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
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
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
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.