Nowhere else was the anticipation of Pope John Paul II’s May 1st beatification greater than at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Brooklyn, New York.  Prayers for his sainthood began in earnest the day he died, just six years earlier. 

Nowhere else were they as ardent and as hopeful as they were at this famous landmark church that began serving Greenpoint’s Polish immigrants as far back as the 19th century.  Because Father Marek Sobczak C.M. was observing his 30th anniversary of the day he first became a priest, what could be a better way to honor both their pastor and the pope than at a special mass celebrated at the church which now stands on land the City of New York had renamed “John Paul II Square?”

 And which could be a better group to lead the prayers and the tribute to their pastor and the pope than the children of the parish’s Maria Konopnicka Polish Supplementary School?  So, nearly a month before the Vatican would be proclaiming Pope John Paul II “Blessed,” this special mass was celebrated by Rev. Jaroslaw Lawrenz C.M. on Sunday morning, April 3rd  with St. Stanislaus Kostka Church overflowing with worshipers. 

 Under the direction of their principal, Danuta Bronchard, and Grazyna Michalska, the Maria Konopnicka children brought smiles to most everyone, and tears of joy to some, as the congregation listened to them speak about the Pope and listened to them sing some of the same Polish hymns John Paul II loved to sing himself.

 In the church and at the reception that followed, Father Marek’s parishioners extended their congratulations and best wishes to their pastor on his special anniversary.  It was a spirit-lifting and memorable Sunday morning for everyone.  It was the beginning of a holy month that would be commemorating the passion and resurrection of Christ and ending with a Polish pope taking another step on his way to sainthood.