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Please note that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Father Nakonechny's retreat on 20 –21 March has been cancelled.

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Father Jim has prepared a short series of reflections on the theme Becoming a Healing Presence that we will publish on Fridays in the weeks leading up to the retreat. This is the second.

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field’ (Matthew 13:44).

Have you ever thought of your daily life as a treasure hunt? Have you ever wondered why everyone else seems to have all the good fortune or luck and it just never seems to come your way? It happens to all of us from time to time, but do not worry or despair, since I want to share a secret with you: Life is a treasure hunt. Yes, really it is, but we have to be spiritually aware of the world around us and actively looking for the treasures that God places out for us on daily basis. I like to refer to these treasures as ‘golden nuggets’ which God places for us to recognise Him throughout the day. Just like the man in St. Matthew‘s gospel who found a treasure and was filled with joy, we too must actively look for treasures during the day and perceive them as gifts from God, lovingly given to us. Treasures come in all shapes and sizes, it may be a phone call from someone we were just thinking about, it may be some help that came just at the right time or maybe it was a clean bill of health: these are all ‘golden nuggets’, treasures given to us from God.

Your task for this week is to go on a personal treasure hunt ... sounds like fun? Yes, it is. Begin to look at your daily routine and look for the treasures that our loving Lord weaves into your day. Notice the little things and especially when they bring you joy and then smile knowing that God placed it there just for you. Take a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on those ‘golden nuggets’ you found and thank God for them. When we are aware of God's grace and active participation in our lives we will begin to collect an abundance of spiritual treasures.

Happy hunting!

Please note that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Father Nakonechny's retreat on 20 –21 March has been cancelled.

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Father Jim has prepared a short series of reflections on the theme Becoming a Healing Presence that we will publish on Fridays in the weeks leading up to the retreat. This is the first.

In Psalm 46:10 we read ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Most of us have heard this verse before, but how many of us have reflected upon its true meaning? If I am not still, can I really know God? In today's world the thought of being still can be quite scary for many of us. You mean no noise, no computers, no iPads or smartphones? Yes. How can we communicate with God if we are constantly in a rush and constantly being bombarded by the noise of world around us? We barely have time to pray, but somehow we always have time to look at our phones, watch television and check our emails. The Lord is calling us during this Great and Holy Lent to be still and to enter into the silence of our hearts so that He can speak to us. During this next week, purposefully schedule time to sit before an icon and gaze at our Lord in silence. No words, just look at each other. You look at Him and let Him look at you. It may seem awkward at first, but start with baby steps. Try five minutes the first day and then add an extra minute each day. When we find solitude and silence we begin to experience the divine presence of God and that my friends is what we are all called to experience in this lifetime and in the next. Christ loves us so much that He wants to be the core of our lives, so that we may be a reflection of His divine image and become a healing presence to all that we encounter. ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’

Father Jim Nakonechny of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton is working with Cobblestone Freeway Tours to organise an autumn 14-day ‘Spiritual Tour’ of Ukraine, departing 12 October 2020 from Edmonton.

Ukraine spiritual tour map

The spiritual journey will begin in Kyiv and proceed to Pochaiv, Ternopil, Zarvanytsia, Chernivtsi, Kosiv (Carpathian Mountains), Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv,
with day visits to Kolomyia, Pistyn, Burshtyn, Rohatyn, Hrushiv and Hoshiv.

There will be opportunities for attending Divine Liturgies, visiting major spiritual centres, sightseeing, shopping (embroidery, chocolate, and coffee), and enjoying Ukrainian hospitality.

The exact itinerary and tour price are awaiting confirmation, but if you are interested and would like to receive more information please contact Vincent at Cobblestone Freeways Tours at 780 436 7482.

Please share this information with family and friends that may be interested in seeing the spiritual side of Ukraine.

This month, our Eparchy will say farewell to Bishop Ken, who goes to his new appointment as Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family in London, UK. In gratitude for his twelve years of faithful service and leadership as Bishop of New Westminster, Holy Eucharist Cathedral will host a farewell reception on Saturday 29 February, beginning with Divine Liturgy at 11 AM.

