Christmas in Polish Hill — celebrating the neighborhood's heritage

Polish Hill is now an increasingly diverse city neighborhood, and the majority of the people who live here nowadays aren’t of Polish heritage.  But it’s especially at Christmastime that we remember and honor the neighborhood’ heritage.  Of course, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church still looms large — and maybe you’ve stopped in to see the interior — but have you ever been inside during the holiday season?

If not, please consider making a stop.  For Christmas the already-beautiful church is even more so, with many decorations and lights.  Even if you aren’t able to attend a service, consider stopping in — the church is open about 15 minutes before services begin, and you can see what all the fuss is about.  Better yet, attend a Polish Mass — held on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., it’s the only place in Pittsburgh where the Mass is done in Polish — the choir sings in Polish, too.  The regular English language Mass is at 11:00 a.m..  For more information about Immaculate Heart of Mary, check out their website.

In more down-to-earth matters, there are Polish treats, such as kolaczki, which are flaky cookies made of cream cheese dough and various fillings such as apricot, prune, or raspberry.  Or pierniczki, which are soft gingerbread cookies dipped in chocolate, or rogaliki, almond crescent cookies.  Click on the links for recipes.

And this recipe for krupnik, a Polish honey-spice cordial, sounds pretty interesting.  To be enjoyed responsibly, of course.

(Photo of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church from this website.  Cookie photo from here.