Lay volunteers honored with Immaculata Awards

   The McCanns were surprised to learn they were both Immaculata Award recipients this year. “We were really humbled,” said Marie.

   “I think the award is a very nice thing to do,” stated Hank. “It’s good for us, but it’s also good for St. John’s to get recognition as a parish.”

   The McCanns look forward to continuing their volunteering efforts in the parish and encourage others to volunteer as well. “People have to participate to make an organization go,” stated Hank. “You have to do your job, do what’s expected and when people turn out, it makes things much more lively.”
   
   Mary Popielarz from St. Stephen the King Parish in Oswego became involved in parish work as a young mother. A native of Poland, Popielarz, who has served the parish for 66 years, believed that volunteering for the church was an important way to keep not only her family strong, but to pass on Polish traditions to the younger people in the parish.

    “My children attended religious education at St. Stephen’s and I helped with all kinds of things,” stated Popielarz. “I sewed costumes for the yearly summer school plays and helped the sisters that were here during the summer months.”

   One of the most interesting efforts Popielarz became involved in was rolling dough for thousands and thousands of pierogies for the parish festivals over the years.

   “It was hard work but with everyone working together it was a good
time,” said Popielarz. “The older parishioners had a chance to teach the younger people how to prepare Polish food.”

   Pastor of St. Stephen the King, Father Gregory Kreinheder, stated in his nomination form that he couldn’t even begin to account for all the volunteer activities Popielarz had been involved in through the years.

   “Rolling pierogies for the festival and serving in the Rosary Society just scratches the surface of all that Mary has done in her many years of service,” Father Kreinheder said.

   At 99, Popielarz may not be making thousands of pierogies any longer, but she still helps out at the annual parish festival.

   “This year she sold coffee and cake and was glad to have a chance to see everyone who came from the parish,” stated Popielarz’s daughter Anne.

   Popielarz was surprised but honored to be nominated for an Immaculata Award.

    “We are a parish family and families need to help each other and their church,” stated Popielarz. “Volunteering any time you are able to and supporting our church is important to keeping our parish alive and strong.”

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