Father Leopold Moczygemba Awardees
Year Convention Awardee
1990 San Antonio, TX - Rev. Henry Moczygemba
1991 Chicago, IL - Msgr. Stanley Milewski
1992 Newark, NJ - Msgr. Martin Piasecki
1993 Detroit, MI - Msgr. Vincent Borkowicz
1994 Hartford, CT - Msgr. John Wodarski
1995 Brooklyn, NY - Msgr. Edward Fas
1996 Miami, FL - Most Rev. Thomas Wenski
1997 Redondo Beach, CA - Rev. Wladyslaw Gowin
1998 Buffalo, NY - Msgr. John Gabalski
1999 Washington, D.C. - Very Rev. Canon Philip Majka
2000 San Antonio, TX - Rev. Canon Bernard Goebel
2001 Albany, NY - Rev. Boleslaus Watroba
2002 Milwaukee, WI - Msgr. Lawrence Bukaty
2003 Detroit, MI - Msgr. Walter Ziemba
2004 Syracuse, NY - Msgr. Casimir Krzysiak
2005 Chicago, IL - Rev. Edward Siedlecki
2006 Newark, NJ - Msgr. Joseph Marjanczyk
2007 Cleveland, OH - Rev. Ralph Bodziany
2008 Orlando, FL - Rev. Joseph Zawada
2009 Brooklyn, NY - Rev. Marion Gural
2010 Orchard Lake, MI - Rev. Stanislaw Elis
2011 Doylestown, PA - Rev. Lucius Tyrasinskiy
2012 Michigan City, IN - Msgr. Zdzislaw Peszkowski
2013 Pittsburgh, PA - Rev. Joseph Swierczynski
2014 None - Canonization of St. John Paul II
2015 Connecticut - Msgr. Daniel Plocharczyk
2016 St. Louis, MO - Most Rev. Robert Carlson
2017 Orchard Lake, MI - Msgr. Thomas Machalski
& Very Rev. Canon Walter Ptak
2018 Cleveland, OH - Rev. Gerald Keller
2019 Utica, NY - Very Rev. Canon John Mikalajunas
2020 Miami, FL - Posponed to 2021 (Coronavirus)
Father Leopold Moczygemba
Patriarch of American Polonia
Father Leopold Moczygemba, son of Leopold Moczygemba and Ewa Krawietz, was bom October 18, 1824 at Wielka Pluznica in Upper Silesia near Opole. He died February 23, 1891 in Dearborn, Michigan. What did he do to become the Patriarch of American Polonia?
Young Leopold was ordained a priest in the Order of the Friars Minor Conventual at Pesaro, Italy, July 25, 1847. When the first bishop of Texas, Most Rev. John Odin, went to France and Bavarian Germany looking for priests in 1852 to come and serve the German speaking Catholics already in Texas at New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Castroville and D’Hanis, our Father Leopold volunteered.
Two years later, when four of his brothers accepted his invitation to emigrate to Texas, in 1854 - to his surprise, 96 other families came also. That necessitated an urgent, immediate response of establishing a new land development in Karnes County near where the Cibolo Creek empties into the San Antonio River. Thus, Panna Maria was founded on December 24, 1854.
A great Missionary in Texas for five years. Father Leopold Moczygemba spent the rest of his 34 years of priesthood working in 11 other states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He spoke seven languages in his ministry and crossed the Atlantic Ocean nine times in search of religious personnel and funds.
He rose to the highest position in his religious order in America, was chairman of the first Polish convention in the USA in 1873, co-founded the Polish Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Detroit in 1885, and was a confessor at the First Vatican Council in Rome in 1869.
His body was re-buried October 13, 1974 in the church yard of Panna Maria as part of the Floresville Deanery celebration of the Centennial of the Diocese of San Antonio, now an archdiocese.
There were four other Moczygemba priests: another Leopold, who was born of the first marriage performed in Panna Maria; Thomas, the first native-born priest of Texas; Leo and Henry, who died March 2, 1995.
Father Leopold Moczygemba, like the compassionate Jesus, like the courageous Moses, and the energetic St. Paul in his many travels, was a giant of a man for God, his Church, and his Polish People. He ranks at the very top of great American Catholic pioneers. Father Leopold Moczygemba truly deserves the title: Patriarch of American Polonia!
The above is based on the bibliographies of Father Joseph Swastek and T. Lindsay Baker, and composed by Bishop Emeritus John W. Yanta of the Diocese of Amarillo.