Before Christmas The Last Week Of Advent


During the last week of Advent the Polish priest, accompanied by two altar boys would visit each parishioner in the patches. At first they came in a covered horse drawn carriage. Later the parish bought a car.

Everyone knew when the visit would take place so there was ample time to prepare. Housecleaning has mandatory.

A11 of us kids knew about the importance of Advent. We had to be nice and clean and wear our best clothes. It was time be on ones best behavior.

Grandmother made certain that our hair was combed neatly and tied with bows. This in itself was eventful since our braids, much to our dismay, were always tied with string which was cheaper. Bows were for special accessions.

During these visits they not only blessed our homes but every room in the house. They would also write the initials K+M+B above each door. These initials separated by the sign of a cross stood for the three kings and were made with holy chalk. To us kids this was awesome.

It was during this time. that the priest delivered the OPLATEKS to each household. These are thin, unleavened: rectangular wafers--much like the communion bread which is distributed in the churches. These wafers which came in different pastel colors, had been previously blessed at a Hi Mass earlier in Advent. Each was stamped with the picture of the blessed Virgin Mary and Holy Family or the Christ Child. The OPLATEKS are known as the bread of love, and were to be shared at a special meal the nite-before Christmas.

We would when kneel and the priest would say prayers with the family and bless us.

Our parents would make a donation, and then all of the kids would line up and each of us would have to step forward and kiss the priests hand as he passed. I might add that grandmother had schooled us in proper protocol before the visit.

The priest would then bless us individually and give a holy pictures to each of us.