LIVING SLOVAK
THE CHURCHES, CENTRES OF ACTIVITY
THE ORGANIZATIONS
WILL YOU SPEAK SLOVAK?
THE UNKNOWN ARTS
SOCIAL NEEDS
COMMUNICATIONS
IS IT TIME TO GO BACK?
IT'S ONLY POLITICS
YOU'VE GOT TO BE THERE
WHO WILL SPEAK FOR US?
REMEMBERING THE PAST
THE WIRED COMMUNITY
PROJECTS TO CONSIDER
SPORTS TIMES
A PLACE TO SHOW OUR STUFF
THE STRUGGLING ARTS
COME TOGETHER
WHAT YOU MUST DO
SLOVAK SOM, AJ SLOVAK BUDEM!

Slovaks in Canada
in the Year 2000

by John V. Stephens, Q.C.,
Honorary Consul, Slovak Republic


WHAT YOU MUST DO

In these articles, we have tried to promote discussion within Slovak organizations and within families about what must be done to continue a viable Slovak community in the future.

Some of the articles have provoked a positive response, while others have created argument. This is good, because if we do not discuss these things among ourselves and act soon, we will wake up one day to find the Slovak community in Canada simply a matter of historical record.

But no matter how good or relevant the arguments, the matter finally comes down to people having to do something. It is not enough to discuss what the community should do, what individuals should do, but each person must go out and do something to keep the community alive.

The most obvious visible representation of our community is demonstrated by our churches. Every Slovak who has religious feeling must make an effort not only to attend religious services at the church of choice, but also to get involved in the many committees the church has. In this way, not only do you help the church survive, you assist the community by keeping our Slovak cultural heritage visible.

Each church should set up a committee to discuss the future of the parish keeping in mind the double-task of also serving to represent the Slovak community. Each church should be prepared to come up with a plan of action as to how to attract members of our Slovak community who presently attend their own local parish churches exclusively.

This is not to set up a competition between the parish in which one lives, and the one in which one basks in one's cultural heritage, but rather a compromise between living as a Slovak in a Canadian community and as a Canadian in a multicultural community. These are not competitive forces, but rather complementary by which one's Canadianism is enriched by the Slovak tradition and manner of worship.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese sees national churches as passing fads, ones that will disappear in succeeding generations. They may be right, and they will be proved right unless you make the conscious effort to create a viable and active Slovak parish.

The other spheres of activity in our community are our fraternal organizations. As time goes on, the need for the kinds of insurance programs they provide, lessens. But they do provide the social gathering place and the source of activity among our people within the community. They too have to look out for their future, and we have an interest in them because their future is also our future.

When one looks at the aging of our leaders, one has to wonder from where the future leaders will be drawn. They can only come from within our Slovak churches and our Slovak fraternals. If we don't find suitable young replacements soon, our community will face a drastic loss of good leadership. We can't afford that to happen.

While we have sports activities and dancing groups, they too rely on groups of leaders relevant to their age. But what happens when these leaders too age? Every Slovak organization should have a mechanism for not only bringing in new members, but to encourage members to take up leadership roles. The day has long passed when our organizations can afford to have the same leaders year in year out. Sooner or later they lose interest and usually there has been no planning for that inevitability.

There are many examples in our Slovak community of organizations falling on evil days simply because they relied too much on one person, and when that person retired or died, there was chaos in the organizations.

We need to plan, and every Slovak organization should start on that today.

Copyright of "Slovaks in Canada in the Year 2000" 1996 - John V. Stephens, Q.C.
All other contents & photographs 1997, Ondro Mihal.
All comments should be forwarded to
Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.
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Last update on
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