Parishioners of St Michael the Archangel in Nanaimo will have a local opportunity to say goodbye to Bishop Ken at our Divine Liturgy on Saturday 15 February. After the service, Bishop Ken will meet with parishioners and representatives from St Nicholas the Wonderworker parish in Victoria to discuss topics in preparation for the upcoming Sobor (synod) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop David Motiuk of the Eparchy of Edmonton as Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of New Westminster, pending appointment of a new Bishop.

On Saturday 8 February, Father Richard Soo SJ, a priest of the Eparchy of New Westminster and administrator of Dormition of the Mother of God parish in Richmond, celebrated Vespers — the evening prayer of the Church — at Holy Trinity Theological Seminary in Kyiv, Ukraine. Please enjoy the video of this beautiful liturgy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Svyaty Vechir (Holy Supper)

The Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Society of Nanaimo and Vesna Ukrainian Dancers will be hosting their annual Christmas Bazaar in the church hall on Saturday 7 December, from 11 AM until 3 PM. This is a great opportunity to stock up on perogies, borscht, cabbage rolls, homemade baking, jams, pickles and relish, Ukrainian novelties, and much more, as well as to buy tickets for the perogy raffle. The organisers are also accepting donations of empty bottles for their ongoing fundraising efforts.

Please note that to accommodate the bazaar, our Divine Liturgy that day is rescheduled to 4 PM.

Holodomor Memorial, Kyiv

On Saturday 23 November, our 11AM Divine Liturgy will be followed by panakhyda (memorial prayers) for the victims of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine imposed on the Ukraine in the early 1930s.

This year, our prayers are joined for the first time with official commemoration of the anniversary of the Holodomor in the British Columbia Legislature, as instituted in the recently adopted provincial legislation recognising the fourth Saturday in November as Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day. The legislation was introduced by the leader of the BC Green Party, Andrew Weaver, who is of Ukrainian heritage on his mother's side. The bill was unanimously adopted by the legislature.

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BILL M 225 – 2019
UKRAINIAN FAMINE AND GENOCIDE (HOLODOMOR) MEMORIAL DAY ACT

WHEREAS the term ‘Holodomor’ means extermination by means of starvation, and is based on the Ukrainian words ‘holod’, which means hunger, starvation or famine, and ‘moryty’, which means to induce suffering, to kill or to exterminate;

AND WHEREAS the Holodomor refers to an act of genocide and a campaign of deliberate starvation against the Ukrainian people committed by the Soviet state in 1932 and 1933;

AND WHEREAS the purposes of this Act are to recognize the millions of Ukrainians and others who perished during the Holodomor and to provide an opportunity to reflect on the enduring lessons of the Holodomor and other crimes against humanity;

AND WHEREAS the fourth Saturday in November has, in past years, been proclaimed Holodomor Memorial Day in British Columbia with reference to the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide ("Holodomor") Memorial Day Act (Canada), this Act would allow the day to be memorialized by the Legislature;

AND THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:

Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day
1 To memorialize those who perished as victims of the Holodomor, the fourth Saturday in November in each year is Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day throughout British Columbia.

Commencement
2 This Act comes into force on the date of Royal Assent.

Explanatory Note
This Bill recognizes the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) of 1932-1933. The term ‘Holodomor’, a Ukrainian word that means ‘extermination by means of starvation’, is used to describe the famine and genocide that killed millions of Ukrainians and others during the period of forced collectivization in the Soviet Union. The Holodomor was deliberately planned and executed by the Soviet regime to systematically destroy the Ukrainian people's aspirations for a free and independent Ukraine. No fewer than 4.3 million people, and possibly as many as 10 million, died during the Holodomor.

Today, some of the survivors of the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) of 1932-1933 and their descendants reside in British Columbia. They have contributed greatly to British Columbia's cultural, economic, political and educational life.

The Government of Ukraine, the Parliament of Canada, the provincial legislatures of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, UNESCO, the United Nations, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, the European Parliament and over 40 other jurisdictions worldwide have officially condemned the Holodomor or recognized it as a genocide.

The Government of Ukraine has declared the fourth Saturday in November as the day to commemorate the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) of 1932-1933. The Parliament of Canada and other Canadian legislatures have followed suit. With this Bill, the Province of British Columbia officially recognizes the importance of commemorating this event.

