement producers alarmed at cuts in CO2 emissions

Polish cement producers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the EU’s decision to limit the number of CO2 emission licences to be awarded in Poland.

If the Polish government decides to reduce the number of CO2 emission licences allocated for all branches by, in practice, approx. 30%, cement makers will only be able to supply the market with 11.5 million tonnes annually, i.e. the same level of consumption as in 2003-2004, i.e. a time of severe recession in the construction sector, according to a Memorandum of the Polish Cement Association recently submitted to the Polish government. Business owners estimate that, given the present high growth in the branch, in two or three years from now demand for cement will be twice as high as it is today.

Since 2006 the domestic construction market has enjoyed a strong growth dynamic, manifested in a 21% increase in cement output, which amounts to approx. 320 kg per capita, while the average for the old EU states amounts to roughly 500 kg.

According to prognoses prepared for the NSRO (National Strategic Reference Framework) and the NPR (the National Development Plan) average annual demand in 2008-2012 will stand at 18.5 and 23.3 million tonnes, respectively.

[Polish Economy]

While Gore and the other environmental wacko types forge ahead with their voodoo science regarding man's hand in global warming, a growing number of experts refute the junk science that is poised to ruin economies around the world. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that another ice age is coming soon.
[Click Here]

View a documentary on the Global Warming Swindle [Click Here]

Thanks Al, you and the other wackos just might ruin the Polish economy for no good reason. Where is Skuba Dratewka when you need him? [Who is Skuba?]

[Polish Economy]

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Swieconka in the bilzzard

Swięconka, the blessing of Easter baskets is a tradition near and dear to the hearts of every Pole. This year making the trek back home to Cleveland from Toledo was a little more than I bargained for. While Toledo is on the extreme western part of Lake Erie and free of lake effect snow, Cleveland on the other hand was plummeted with the white stuff Easter weekend. Unusual for even the snow belt in April.

Sister Cheryl and I ventured out in sometimes near whiteout conditions to head for St. Stanislaus the Church of our baptism in Cleveland's Warsawa District. Now a Shrine Church the Holy place of worship still run by Franciscans has been immaculately restored to its original splendor.

Arriving early for the 11 AM ceremony, one of five scheduled on Holy Saturday, I snapped this picture showing the traditional pussy willow branches decorating the main aisle. Since palms are not native to Poland the pussy willows were used as a substitute in the old days. The ones blessed on Palm Sunday found their way tucked behind frames of Holy pictures in the home, where they stayed the entire year.

Visiting the tomb of Christ is part of the Easter tradition, St. Stan's displays the entombed Savior in the left side alter with an angel posted as sentinel awaiting the Resurrection. The crucifixion alter gathers together all the elements of the suffering, sorrow, death in the person of Christ and the life of every disciple.

The blessing of the baskets was bilingual. One priest officiated in the mother tongue, the other in English. The congregation need not worry if they had not yet showered this morning as the priests in typical style were very liberal with the dispensing of holy water. I dare say I was not so dowsed on Dyngus Day as I was in the pew.

Typical content of the baskets included the usual and customary eggs, paska, kielbasa, ham, salt, butter, cheese and horseradish. The lady in the pew in front of us even had a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer in her basket.

As for the snow, it didn't seem to negatively affect beast nor man. Here, one of my sister's friendly nieghbors comes to her back yard for a visit on Holy Saturday hoping we'd share a slice of freshly blessed paska.

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Heroine Irene Sendler

Soon there may be a Hollywood move of a Polish WWII heroine whose efforts to save 2,500 Jewish children putting her own life at risk.

Irena Sendler, 97 and still as sharp as a tack, was a Polish social worker who smuggled children out of the Warsaw ghetto. She kept track of them, as well as their original and new identities, burying the information in canning jars. She was arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo, tortured and sentenced to death but was saved on the way to her execution. She then continued her work while in hiding.

Her story was largely covered up after the war as the Soviets attached a stigma to those who successfully fought off occupiers.

The story was brought to light internationally about a decade ago when 4 school girls from Kansas researched her life for a term paper and were so taken by the true life story they raised money to actually track down and visit Irene in Poland.

A script writter has been hired and after the first draft they will approach a movie studio to sell the story.

At first only recognized by the Jewish children she saved, the rest of the world eventually caught onto her story, and Sendler was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace prize.

Jeff Most, one of the producers said, "It's one of the great untold stories from that war, and it's a reaffirming story that crosses religious lines. I don't know of another story like this."

