Oplatek celebration for Polish Catholics in Maine scheduled for Portland on December 26

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PORTLAND – Polish Catholics together will renew a special tradition at St. Louis Church at 279 Danforth Street in Portland with a traditional oplatek gathering, Christmas carols, worship and mass on December 26, the first Sunday of Christmas . All are welcome to attend any part of the gathering.

In many Polish homes around the world, a beloved family tradition is the breaking of the oplatek on Christmas. The Oplatek is a thin wafer made from flour and water that is often rectangular in shape and embossed with Christmas-related images varying from the manger to the Star of Bethlehem. Oplatek aims to remind families of the Eucharistic bread at Mass and establishes an additional link between Christmas and the gift of the Eucharist, the presence of God among us.

The festivities will begin with a mass in Polish at 4 pm, celebrated by Fr. Robert Będziński. Mass will be followed by a traditional gathering of opłatek and Christmas carols in Polish. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession will be offered from 3.30 p.m.

St. Louis Church is the only Polish Catholic church in the Diocese of Portland. At the time of its creation (1915), around 250 Polish families lived in the region. The red brick church, which still stands today, opened in 1924. While the Polish immigrants who built St. Louis Church were those who arrived at the end of the 19th century or during the First World War II, there would have been subsequent waves of immigration during World War II and again in the 1980s, during the days of the workers’ solidarity movement and political turmoil that ultimately led to the fall of communism. Although St. Louis is now home to parishioners from several different cultures, many religious and cultural traditions imported from Poland are still adopted here, including the blessing of baskets, the creation of Pisanki (colored Easter eggs) and an open-air procession. . for the feast of Corpus Christi, among others.

For more information, contact the parish at 207-773-7746.

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