discussing the future of our community, we must
discuss what is there that will mark us out as a
special community deserving of continuing into
Obviously there is need to impress upon the
general Canadian (and American) public that
Slovaks are living lives as Canadians here (and
as Americans in the U.S.) while at the same time
retaining elements of our Slovak culture and
How do we do this? Sometimes the answers are
simple and obvious.
1. In every community, no matter how big or
small, where there are Slovaks, there should be a
listing in the telephone book "Slovak
Canadian" (or "Slovak American" in
the U.S.) followed by a telephone number of a
local person to contact, or a church or an
organization. The cost is small because it is
simply an addition to the present listing of the
holder of the telephone number. But this way
travellers through the area would know there was
a Slovak in the area who could tell them what
there was in the area of interest, or just be a
person to talk to.
I know in my travels across this country on
business, that often in the evening stuck in a
hotel room, I wish I had known some Slovak in
town just to keep them and me in contact as
2. Get a subscription to a Slovak newspaper,
like the Jednota (or the Kanadsky Slovak, to keep
in touch with the community. The editors would
like to hear from correspondents what is
happening in our communities across Canada (and
The newspaper can't publish items which are
designed to hurt or to accuse people. They do
have to be interesting however. The readers want
to learn about the positive things that Slovaks
are doing. We need some historical material, the
lives of some of our pioneers, the remembrances,
how communities started in remote areas. But it
is up to you -- not your neighbour -- to make
sure that your community is mentioned in the
newspaper because the newspaper has no resources
to send out reporters to write those articles
about your community for you.
3. Our community has seen some facilities
close down because not enough Slovaks attended
functions there. As our Slovak community expands
in Canada, there are still no areas where enough
Slovaks live, to provide a sufficient number of
people, to attend local community events.
This is discouraging to organizers of the
events, but that is the way of life in Canada.
Not everyone lives close enough to ensure a good
attendance at these events.
Every Slovak in Canada must make an effort to
attend Slovak functions a minimum four time a
year, no matter where he or she lives. It is
essential that Slovaks register with one of the
many parishes we have so that there is a list of
where you and others like you are. But then
you've got to commit yourself to come to church
every once in a while.
We have been surprised and delighted with the
crowds attending the new Sts. Cyril &
Methodius Church in Mississauga which replaced
the old one downtown where parking was
practically non-existent and served as a
deterrent for people wanting to go. Look what has
happened in Winnipeg where the number of Slovaks
attending became so small that the diocese,
unable to find a Slovak priest, turned it over to
a Filipino priest who of course attracted so many
Filipinos in Winnipeg that the church has lost
its identity as being a Slovak parish church.
If Slovaks expect to have churches,
organizations, fraternal and other things that
made us proud as Slovaks in Canada to know they
were there, we've got to use them. It's a numbers
game to the authorities.
If you don't use our Slovak churches, halls
and organizations, you'll lose them. Ak nebudeme
vyuzivat nase slovenske kostoly, haly a
organizacie, navzdy ich stratime.