Others.

…complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.

Last week we considered the question of me, will God welcome me even if I am late in responding? We were reassured in hearing that if we have taken the opportunity to come, whether the first time, as a moment of return, or even for the 23,660th time, God and His people welcome us into the kingdom.

Today, our Holy Church takes time to reflect on the work of the PNU, Spójnia – and as God provides, we are given to hear Paul’s words about others.

This is the attitude of Christ’s Church, His very body on display before the world, that we are of one mind and action in love. Love moves us to encourage each other; to compassion, mercy, and singlemindedness toward others in our work.

Spójnia was founded in 1908, 112 years ago as the Church’s love response to the persecution its members faced for their faith. We seem to think that being persecuted for the faith is something that occurred in Caesar’s Rome, or perhaps in this and the last century in Communist or other oppressive regimes. Yet, the reality is that it happened here, in Schenectady, Albany, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Scranton and wherever we gathered to pray. Faith in Christ made us objects of derision and targets for active persecution.

As with the Solemnity of Brotherly Love, the Church did not declare war, did not respond in kind toward its persecutors. Rather, when we were cast out of fraternal organizations, banks, insurance companies; when savings were lost, and tragedies came to the faithful and their families – we built regarding others as more important than ourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.

In our day, this message resonates as perhaps it has not in years. How we live as the family of faith, how we treat others, respond, and build will be the markers by which our adherence to the gospel of Jesus is measured.

Paul goes on to illustrate the great sacrifice of Jesus for others – i.e., all of us. He laid it all down for us, to the point of death, even death on a cross

As Jesus has done, so must we for others. Therefore, let us set to work in the vineyard, for God will not regard our prior failure to act or respond, but our actual action today. 

Shall we remain
blind?

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.”

Our Old Testament reading lays it all out there. Amos is drawing a very clear picture of Israel’s complacency, laziness, arrogance, and blindness. They were too busy enjoying themselves, believing they had it all – and they failed to see the collapse that was all around them. Jesus picks up this theme in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Jesus points to the ways we can be complacent, lazy, arrogant, and blind. In illustrating the way one man failed to see what was right in front of him, Jesus reminds us that we can miss what is right in front of us. Even nature, in the form of dogs, recognizes what man could not see. This is a warning – in each age we must be awake.

We have been truly blessed here in Schenectady. Our members are faithful and generous. Everyone works together to raise up the Name of Jesus. The Gospel is proclaimed and we live it. We have a very high PNU membership rate. Yet we must redouble our efforts. Awake and aware, we must lead people to Christ and his Church.

The organizers of our Church, men and women, clergy and lay, came together because their eyes were open. They didn’t just sit in their pews blindly coughing up pennies and nickels while being accused of every evil and threatened with hell. They saw the hatred of evil pastors. They saw the power of greed and the exercise of iron-fisted rule. They saw hypocrisy. They didn’t ignore it and took action – organizing a pristine Church on the model of the early Church. Eleven years later and still on alert, they saw persecution and injustice. They took action – founding Spójnia. In this day and age we must remain diligent and awake doing what is needed.

Our world and our country are faced with tremendous challenges. Yet too many eyes and ears are closed as they were in Israel. We stretch comfortably on couches, eat rich food, listen to improvisations, drink wine in excess, and anoint ourselves with the best perfumes and lotions. As people of faith we must wake the world to God’s justice and truth.

Tragically, our Church is facing dire times. National Church dues amount to $2.15 a week, yet thousands have decided the Church is not worth it. Heaven forbid they go up to $3 a week! The PNU cannot get people to join together. As Amos warned Israel: the road ahead will be captivity and disgrace. Will that be our fate? We have much to do. Eyes open and resolute it is time to rise again. Let us lead the way to salvation.

September 2014 Newsletter – Preparing for Holy Synod

August 30th and our newsletter is here two days early!

September calls us to preparation for Holy Synod and the four things we are called to do: pray, take part, suggest, and be confident. September also calls us to ask God’s blessings upon our labor and to invite friends, family, and neighbors back to church. Read reports on our summer activities and all the wonderful things our youth have been engaged in. This summer showed forth so many blessings on our community of faith. We invite you be part of these blessings right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — September 2014 Newsletter.

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January 2014 Newsletter Available

For many the holiday parties are (almost) over, the presants unwrapped, and maybe resolutions have been made – yet we followers of Christ continue to celebrate the real Christmas season. Forty days of joy with Christ born anew in us. Check out the latest parish newsletter including official announcements, reflections, music scholarships, and good information should your New Year’s resolutions include better financial management (and maybe you will add to your cash-on-hand with our Outrageous Valentine’s Raffle). You may view and download a copy right here — January 2014 Newsletter.