Blessed Mykolay Charnetskyy and CompanionsOn 27 July 2001, at Lviv, Saint Pope John Paul II beatified Bishop Mykola Charnetskyy and twenty-four companions who were martyred during the decades of suppression of the Ukrainian Catholic Church by the Soviet state following 1945. The modern Ukrainian martyrs included bishops, priests, religious, and also lay faithful.

In November 2019, relics of Blessed Bishop Charnetskyy and two other martyrs, Blessed Tarsykia Matskiv, a nun of the order of Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, and Blessed Volodymyr Priyma, a lay cantor, will be translated to Holy Eucharist Cathedral in New Westminster.

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To the Very Reverend, Reverend Fathers and religious and lay-faithful of the Eparchy of New Westminster and to people of good will.

Chancery Office, Eparchy of New Westminster
18 October 2019

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Friends,

This year, as our entire Church commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s emergence from its clandestine/underground existence we remember the times of persecution and martyrdom for the Catholic faith, but equally we celebrate and honour the witness of the faith of many martyrs of the Ukrainian land who have been proclaimed blessed by Saint John Paul II during his historic visit to Ukraine in 2001. At that time, as I was working as the head of the press office for the Catholic churches in Ukraine in preparing the visit of the Holy Father to Ukraine, I witnessed the beatification of the Blessed Martyrs of Ukraine. Perhaps many of you, my dear brothers and sisters, were not only witnesses of those times, but together were raised in faith with the martyrs of the Ukrainian land.

That is why I would like that the veneration of the New Martyrs and our growth in faith, through their testimony, continued and grew in our Eparchy. On this occasion, I invited His Grace Metropolitan Volodymyr Viytyshyn, Archbishop of Ivano-Frankivsk to our Eparchy to pray with us, to share his testimony about the times of the underground Church, and with me to bless the side Altar of Holy Eucharist Cathedral, which will be dedicated to the New Martyrs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. With the blessing of the Head of the Church, His Beatitude our Patriarch Sviatoslav and the consent of the members of the Permanent Synod of Bishops, the relics of three new martyrs will be placed for veneration on November 2, 2019 in our Cathedral: Blessed Hiero-Martyr Mykola Charnetskyy, Blessed Martyr Tarsykia Matskiv and Blessed Martyr Volodymyr Priyma.

I cordially invite our whole Eparchy to the veneration and glorification of the Blessed New Martyrs so that, through their prayers, we may grow and build our parish communities here in British Columbia. A special event for the consecration of the side altar and the display of relics will take place at Holy Eucharist Cathedral (501 4th Ave, New Westminster) on November 2, 2019 as follows:

11:00 - Hierarchical Divine Liturgy
12:30 - lunch
1:30 - Times of persecution of Ukrainian Catholic Church Presentation by Metropolitan Volodymyr Viytyshyn
3:00 - Moleben to the New Martyrs

As we grow in faith, venerate, and glorify the New Martyrs of the Ukrainian land, we not only ask God for His graces for ourselves, our family, our parish, and our community, we are also inspired by the heroism of their lives and witness, which allows us to overcome the difficulties and challenges we face daily, and helps us to carry the Word of God to all people.

May the Lord bless us all through the intercession of the Blessed New Martyrs of Ukraine!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

✙ Ken
Eparch of New Westminster

Today, 1 September, marks the beginning of a new ecclesiastical year in the Eastern Catholic churches: a new cycle of Gospel readings, feasts, and saints' days. Roman Catholics and other western Christians who are used to the liturgical year beginning on the first day of the Advent season, in late November or early December, may wonder why this is so.

In the Eastern churches, this day is also known as the beginning of the new indiction, which is a clue to the origin of this practice. In the later Roman empire, an indiction was a period of years originally used for taxation and fiscal administrative purposes. This practice dates to the early 3rd Century AD, and under the emperor Constantine was standardised as a period of 15 years, beginning in AD 313, around the same time that the emperor granted rights to Christians and set the groundwork for Christianity to become the official religion of the Empire. The term indiction came refer to a year within a particular indiction era.

