Father Moczygeba welcoming Polish Immigrants to Texas, 1967, sgraffito
Lobby, the Chapel, St. Francis Conventual Residence, Athol Springs, NY
It is Christmas Eve 1854. In front, Fr. Leopold Moczygeba, a Franciscan Conventual, is on horseback, restraining his rearing charger. Flanking him and behind him are the inhabitants of two villages of Silesia, whence he also hailed, who have come as immigrants to the United States, to the state of Texas. He brought them here from the port in Galveston. Gathered under an oak, they are about to take part in the first Holy Mass - the Pasterka - in the new land. In gratitude to Our Lady of Czestochowa for her care and request for continuing aid, the newcomers called their settlement in Texas, Panna Maria. In the distance are wagons covered with canvas, characteristic of American pioneers going west to settle new, primeval lands. The artist has shown the settlers in various folk costumes, to indicate later immigrations from all parts of Poland. One of the mothers presses her infant to her breast, the first American, born during the Pasterka. The artist did not forget to commemorate the symbols of the treasures they brought with them from the old country: these are the procession cross from the church, the Gospel, the church bell, the Polish flag, and a plow.