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A jewel in the crown of Polish-American culture is imperiled. Church Militant's Kristine Christlieb reports on a Catholic treasure that may be lost to history.
A Polish seminary based in the United States is closing after 137 years.
On Sunday morning, a statement in both English and Polish appeared on the website of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, confirming the "June 2021 decision to cease operations." Anticipating the news, Detroit's Polish community turned out to protest the decision they had been working so very hard to avert.
The regents had given supporters time to develop a plan to keep the seminary open, but many believe the offer was not made in good faith.
Jolanta Halaczkiewicz, administrator, Polskie Lobby:
The plan was ready. He sent the plan. But it really didn't matter because they made up their minds. And honestly, for them, it's extremely important to close the seminary, take over the money which belongs to the seminary and open new building [sic], which is right here on the right side; this is a new building for St. Mary's Prep.
Also known as "Orchard Lake Seminary," the Polish institution represented everything Polish Americans cherished — their Polish heritage and their Catholic faith.
Orchard Lake Schools is an umbrella board for three organizations: the seminary, St. Mary's Preparatory High School and the Polish Mission.
Many expressed concern the 16–13 vote to close was led by a group of regents — some of whom are neither Polish nor Catholic — who favor the prep school and its athletic program over the seminary and priests.
Orchard Lake Schools and its seminary began wandering off course long ago. In recent months, it has been rocked with multiple lawsuits alleging sexual harassment, putting its chancellor, Miroslaw Krol, at the center.
If you would like more information about Orchard Lake Schools' history and lawsuits, watch Church Militant's Special Report: Detroit's Gay Polish Pipeline.