About the Center
When the Diocese of Orange became a reality, the late Bishop William Johnson appointed Reverend Joseph A. Karp the spiritual director for the Polish Community in Orange County. This was to satisfy the spiritual and social needs of the Polish faithful living in the area of the Diocese of Orange. The aims: “to keep alive in the hearts of the Polish Faithful the rich religious and cultural heritage & traditions of their forefathers; to preserve the Polish language among the first and second generations and to allow full participation in the Liturgical functions for the newly arrived into this area.”
The first mass at the John Paul II Polish Center was celebrated by Fr. Karp on January 16, 1983. Over time the Center truly became a center for Polish activities such as: Polish language classes (for beginners and advanced) at the Helena Modrzejewska Polish School, traditional events and entertainment, speakers and various club meetings. One of the enduring traditions of the Polish Community in Orange County is the continuation of an old Polish custom of celebrating the harvest of the crops (Dożynki) in the autumn months. The Harvest Festival in Yorba Linda has a rich artistic program that begins on Saturday with Polish folk dances and singing performance, and concludes on Sunday with a procession wherein the field workers present ‘gifts of the earth’ to the Lord and Lady of the manor following the successful harvest. Delicious authentic Polish food is enjoyed by all throughout the festival.