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New Year’s Resolution – Financial Security?

The Polish National Union of America (PNUA) and Spójnia Credit Union (SCU) are effective tools in your financial management portfolio. If you are considering getting your financial house in order for the new year, contract the PNUA and SCU which are able to provide insurance, savings, loan, and other financial products. These products are secure and helpful on a personal basis. Membership also benefits your parish and our Holy Church.

PNUA policies for youth are a great way to start your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews on the road to a lifetime of savings. Giving them the gift of an endowment or life insurance policy not only provides financial security but makes them eligible for PNUA benefits like college stipends, membership in the Spojnia Credit Union, as well as branch and district activities.

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The PNU has been providing numerous benefits to the PNCC for 105 years now and with your help we will be able to do so long into the future. Contact your parish, local PNUA representative, or the PNUA office at 1‐800‐724‐6352 or by E-mail.

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The Polish National Union and Our Church – A Partnership in Service and Love

On the fourth Sunday of September our Church offers prayers for our sister organization, the organized the PNU in 1908 when members of our Church were denied insurance coverage because they were in the PNCC. Over the years the PNU has contributed millions of dollars for our PNCC and her many programs and endeavors. Did you know that our General Synod passed the following resolution: “It shall be the moral obligation of the clergy and the laity of the PNCC to belong to the Polish National Union of America” (PNCC Constitution, page 65)?

Today the PNU needs the support of all PNCC members to continue the excellent fraternal benefits they have been providing for more than a century. For additional information on the life insurance and annuity products offered by the PNU please call them at (800) 724-6352 or visit their website.

Upcoming local and national events – let’s go!!!

What Matters to Girls

The Schenectady League of Women Voters is hosting the Working Group on Girls Community Forum, “What Matters to Girls” on Wednesday, May 22nd at 7pm at the 1st Reformed Church, 8 North Church St., Schenectady NY. The Forum is dedicated to empowering middle and high school girls and will provide information on Girl’s Day Out and Girl’s Circles programs for student participants and adult volunteers. Topics will include increasing self esteem, making healthy choices, valuing education, and expanding girl’s vision of the future.

Connecting Faith-Based Groups with the Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know about Changes in Health Insurance for Your Members

Congressman Paul Tonko is hosting a workshop on Connecting Faith-Based Groups with the Affordable Care Acton Wednesday, May 29th at The Crossings of Colonie, 580 Albany Shaker Rd., Loudonville, NY from 1—3pm. The focus of the workshop will be on providing up-to-date information on federal health insurance programs available to members of Faith-Based organizations. Representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Region II U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will be available to provide information and resources that can help make it easier to understand health insurance options.

Medicare (health insurance for people 65 and older or with long- term disability or end-stage renal disease), Medicaid (health insurance for people with limited income), and new options for expansion of health insurance that will soon be available under the Affordable Care Act will be discussed.

You may pre-register online or by calling 518-465-0700.

Youth Forum

Schenectady Youth Boxing & Fitness is sponsoring a Youth Forum on June 13th, 10am-12pm at the Fenimore Gallery at Proctors Theater, 432 State St., Schenectady, NY. The forum includes a roundtable discussion with members from community youth focused programs with a focus on sharing goals and information as well as information on upcoming summer plans. A light lunch and opportunities for networking will follow. For more information please contact Schenectady Youth Boxing & Fitness or Judy Decker by E-mail.

2013 Kurs Youth Encampment

The 2013 Kurs Youth Encampment sponsored by the Young Men’s Society of the Resurrection of the Polish National Catholic Church will be held from June 29th through July 6th at the Bishop Hodur Retreat & Recreation Center, 596 Honesdale Road, Waymart, PA. This is by far the best summer youth event anywhere. Our young people are encouraged to attend as well as to invite friends and parishioners for a summer event that builds up faith and friendships that last a lifetime.

Click on the links below for further information and forms:

National United Choirs 2013 Music Workshop

The National United Choirs Click here for details and a registration form.

Polish National Union Trip to Poland

The Polish National Union (Spójnia) is sponsoring a trip to Poland in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Żarki (Libiąż) Poland, the birthplace of Bishop Francis Hodur. The parish was built through the generosity of members of the Polish National Union. The trip will run from September 18th through 25th and includes tours of southern Polsnd including noted attrations in Kraków, Zakopane, and Żarki. For details please see the current issue of Straż. Reservations are due by June 10th.