More information on Irene: [Click Here]

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Polish Stork Cam

Thousands of bird lovers are homing in on a nest on top of a chimney in western Poland thanks to a webcam giving an online glimpse of the trials and tribulations of two pairs of storks.

Last year, 1.4 million visitors saw the website of Hubert Kalinski, the brains behind www.bociany.kalinski.pl.

Denny's note: The webcam pictures are good quality with a high speed connection, but you'll probably have to download a special codec. There is a link for this just under the frame where the pictures appear. Download it and click run. Install the file, then refresh the page. I can't even read Polish, but found it easy to do. If you use Windows Media Player - click the windows logo for the download of the codec.

Two couples are battling it out to occupy the nest this year. The first of them arrived at the end of March.

The nest sits on top of the chimney of a house in Chyby, a small village near Poznan in western Poland. More storks live in Poland than any other country after winter vacations in the north of Africa.

Source: AFP 4-4-07

Monday, April 02, 2007

Palm Sunday in Poland

From Radio Polskie External Service 4-1-07

Today Polish Catholics celebrate Palm Sunday. From early morning the faithful have been attending mass at their parish churches with decorative palms.

The tradition of blessing willow branches with catkins decorated with greenery on Palm Sunday made its way to Poland from Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. It is a symbolic commemoration of Christ's triumphal arrival to Jerusalem, where he obtained a royal welcome with flowers, palm leaves and general exultation. For some time, the scene of his arrival was traditionally performed in Poland, and the figure of Jesus was driven to churches on a cart. This tradition has survived to the modern times only in the locality of Tokarnia, in the south, where a procession is organized with palm leaves and Christ's figure. In other villages of the southern Karpaty region, several-meter-long willow branches decorated with tissue paper and ribbons are blessed on Easter Sunday. In another part of Poland, the mid-northern Kurpie region, the tradition of conducting processions with huge majestic stakes carved from pines wrapped with moss, springs, cranberries and flowers is still observed.

The oldest contest for the longest, or actually tallest Sunday palm is held in Lipnica. Last year’s record palm measured 30 meters and 30 centimeters, that’s well over 90 feet!

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Over priced coffee coming to Poland

It was only a matter of time.

AmRest restaurant group's Polish branch has signed a preliminary agreement to open Starbucks Corp. coffeehouse stores in central Europe, AmRest said Thursday.

Deal will close in second quarter of this year and the first shops could be opened in Poland within 10 months . The company hopes to earn at least $50 million annually from Starbucks coffee shops.
Of course it was a Pole who introduced coffee to Europe in the first place. [Click Here]

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Goldilocks Economy of Poland

Poland's 'Goldilocks" economy is luring foreign investors, winning credit-rating upgrades and pushing the currency higher. Economic expansion will be the fastest in a decade, along with one of the lowest inflation rates in the European Union according to government sources.

Poland's currency rose to 3.871 per euro outpacing the Slovakian koruna and Hungarian forint, which were among the world's top three performers in the past year. S&P upgraded Poland's long-term foreign debt rating to A- from BBB+.

The zloty may extend its advance as companies including Procter & Gamble Co., Dell Inc., and Ikea build factories and stores in Poland, and demand for the nation's exports increases.

Not too hot, not too cold. Just right for long term growth. Now, if the Polish economy could only find shoes to match.

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Polish Food Ailse 5

It just became easier to eat Polish in the U.K.

Heinz has launched their Pudliszki brand in England, which is the iconic brand in Poland. It's the favorite with shoppers having five times greater sales than its nearest rival.

Products include many traditional Polish recipes such as stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce and pork tripe in chicken broth. Heinz is the first major food producer to introduce a range of food to the UK which has previously been sold exclusively in Poland.

There are at least 750,000 Poles now living in the UK, 2 per cent of the total Polish population. In Manchester alone there are 80,000 Poles. They will all tell you that they think Polish food is better. They particularly say they hate the English sausages.

Several Polish food stores have opened up in Banbury, after the Oxfordshire town's population was estimated to be 10 per cent Polish.

Heinz plans to sell 13 Pudliszki products, with ready meals such as pork and beef goulash and beef tripe in tomato sauce priced at about $3.95.

A Heinz spokesman said: "In the past couple of years there has been asignificant rise in the number of Polish restaurants, cafes and delicatessens in the UK and so the chances are that UK consumers may have already tried some Polish products. "We have worked with our people in Poland to come up with a range which not only includes family favorites but also the seasonal products which, ordinarily, Polish residents would eat only a few times of the year.