Initially, the date of the beginning of a new indiction year was set as 23 September, an imperial holiday marking the birthday of the first emperor, Augustus. This was later changed to 1 September, to instead associate the date with what tradition held was the beginning of Christ's public ministry. The synchronising of ecclesiastical and imperial indiction years speaks to the role of the Church within the later Roman state, as instituted by Constantine and his successors. The Eastern churches, as inheritors of the Roman/Byzantine tradition, maintain 1 September as the beginning of the new ecclesiastical indiction.

Icon of the Indiction

Holy tradition associates 1 September with the beginning of Christ's public ministry, when he entered the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, as recorded in Luke 4:16–22, and read aloud the words of the prophet Isaiah:

A Spirit of the Lord is upon me; hence he has anointed me to announce good tidings to the destitute, he has sent me out to proclaim release to captives and sight to the blind, to send the downtrodden forth in liberty, to proclaim the Lord's acceptable year.

SingCon 2019

SingCon is a gathering of church singers of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in North America to promote contact with one another, to learn from experienced cantors and singers in our church, to share experiences and solutions to current issues in church singing, and to pray together. Singers, cantors, choir directors, and anyone interested in liturgical music, regardless of ability or experience, are invited to register for SingCon 2019, which will take place September 26–29, 2019, in Stamford, Connecticut. This is the second annual SingCon, gathering more than 100 church singers from across North America for fellowship, workshops, lectures, and, most importantly, liturgical prayer. Participants will rehearse new music, engage in discussions with fellow church musicians, participate in a variety of workshops, and sing Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy together.

SingCon is organized by the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission of the UGCC, and sponsored by the Eparchy of Stamford. This year’s location is St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Seminary, historically a centre of musical training for Eastern Catholics in North America.

For more information and to register for this year’s conference, please visit the UGCC Music website.

Stations of the Cross booklet cover

Our 2019 Lenten retreat with Fr Joe Ostopowich takes place this week, Friday & Saturday 12–13 April.

On Friday evening, Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30 PM. At 7 PM we will pray the Stations of the Cross, followed by our annual memorial service at which we pray Panakhyda (Панахида) for all departed parishioners and our loved ones. Following the prayer services, Fr Joe will deliver a spiritual talk on the themes of repentance and kindness.

On Saturday morning, Fr Joe will preach at our regular Divine Liturgy at 11 AM.

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 April, Fr Joe Ostopowich will conduct a Lenten retreat at St Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic parish. Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30PM on the Friday, followed by a Lenten prayer service (7PM) and a talk. Fr Joe will also hear confessions and preach at Divine Liturgy on the Saturday (11AM). To help us prepare mentally and spiritually for the retreat, Fr Joe has provided a series of short reflections on the themes of kindness and forgiveness; these will be published here on Fridays leading up to the retreat date. This is the fifth and final.

People eventually forget what you said and what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel. The great tragedy in our communities is that there is loneliness and isolation. The best thing we can give someone is the presence of our self. Acknowledge their presence in our lives and communities. Acknowledge they too are as important as we are.

Saint Ephrem the Syrian, from a 16th Century Russian manuscript

Saint Ephrem, a 4th Century deacon of the Syriac Church, was a prolific hymn writer and theologian, declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict the XV in 1920. His hymns and prayers are known for their rich metaphors and striking compression of complex theological ideas. His Lenten prayer is considered the most succinct expression of the spirit of Great Lent, so is especially suited for personal prayer during this season.

O Lord, and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power, and idle chatter.
Prostration

Instead, grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble mindedness, patience, and love.
Prostration

O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brothers and sisters, for You are blessed, now and forever and ever. Amen.
Prostration

Господи і Владико життя мого, духа лінивства, недбайливості, властолюб’я і пустомовства віджени від мене.
Доземний поклін

Духа чистоти, покори, терпеливості й любові даруй мені, слузі твоєму.
Доземний поклін

Так, Господи, Царю, дай мені бачити гріхи мої і не осуджувати брата мого, бо ти благословенний на віки вічні. Амінь.
Доземний поклін

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 April, Fr Joe Ostopowich will conduct a Lenten retreat at St Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic parish. Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30PM on the Friday, followed by a Lenten prayer service (7PM) and a talk. Fr Joe will also hear confessions and preach at Divine Liturgy on the Saturday (11AM). To help us prepare mentally and spiritually for the retreat, Fr Joe has provided a series of short reflections on the themes of kindness and forgiveness; these will be published here on Fridays leading up to the retreat date. This is the fourth.

