Mayor John Vieau talks during Polish flag raising event.
Reminder Publishing photo by Tyler Garnet

CHICOPEE — On March 19, the Chicopee community gathered to celebrate and recognize St. Joesph’s Day with a Polish flag raising event.

Saint Joseph’s Day has significant cultural and religious importance, particularly for the Polish community, and is a nationwide celebration of Polish heritage, culture and pride.

State Sen. Jake Oliveira (D-Ludlow) was at the event to show support and celebrate with the Polish community.

Oliviera said, “Saint Joesph’s Day is something that is very important because Saint Joesph, even though what many of us know it as a symbol of Poland, Saint Joseph is also the symbol of the worker. The work ethic of the Polish people, particularly Polish Americans, is evident all throughout Western Massachusetts and in Chicopee.”

Oliviera is currently the chair of the Polish American Caucus in the Legislature and will be traveling to Poland in the spring to visit with Polish dignitaries in the Polish government and to spread a strong connection between Massachusetts and Poland.

He also talked about the resilience of Poland during their conflicts with Russia.

“As we celebrate this day and raise this Polish flag, remember that Poland is one of our strongest allies. As we look at all the turmoil that is engulfing our world. When we look at aggressors and dictators, Poland is consistently staying on the side of democracy. The elected a new government, a government that is pushing back against Russian aggression, that is pushing back against those who want to undermine our democracy,” Oliveira added.

Mayor John Vieau saidthat he is proud of his Polish culture and heritage that was passed down from his late grandfather to his mom and then to him.

Vieau added, “It’s inspiring to note that Poles now constitute the sixth largest ethnic group in America. Having a presence in all 50 states and contributing significantly to every facet of American life.”

This solemnity is observed in Western Christianity with various traditions, including the display of flags representing the heritage and values of the Polish people.

Community leaders, local dignitaries and members of the public all came together to raise the Polish flag in recognition of Saint Joseph’s Day.

“The echoes of our shared history resonate with the tales of the first polish settlers who reached Jamestown, Virginia in 1608 leaving an indelible mark on American history and culture,” Vieau said.

The first group of Polish immigrants came to Chicopee in 1880 and most of them worked in the two textile mills.

Vieau added, “Less than 30 years from their arrival, this aggressive, self-assured group boasted more Polish owned businesses than another community in New England.

The Polish flag-raising ceremony aligns with Chicopee’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and celebrating the cultural tapestry of its residents.

“We are honored to celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day and the Polish community’s traditions in Chicopee,” Community and Constituent Liaison Monica Torres said, “This flag-raising ceremony serves as a symbol of unity and pride, highlighting the cultural diversity that enriches our city.”

Fr. Brad Milunski from St. Stanislaus School was at the event along with sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.

“We certainly want to wish the city of Chicopee and all of us great blessings today on the feast of St. Joesph’s. We are proud to be here today.” Milunski said.
Vieau directed a message to the students.

He said, “Be you. Be yourself. Be proud of your heritage, your family and your friends. Be proud of your school and most importantly, be proud that you live in the city of Chicopee.”