April 18 marked the 20th anniversary of the beatification of Blessed Mary Angela, who founded the Felician order of nuns. She is also the patroness of Blessed Mary Angela Parish in Dunkirk.
To mark the occasion, Sister Raymond Kasprzak CSSF, who attended the beatification ceremony in Rome, spoke to members of the parish, one formed by combining the city’s St. Hyacinth’s and St. Hedwig’s parishes.
Beatification is an act of the Pope who declares that a deceased person lived a holy life and is worthy of public veneration; a first step toward canonization – being recognized as a saint.
The beatification of Mother Mary Angela is intimately connected to Dun-kirk since the Vatican-certified miracle that made the beatification possible is at-tributed to the late Lillian Halasinski, who was a parishioner of St. Hyacinth church in Dunkirk. Halasin-ski suffered from diabetic neuropathy in her left leg which was cured after asking for Mother Mary Angela’s intercession. Doc-tors could find no medical explanation for the cure.
According to parishioner Carol Kozlowski, “The parishioners continue to pray for her (Blessed Mary Angela’s) canonization so that the universal church will benefit from the example of her holiness.”
Keeping with the healing theme, on April 19 the parish celebrated a St. Peregrine healing mass. Many of the sick of the community were anointed and prayed over.
On April 20-21, Blessed Mary Angela Parish held a ministry showcase during which members of the various ministries staffed displays to highlight their efforts. Saturday, the displays were housed in the lyceum at the St. Hyacinth’s site. On Sunday, displays were at the St. Hedwig’s social center.
According to the Rev. Matthew M. Nycz, “It was an effort to raise awareness for parishioners at large about the many ministries in the church. In addition, many who belong to a particular ministry had a chance to see the larger picture. To many people it was an eye-opener.”
Displays were prepared by the Usher’s Club, Grounds and Decorations Committee, Faith Forma-tion Faculty, Marriage Encounter Committee, Holy Name Society, Sunshine Committee, Respect Life Committee, Eucharistic Ministers, Choir, Rosary Society, Rosary Makers, Our Lady of Fatima Society, Bingo Committee, Festival Committee, Altar Servers, Lectors, Bible Study Committee, Youth Ministry, and Kids’ Club. Others set up special displays concerning Blessed Mary Angela, Polish heritage, and past and future pilgrimages.
According to Patricia Bialaszewski who staffed the choir booth at both sites, “Parishioners were surprised how many ministries are active. Hopefully, some of the people will decide to get involved.”
Father Nycz said, “Groups took great pride in the displays. A raffle was held for those who attended and each group had a gift (to be raffled). They explained what the ministry was about and encouraged new members. … The Holy Name Society got four new members which was a nice bonus. It was a social time for the parish and food and cookies were served.”
He concluded, “The people were pleased with the event. Those who came out were educated, informed, and encouraged. We would like to repeat this once a year.”
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