Both the tax collector and the Pharisee made their fair share of mistakes but with one difference; the tax collector came clean and admitted them. The Pharisee, on the other hand, hid his. Very few people like to admit their mistakes. They try to cover them up or blame someone else. It takes strength and character to say, ‘I blew it and I am sorry. How can I make this better?’

God doesn't want you to be like the Pharisee, who feels he has no need for repentance. And God doesn’t write you off. Rather, God encourages you to practice admitting and taking responsibility.

This weekend, at our regular Divine Liturgy on Saturday 23 March, we celebrate the Veneration of the Holy Cross.

The Cross is the proof of the love of God. The Cross is the unshaken wall, the unconquered weapon, the Kingdom of virtue.The Cross has torn asunder our mortgage and rendered useless the prison of death. The Cross has opened Paradise; it has admitted the thief and has guided the human race from impending disaster to the Kingdom of God.

—St. John Chrysostom

The Third Sunday of Great Lent and the week that follows are devoted to welcoming the Precious Cross of Christ. This adoration of the Cross does not have a penitential character, but rather the opposite: ‘through the Cross, joy has come to the whole world.’ Having reached the midpoint of Lent, we take refreshment as though at a spiritual oasis, in the shade of the Cross, which is the banner and emblem of Christ’s victory. The Cross is a sign of our joy in Christ’s triumph. The liturgical texts express this joy; all the hymns in praise of the Cross have a victorious note to them.

For us Christians, the Cross of Christ is our boast! Saint Paul said, ‘God forbid that I should boast, except in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.’ To show our pride in the Cross we bring out the Cross into the church for veneration and we adorn the precious Cross with flowers. Thus we express our faith that what might have seemed to be the ‘dead wood’ of the cross became the bearer of Life. Dry wood is highly inflammable, yet in the kondak we sing:

‘... no longer does the flaming sword guard the gates of Eden, for in a strange and glorious way, the Wood of the Cross has put out its flames, and My Saviour, You have stood on the Cross and called out to those in hell: ‘enter again into Paradise.’

The precious Cross remains in the nave of the church for veneration throughout the week, until Friday. Most of us are not able to come to church each day, but of course we can all pray at home. So during this week, as we pray at home be sure to kiss the cross and pray at least ‘To Your Cross, O Master, we bow in veneration, and we glorify Your holy Resurrection!’ Thus we keep the joy of the Cross throughout the week, and we strengthen the link between the family and the church.

[Adapted from content from the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton.]

The annual Easter Bazaar, organised by the Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Society of Nanaimo and the Vesna Ukrainian Dancers, will take place this year on 6 April, in St Michael's parish hall. Please come out to support these two organisations and to stock up on perogies, borscht, cabbage rolls, and other delicious Ukrainian fare for Easter. Doors open at 11:00 AM, and close at 3:00 PM.

Note: On that weekend, to ensure that parishioners and bazaar attendees both have access to parking, our regular Liturgy schedule will be adjusted. There will be no Divine Liturgy on the Saturday, but instead the service will be at 3:00 PM on Sunday 7 April.

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 April, Fr Joe Ostopowich will conduct a Lenten retreat at St Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic parish. Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30PM on the Friday, followed by a Lenten prayer service (7PM) and a talk. Fr Joe will also hear confessions and preach at Divine Liturgy on the Saturday (11AM). To help us prepare mentally and spiritually for the retreat, Fr Joe has provided a series of short reflections on the themes of kindness and forgiveness; these will be published here on Fridays leading up to the retreat date. This is the third.

Everything reacts differently to being hurt. Some people bury their feelings and try to live as if nothing happened. Others go on the attack and seek ways to get even. Still others chew on the hurt and never let it heal. The three healthiest words you can express, however, are ‘I forgive you.’  It is only with these words that you'll be on your way to healing.

