Monday, July 13, 2009

The Priest and the Pierogi

When a deal between bishops on two different sides of the Atlantic brought a young Polish-born priest to St Therese Catholic Church..., the parish got more than it expected... Fr Janusz Kowalski learned more than scripture as a young man. He learned to [love] pierogi. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to day the man loves pierogi- the dumplings made with two slices of rolled dough and filled with anything from finely ground, seasoned meat to sauerkraut or fresh cherries.

Kowalski came to the United States in July 2000 to help out with the priest shortage. All good, but he and the parish board agreed something was lacking, a sense of familiarity and connectedness among people who could all too easily pop in for Mass once a week and barely interact with other worshippers. Food is a great unifier, and serving breakfast between Masses would provide a set-up for more socializing and an increased sense of belonging. They also had a pressing cause to use the breakfasts as a fundraiser.

Father Kowalski suggested a twist- serve pierogi. Soon, serving pierogi a couple of times a month at church wasn't enough. They bought a freezer... and are now selling them by the dozen to all comers. [Kowalski] likes having them in the rectory, where they come in handy with his busy schedule. "Being a priest, you don't have time to cook. You always have funerals and everything and you need something good."

It would be too time-consuming for the parishioners to make enough pierogi to meet the demand. Instead, Kowalski enlisted the aid of fellow Polish-born priests in Chicago... Those priests sampled pierogi from as many outlets as they could find. Alexandra's pierogi are the best Father Kowalski has ever tasted, he says. Save for his mother's, of course.

[excerpted from City Pages]


Barb, sfo said...

Our parish (St. Casimir in Riverside, NJ) is famous in the area for its pierogi, made year-round. They sell thousands of them in bags of a dozen, and people come from far and wide when they hold a Polish Dinner.

TroyBoy said...

Well, I live in Thorp, WI and went to mass this morning only to find Father Janusz is now our priest. Very exciting to have him here!!