Due to the political situation His Beatitude Patriarch Svyatoslav called the faithful to pray for peace and bright future in Ukraine. Uniting with the Head and Father of Our Church, as well as, with the millions of our people scattered all over the world, let us lift up our voices in prayer to God and ask him to keep watch over the country of our ancestors, that is struggling on her way towards democracy, and protect all those who suffer, who are oppressed in any way, and, especially, those who are not able to defend themselves. May Peace of Christ by with all of us!
PRAYER FOR UKRAINE
THE VIBRANT PARISH - A PLACE TO ENCOUNTER THE LIVING CHRIST PROGRAM EPARCHIAL COORDINATORS MEETING IN IVANO-FRANKIVSK, UKRAINE
The Implementation Team for the Strategic Pastoral Plan for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, until 2020 is holding meeting with the Eparchial Coordinators from Ukraine for the Vibrant parish - a place to encounter the living Christ program. Pictured above Most Rev. Volodymyr Vityshyn, Metropolitan-Archbishop of Ivano-Frankivsk with the with the participants of the meeting.
Rome, Italy, 26-29 November 2013: The Implementation Team for the Strategic Pastoral Plan for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - Vision 2020 "The Vibrant Parish a place to Encounter the Living Christ." are holding meetings with the Coordinators of the various eparchies and exarchates of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in South America and Western and Central Europe. The meeting is chaired by Most Reverend Ken Nowakowski, Bishop of New Westminster and co-chaired by Most Reverend Bohdan Dzyurakh, Secretary General of the Synod of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops.
At this annual meeting the Coordinators and the Implementation Team members will share the activities in the various regions represented and work on the planning of the next stages of the Vibrant Parish program and Eparchial Sobors in 2014 leading up to the Patriarchal Sobor in 2015 to be held in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.
WESTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE EPARCHIAL COORDINATORS FOR THE VIBRANT PARISH - A PLACE TO ENCOUNTER THE LIVING CHRIST PROGRAM MEETING IN ROME
Philadelphia, PA, USA: Vibrant Parish - Vision 2020 Eparchial Coordinators of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies of North America and Australia are meeting in Philadelphia: 19-22 November 2013.
Most Rev. Stefan Soroka, Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia is hosting this Coordinators' annual meeting.
Most Reverend Ken Nowakowski, Head of the Implementation Team of the Vibrant Parish program along with the Coordinators will discuss the Directions of Development of the Church, Church Structures, and Eparchial Sobors leading up to the Patriarchal Sobor in 2015 on the Theme of the Vibrant Parish. During the meeting the Eparchial Coordinators will share their activities reports over the last year. This meeting is the first of three meetings of the Eparchial Coordinators from throughout the world. The next Coordinators' meeting will be held next week in Rome for Central & Eastern Europe and South America. The first week of December Coordinators from Ukraine and the East will meet in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.
NORTH AMERICAN & AUSTRALIA EPARCHIAL COORDINATORS MEETING IN PHILADELPHIA, PA
On Saturday, November 16, 2013, more than 40 priest and lay representatives gathered at St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church for post-Sobor meeting. Representatives from Connecticut, Massachusetts states and Albany, NY, area studied & discussed a concrete ways to implement the Stamford Eparcht Sobor Resolutions.
THE VIBRANT PARISH - A PLACE TO ENCOUNTER THE LIVING CHRIST POST-SOBOR IMPLEMENTATION REGIONAL MEETING IN HARTFORD, CT
“O Christ, what shall we offer you for your coming on earth in our humanity for our sake? The angels offer hymns of praise, the heavens give a star; the Magi present their gifts and the shepherds, their wonder; the earth provides a cave and the desert a manger….O God who are from all eternity, have mercy on us.” – from Vespers for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
In these days the world stands in anticipation once again, for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as a human child on earth. The season of Advent, or ‘Pylypivka’ commences with the Feast of St. Philip, the Apostle on November 14 (Gregorian calendar) or November 27 (Julian calendar). This period of 40 days culminating with the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, is meant to be a time of spiritual renewal and preparation for the celebration of this momentous event in human history.