Feel the pain and give it a name—resentment, anger, bitterness, hatred. Do not fear these feelings, but don't dwell on them. Once you think you‘re done with the pain, you can move on to forgiveness. That doesn't mean approving or excusing what the person said or did, forgiveness releases your need for revenge. Forgiveness is not for them alone: it is for you as well. Forgiveness is kicking all the negative emotions to the curb. Forgiveness is like a surgery: you cut out the pain that should not be there. Forgiveness is never easy but it is the only way to stop pain.

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 April, Fr Joe Ostopowich will conduct a Lenten retreat at St Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic parish. Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30PM on the Friday, followed by a Lenten prayer service (7PM) and a talk. Fr Joe will also hear confessions and preach at Divine Liturgy on the Saturday (11AM). To help us prepare mentally and spiritually for the retreat, Fr Joe has provided a series of short reflections on the themes of kindness and forgiveness; these will be published here on Fridays leading up to the retreat date. This is the second.

Feeling nervous and inadequate, you walk into a roomful of people and think ‘I'm not good enough; I have nothing to offer.’ This is not true! No one in any room is better than you are—we are all equal. We are uniquely created by God, who blesses us with value and dignity.

We don’t always know what others are facing in life—setbacks, rejection or tragedy. Despite the smiles on their faces, many are worn down, lonely, hurting. Saying four simple, yet powerful words can help ‘I am proud of you.’ These words propel us forward when we know someone is impressed by who we are and what we do.

Make it a point to say to others ‘You amaze me.‘ ‘I am so honoured to know you.’ ‘You are important.’ At little cost to you, this gesture can be a lifeline to someone who feels like they are sinking.

Following the blessing of icons for the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy at the end of our Divine Liturgy this weekend, parish chairperson Victor Uniat presented a plaque, a gift from him and his wife, inscribed with the names of the clergy who have served this parish since its beginning in the 1980s. The plaque will be mounted inside the narthex of the church.

Victor Uniat presents clergy plaque

Since the founding of the parish in June 1984, we have been blessed to be served by these clergy:

Protodeacon Paul Stephaniuk
1984–1986

Father Yaroslav Dowbush
1986–1988

Father Ken Olsen
1988–1989

Fr Bruce Powers
1989–1991

Fr Anthony Stammitti
1992–1995

Fr Volodymyr Dmyterko
1995–1997

Fr Steven Basarab
1998–2000

Fr Volodymyr Bilous
2000–2003

Fr Alan Wizinsky
2003–2010

Fr Brian Kelty
2010–2011

Fr Theo Machinsky
2011–2018

Fr Yuriy Vyshnevskyy
2018–

[Image including Victor Uniat published with his permission.]

Chancery Office, Eparchy of New Westminster
10 March 2019

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We have now completed our first week of the Great Fast. Our Lenten journey towards the celebration of Easter-Pascha has begun—a blessed time of increased prayer, fasting and works of charity.

There are so many different forms of prayer: petition, praise, intercession, thanksgiving. But Lent is a special time to stand before our Heavenly Father as we are, acutely aware of our own sinfulness and inadequacy, yet mindful of His grace. This prayer of contrition, to judge oneself before the Lord, is, in fact, one of the meanings derived from the Hebrew word for prayer, tefillah. Whether together in community during liturgical prayer or privately in the depths of our heart, let us ask our Lord to heal us and to restore our relationship with Him.

Through the practice of Lenten Fasting we can curb and take charge of the desires of the flesh. We know that food is a gift and that is why we say a prayer of blessing before meals. But hunger is a gift as well, especially when we wilfully deny ourselves nourishment or some pleasure. I remember when I was a young boy; my Mom would endlessly warn me not to eat candy or chocolate before supper because I would ruin my appetite. Sadly, more often than not, I did not heed her good advice, and would sneak a chocolate or a candy and then just as she warned, I didn’t feel like eating the wonderful meal that she had prepared for the family. During Lent our physical hunger is a sign of spiritual hunger. Our empty stomach is an image of us emptying our hearts of self-centredness, so that we can be filled by God. When we fast or abstain from certain foods, when we deny ourselves certain activities, we are not only preparing our bodily appetites for the Easter feast, but we are also preparing our spirit for the celebration of life everlasting, which He has already prepared for us.

