" Kanadyjska  Ofiara"   /   "Donation  from Canada"

The following story appeared in the  newsletter : “ News from the Wilno Heritage Society “  Spring / Summer 2007 issue,  Volume 6 Number 1

Parishioners & Friends of St. Hedwig’s Barry’s Bay, Send $5000 Donation to Kashubian Parish in Borzyszkowy, Poland.

It is almost 150 years since the first Kashubs arrived in Canada, but their descendants have never forgotten their roots in Poland. This strong link with cultural heritage has been strengthened recently with the development of a Polish Kashub Heritage Museum in Wilno, Ontario as well as many heritage events and projects organized by the Wilno Heritage Society and the Polish parishes and communities. However, one of the most moving signs of our allegiance to our ancestral homeland, was shown by the parishioners and friends of the parish of St. Hedwig’s Church in Barry’s Bay - who dug deep into their wallets, and gave so generously to aid in the restoration of the historic church in Borzyszkowy, Poland. The parish Church of St. Martin was build in 1722 - 1726 and a number of our Kashubian ancestors were once part of this parish. Construction of the church followed a big fire in the village on May 17. 1721. It is one of the largest churches in the Kashubian area measuring over 210 square meters. The pine for the original church came from the Tuchola forest region. It was build using a dovetail system and the outside was covered with wooden boards. Inside, the church has one main aisle and two narrower presbyteries. The classicist main altar dates back to 1726, baroque side altar and the pulpit to 1738. The smaller bell was cast in 1722 and the big bronze bell in 1796. The bells have rung for 285 years and time has taken its toll. The church is badly in need of repairs...repairs the families of this small parish can ill afford. And so the parishioners of Borzyskowy and their parish priest, Ks. Jan Flisikowski, called upon all descendants of the parish worldwide  to help them pay for the restoration of this historic church (estimated at $72,000 of which the Polish Dept. of Culture & Historical Monuments will pay half)  Thanks to Wilno Heritage Society member, Peter von Lipinsky, we learned of their call for help (WHS Newsletter Fall / Winter 2006, V.5 N. 2 ) and remarkably, Canadian descendants from the parish and their friends in the Barry’s Bay area, not only heard the call, but answered. Their $5000.00 donation is a generous gesture of solidarity. Thanks to all who contributed to this worthy cause.

People of St. Hedwig’s we salute you!  -  

Shown in photo, a few representatives of the many donors and friends of St. Hedwig’s  -  left: Fr. Chris Shalla, ( Parish Priest ) Andy Etmanski, Clifford Blank, (Chair of church Mission Community), Anna Etmanski, Catherine Etmanski, Eva Kulas (the Sacred Heart League), and  Mary Blank, nee Glofcheskie. Fr. Chris, Andy, Anna and Mary all have ancestral roots in Borzyszkowy. A member of the Polish Oblate Order from Toronto is traveled to Poland to deliver the money to Borzyszkowy.