Montreal is a city with many great parks. One of my favorites is Angrignon Park (Parc Angrignon in French). With a surface area of 97 hectares it is among the largest in the city. It has four artificial lakes, including a very large and long one that nearly spans the entire park end-to-end. It also has large areas of forest boasting a tree count of over 20,000. This park is especially beautiful during the fall and that is why I enjoy going for long walks there. Today I have taken a few photos and would like to share the colorful beauty of this park with you:
Today in Poland and the Polish diaspora we celebrate two feasts which are more connected than you might think. What do the Polish Armed Forces have to do with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven, you might ask?
To answer that, let’s start by a brief history of the origins of the Feast of the Polish Armed Forces (also known as Armed Forces Day or Święto Wojska Polskiego in Polish). It commemorates the anniversary of the 1920 victory over Bolshevik invaders at the Battle of Warsaw during the Polish–Soviet War. That victory is so significant for the history of the world that many historians count it among the most decisive battles of the world. The Viscount D’Abernon names it as the eighteenth most decisive battle of the world and Fuller, J.F.C. lists it in his book “The Decisive Battles of the Western World”.
Why was that battle so important? After a successful revolution in Russia which started in 1917, the Bolsheviks were planning to invade the rest of Europe to spread the revolution. That plan was not as far-fetched as you might think because the Bolsheviks had a lot of sympathizers in Germany after its defeat in World War I. So what stood in the way of a world-wide Bolshevik revolution? You guess it! – Poland. It wouldn’t be the first time, given that Poland has a long history of shielding Europe from such invasions: the Mongols or the Ottomans to name a few.
After initial successes against the Bolsheviks in 1919, the next year wasn’t going so well and the Bolsheviks were gaining ground until they reached Poland’s capital city, Warsaw. Things were looking bleak and the world’s indifference was not helping either (with one notable exception, the Hungarians were sending help in the form of weapons and volunteer soldiers.) Everything seemed to point to the inevitable fall of Warsaw, but then it happened – the battle that saved Poland and the world, which would later be known as the “Miracle at the Wisła” (Polish: “Cud nad Wisłą”).
This brings us to the connection with the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. It is my belief that it wasn’t a coincidence that such a victory happened on that special day. After all, the Blessed Virgin Mary is Queen of Poland, since king John II Casimir Vasa entrusted Poland under her protection and announced her as The Queen of the Polish Crown during the Lwów Oath in 1656. That connection with the Virgin Mary as protector of Warsaw during the battle was portrayed by Polish painter Kossak in his famous painting, which I had to attach to this post. Continue reading Happy Feasts of the Polish Armed Forces and of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven!
This past couple of months were quite busy for me. Aside from the work involved in running my business, I have attended a few major events.
First of all, on May 14, I went to the National March for Life in Ottawa. According to Campaign Life Coalition the official number of people that attended the march this year was as high as 25,000, which is a record high for Canada (of course the one in Washington, D.C. easily reaches the hundreds of thousands, but their total population is also 10 times bigger, so it’s understandable.) Below are some of the photos I took during the march:
Today is Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day. I wish all the best to my Hungarian and Polish readers! LONG LIVE HUNGARY & POLAND!
Our two nations have a lot of history in common. The kingdoms of Poland and Hungary have been in personal union more than once and they have been allies for most of their history. There is even a popular bilingual proverb about our shared friendship.
“Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki, i do szabli, i do szklanki, oba zuchy, oba żwawi, niech im Pan Bóg błogosławi.”
“Lengyel, magyar – két jó barát Együtt harcol s issza borát Vitéz s bátor mindkettője Áldás szálljon mindkettőre.”
Translated into English:
“Pole and Hungarian cousins be, good for fight and good for party. Both are valiant, both are lively, Upon them may God’s blessings be.”
When I saw an announcement on my Facebook feed about this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., I knew I had to go. Even though I live in Montreal and the plane for D.C. was departing from Toronto, I didn’t want to miss out on this great oppotunity, so I made it work.
On our first day in Washington, D.C., it snowed 2 cm and it paralyzed the city completely. So apparently we brought winter with us, as the locals joked. But it all melted the next morning so we could enjoy a snowless day in the middle of January, which for Canadians is pretty unusual.
That same day, we attended the March for Life Youth Rally with interesting speakers from the prolife movement. What stood out most for me was one of the speakers mentioning that studies have shown that more women are pro-life than men. This was later also mentioned by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley during his homily at the March for Life Vigil Mass, which we attended. Apparently, there were over 25,000 people who attended that mass. I don’t know the exact number, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was even more, given that the entire National Shrine (which is absolutely huge!) was completely full. With no more places to sit, people would stand on the sides and in the adjoining chapels, as well as underground where our group had to go due to a lack of space. Fortunately, there were some television screens set up there so that we could watch and participate in the mass. This was quite an uplifting experience: never before had I witnessed so many people praying together.
The fact that so few men take a pro-life stance gave me a lot to think about. It is not just a women’s issue, as we are consistently told every time we bring up abortion in a conversation. It is crucial that we take a stand for what is right! Just like bringing a new life into this world requires the involvement of both a man and a woman, both should take equal responsibility for their unborn child. It is a sad state of affairs that in today’s society men are so often afraid to take responsibility and instead would prefer to run away from it and “get rid of the problem”. A child is not a “problem” to be solved; it is a responsibility and a gift to be cherished. Yes, it takes courage and self-sacrifice, but after all, that is the mark of a true man!
The next day in the morning, after the rally, our group of Canadians set up banners in front of the Canadian Embassy. The embassy was on the street where the march was passing through and so everyone could see us supporting our American brothers and sisters in their fight for life as well as protesting against the unjust abortion laws in Canada (which are a lot worse than in the USA due to the lack of any restrictions). I was surprised how well we were received and how little negative reactions there were from the general public. According to the Vatican Radio, there were as many as half a million people at the march, although some of the main-stream media would downplay it to about 200,000 people. Whatever the true number was, the crowd seemed endless. Standing in front of the Canadian Embassy, we saw multitudes of people passing by us every minute. Counting them would likely result in quite a headache! I saw the flags of nearly every US state (yes, I recognized most of them, because flags are an interest of mine) and banners of nearly every Catholic organization I have heard of, as well as of hundreds of different parishes and schools. Of course there were also a lot of representatives of other Christian denominations as well as adherents of other faiths and secular movements.
It was wonderful and inspiring to see how many young people stood up for the voiceless unborn children who have been denied human rights. Such courage and enthusiasm gives a lot of hope and shows the world that every life is sacred and needs to be protected. I will be encouraging my friends to attend next year’s march, as well as the Canadian National March for Life in Ottawa this May, because faith requires action!