Of course, for many of us, preparations for the Christmas season are already in full swing. Christmas presents are being purchased, festive cards and greetings are being sent, pantries are being stocked in preparation for the joyous holiday onslaught of family and friends upon our homes, and winter vacation plans are being laid. Certainly, we, as a consumer society, are well schooled in how to ‘prepare for the holidays’ and how to entertain ourselves and our family and friends.
But how are we ‘preparing for the holidays’ at a personal and spiritual level? What can we offer of ourselves to the Christ child when we come to church in a few weeks time for the celebration of his Nativity?
The author – probably a holy monk – of the verse cited above, which was taken from the vespers service for the Nativity of Christ, seriously pondered this question and calls upon us, who are living so many hundreds of years after him, to ponder this question as well. From our reading of the Holy Gospels concerning the Nativity of Christ, we know indeed that on the night when when Christ was born, the angels offered their songs of praise which filled the sky, that the heavens offered a star to light the path of those who would come to give homage to the Child, that the earth offered a cave as a shelter for him from the wind and cold, that the shepherds offered their innocent wonder at the glorious sight, and that the Magi offered their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh in homage to his greatness and destiny.
In other words, each offered that which lay closest to the heart, each presented a valuable and irreplaceable treasure from within for the newborn Son of God. What then, of us? Are we not also called to offer something that lays close to our hearts, something valuable, a treasure from within for the newborn Infant? What could be better to offer than us ourselves, spiritually renewed?
As you are aware, our Ukrainian Catholic Church has recently embarked upon an ambitious path of spiritual renewal and revitalization for our parishes and our faithful under the banner: “The Vibrant Parish – A Place to Encounter the Living Christ”. In his pastoral letter to all the faithful, the spiritual father of our Church, His Beatitude, Sviatoslav Shevchuk emphasized six key elements essential to making our parishes more Christ-centered places of worship, service and gathering, among them The Word of God, Prayer and Serving One’s Neighbor (Diakonia).
As we enter the blessed time of Pylypivka, we encourage you to take these first three key elements and begin your own personal journey of spiritual rebirth, repentance and return to the Lord. Resolve to make it a priority for a few minutes every day, during the time of Pylypivka, to pick up the Holy Bible and read and meditate upon the inspired Word of God you will find there. Make it also a practice to find a comfortable nook for yourself at home and set aside a few minutes every day for a one-on-one conversation with the Lord through private prayer. And try to attend liturgical services offered in your parish church more often, even on a daily basis, if possible. And finally, during this time, make of point reaching out in a concrete way to those in need, whether within your parish community or outside of it, striving always to see Christ in our neighbor.
It we try to follow this path during the time of Pylypivka, we will find that on Christmas Day, when we kneel finally at the crib of the newborn King, we will not have come to him empty-handed. For along with the heavens and the earth that have offered a star and a cave, and along with the angels, who have offered their song, the shepherds who brought their wonder, and the Magi their gifts of gold and fragrant spices, we will have brought the most precious gift of all – ourselves, with our hearts and souls renewed and filled with love for Him.
May the blessings of the Lord Jesus, whose birth in a cave in Bethlehem we joyfully await, descend upon all of you.
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM (author)
Eparch of Stamford
of St. Josaphat in Parma
PYLYPIVKA (ADVENT) PASTORAL OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC
HIERARCHY OF THE U. S. A.
TO OUR CLERGY, HIEROMONKS AND BROTHERS,
RELIGIOUS SISTERS, SEMINARIANS AND BELOVED FAITHFUL
On Saturday, November 9, 2013 over 50 priests and lay representatives from the New York Metropolitan Area gather at St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Yonkers, NY for the Post-Sobor implementation meeting. The main theme of the meeting was discussion on the concrete steps for the parish and eparchy Sobor's Resolution implementation.
POST-SOBOR IMPLEMENTATION REGIONAL MEETING AT ST. MICHAEL'S UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN YONKERS, NY