Monday, January 30, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Monday: Random thoughts, still a way's to go.

Where are all the Catholics?

I thought about writing a whole post about this, but I don't have the energy right now, and it's not *that* big a deal, but worth mentioning. Poland is a "Catholic country" meaning the majority of it's citizens consider themselves Catholic, whether they are actually practicing or not. Much like America as a whole considers itself a Christian country, whether we are all practicing or not. So, in the course of the last 9 months or so I have contacted, and been contacted by many American ex-pats, Polish Americans living in America, and  Poles, living in Poland...and only one of them has been a church- going Catholic and she is actually living in the U.S. I've got to find some people who are practicing Catholics, that speak English,  live in Krakow and who have young children, is that too much to ask? ;)

So, calling all English speaking Catholics living in Krakow - American, Polish, Japanese, what have you.... some questions...
- Where is the best English mass for us to attend in Krakow? I know St. Giles in the Old Town has an English mass at least twice a month, maybe every weekend...right? (the last time we were there Felix had an "accident" in the narthex, I hope they don't remember us.)
- What about Reconciliation in English...where is the best place to go?
- Have any of you been able to have your children go through Sacraments with an English speaking priest ( a Polish priest is fine but it would be nice if he also spoke English), or is it totally up to your parish?
- What kind of youth groups do the local Parishes have for younger children? Is it easy to join?
- Are there such a thing as women's Bible study groups or faith groups led by lay people? Martin says this is rare to non-existent but maybe he's wrong. And how crazy would I seem for wanting to start one? "Excommunicated crazy" or just "don't invite her in for tea" crazy. I can't really afford either.
- I have so many more questions just about Church/faith life/parish activities/Sacrament preparation in general...please contact me!
    p.s. We have lots of family in Poland who are Catholic and have been through all of these things themselves. I am looking for people who have come from outside the country so they can give me a bit of perspective on the similarities and differences between, say, America, and Poland, in these areas.

Grocery shopping...

Martin actually said that we could use the grocery delivery available in Krakow. Grocery DELIVERY? Are you kidding me? This, and this alone is a good reason to move to Europe (or any other city in the US that has grocery delivery, a.k.a. not Austin suburbs). Grocery shopping with 4 children, while fun sometimes, is also one of those things that I have to "gear up" for. If we go grocery shopping it usually takes anywhere from 1-2 hours, because we go slowly and take our time and try to enjoy it. It also means a lot of running after Hejjo and Felix as they "explore" in and out of the towers of toilet paper and diapers while keeping Lina from climbing out of the cart to go look at the live lobsters. It is the only thing we do that day because at the end of it I am wiped out. Groceries, delivered to my doorstep (some places even deliver certain items 24 hours a day)?   Yes, please!
   p.s Do Poles actually use this service very often? Is it wicked expensive? Between this and home-schooling will I ever have to leave the house?

The language.

I'm mad at the Polish language. Mad at it. It's hard and it's complicated. And every time I think I've got something figured out, it's wrong. And I'm mad at it. I resent it and I am avoiding it. I'll get over it. But it's going to take some time. There are so many things I want to do in Poland. So many big and wonderful things for our family. I have to speak the language. I have to! But just imagine if someone were to walk up to you and tell you that for everything that you ever dreamed about doing, you could do it, it's right there in front of you.... but first, you have to learn Chinese, or Swahili, or Khoisan (the language of sounds similar to pops and clicks). You would do it, right? Of course you would. And so will I. But I might have a mean face, like this...

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..the whole time.  That will make it better, and easier,  right? ;)

Plane Tickets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Purchasing them this week!
Time to "put a  stake in the ground" as Martin says. Woo hoo! A real honest to goodness departure date...finally...and for all of you wondering about Visas, etc. Martin contacted the Polish Consulate and he says to just take care of everything over there. AWESOME! So, no special paperwork or extra documents needed other than the few we have to be translated that we have in the works. Such a relief! One more little speed bump removed from our path.

Speaking of smoother paths...

Our Polish home-schooling contact just texted Martin this morning that we will take care of all the paperwork and curriculum and registration when we get there and he will help us the whole way, and it will be done before the beginning of the school year in September, no worries. Amazing! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

Until tomorrow..I hope your Monday is filled with energy and excitement for the week to come!


  1. Hi-
    The date is approaching. How daunting and how wonderfully exciting for you all!

    I cannot help you with the Kraków/church related issues, but you may look into having a "Religia" teacher from school (from regular, public school) come to your home (when you are home-schooling) to instruct your children. It probably wouldn't be too expensive (and may even be free)and would be a great contact in the church who could help you navigate the churches/sacraments, etc.

    Where I live, a lot of people use the grocery delivery. You order on-line and they bring it to your door. Usually if you spend a certain amount, the delivery is really cheap or free (remember a tip for the delivery person). Sometimes you get broken eggs or some either problem, but much less of a hassle than taking the kids to the store. It will get easier after you get to know the brands and quantities.

    Good luck with all your preparations.

    1. Ok, so I guess I just need to figure out what the requirements are for the Sacraments and see if I can fulfill those at home or if the *have* to take a class somewhere or through the Church, etc. This was my plan, I was just hoping there was a simple answer but I'm guessing there isn't.

      Yea for grocery delivery! I am glad to know that people use it and it won't just make us the snobby ones to have it all delivered to out door. I am excited about this for those times when I realize that I am out of a few things and just don't want to wrangle them all into the car.

      Thanks for commenting, Chris. Your information and advice is invaluable!

  2. Hi Olivia,

    Don't worry about the language too much, I know a lot of American / British people that learned very decent Polish after they moved here. It's much easier when you're over here, exposed to it every day. Plus, most of us speak English :D

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Agata! I keep tellign Martin that I will pick it up when I get there, no problem, but for some reason I just don't have the confidence that it will happen. But it has to, so there's that. ;)

      If we ever meet you are forbidden to speak English to me! (until after about 5 min. where I totally give up trying to figure out what you're saying and demand that you speak my native tongue...sigh)

  3. Grocery stores on line:

    You can look now! :)- compare prices and assortment. Och - and learning Polish at last. Photos are "international" but description are in Polish only.

  4. That MAYBE culture shock for you, but Polish Catholicism is much more passive than those American (that my opinion).
    In US it must survive nation-wide protestant competition - so it borrows few good ideas from them like "specialized" bible study groups. "Normally" there is no such thing in Poland like catholic women's Bible study groups. There are rosary prayer groups.

    To find adult catholic studding bible, look for Neocatechumenal Way
    Here is list of parishes supporting them:

    For youth dedicated service look for Light-Life Movement (Oaza - Ruch Światło i Życie).
    Present almost in every parish.

    There isn't any equivalent of these for small children. But in many churches one Sunday mass is dedicated just for them - with special songs etc.

    1. Thank you for the reply. I am interested in the laity in Poland. Here, in America, there are fewer priests per parish, fewer priests period, and the laity must be much more involved. This is good and bad for many reasons. I have a feeling that Church in general in Poland for me will become more removed in the formal areas but in the cultural areas I am hoping it will embrace us in the way that I can only imagine it will.