The third element of our Lenten spiritual journey consists in almsgiving or performing acts of charity, the sharing of our time, talents or treasure with those in need wherever they may be--in our own family, our community and neighborhood, or in distant lands. Almsgiving helps us move beyond ourselves and focus on those who are less fortunate, our sisters and brothers in need. Jesus told us that whatever we do to the least among us, we do it unto Him.

I want to encourage you, Dear Sisters and Brothers, to take advantage of this special time of prayer, of fasting, of almsgiving, and invite us all, as members of the Eparchy of New Westminster, to common action. Each year during the Great Fast I have encouraged all to come together as one Eparchial family and support a particular cause. In past years we have supported Caritas Ukraine, the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, etc.. This year I would like to ask you to make a donation to CATHOLIC MISSIONS IN CANADA. Founded in 1908, Catholic Missions in Canada, at the time called ‘The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada’, has come to the aid of isolated missions across our country where a lack of resources makes it impossible to maintain a Catholic presence without outside financial help. In fact, Catholic Missions in Canada came to the financial aid of the first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop in Canada, Blessed Nykyta Budka, who arrived in Canada in 1912. Since that time our Ukrainian Catholic Church has benefited greatly from its financial support. Catholic Missions in Canada has been and continues to be one of our greatest benefactors. Without their help our Eparchy would have a very difficult time providing pastoral ministry to our faithful in British Columbia. Many of our parishes struggle to meet their financial obligations, perhaps to cover costs of property insurance or other running costs, Missions In Canada helps us make up these shortfalls. We receive funding from Catholic Missions in Canada for our annual Eparchial summer Camp, Camp Saint Volodymyr. They have supported the education and formation of some of our Eparchial Clergy. In fact, I am personally indebted to Catholic Missions in Canada. They supported my formation to the priesthood when I was a seminarian!

If I have succeeded in convincing you to make a generous donation this Lent to Catholic Missions in Canada, you can use the special envelopes that will be provided to you [at your parish]. For donations of $20.00 or more you will also receive a charitable donation receipt. Our Eparchial collection will take place on Sunday 31 March. However, if you are not able to be in church that Sunday, you can use the envelope earlier or even later. All funds collected in the parishes will be forwarded to the Eparchial Chancery Offices and then sent to Catholic Missions in Canada as our Eparchial donation. We will report back to you, so that you can know how much we’ve collected this year.

Together as an Eparchial Family, let us make this Great Fast a special journey of prayer, fasting and generosity, ever mindful of the blessings of Pascha that await us!

With prayerful best wishes, I remain,
Sincerely yours in the Lord,

✙ Ken

On Friday 12 and Saturday 13 April, Fr Joe Ostopowich will conduct a Lenten retreat at St Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic parish. Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30PM on the Friday, followed by a Lenten prayer service (7PM) and a talk. Fr Joe will also hear confessions and preach at Divine Liturgy on the Saturday (11AM). To help us prepare mentally and spiritually for the retreat, Fr Joe has provided a series of short reflections on the themes of kindness and forgiveness; these will be published here on Fridays leading up to the retreat date. This is the first.

Kindness takes root when we look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. ‘All about me’ or ‘I am always right’ attitudes cause us to miss opportunities to show kindness:

  • to the exhausted Mom juggling between childcare and work
  • to a stressed out Dad trying to pay bills
  • to the teenager seeking affirmation and help
  • to the lonely person seeking love

All need someone to ask, ’Can I help you?’

As the Great Fast begins, perhaps we can all learn to treat each other well and offer a bit of kindness along the way.

Let’s make it real. Find someone who needs a dose of kindness. Visit those who cannot come to Church. Derail gossip by saying something nice. This list is endless!

Following our regular Divine Liturgy at 11AM on Saturday 19 January, Cynthia Lazaruk from St Nicholas the Wonderworker Ukrainian Catholic parish in Victoria will give a presentation on a 2017 tour of the Holy Land. Please join us for this inspiring look at the locations of the Gospel events.

Church of the Resurrection, Jerusalem.
Church of the Resurrection (Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre), Jerusalem.
[Photo: Jorge Lascar, Creative Commons.]

 

Our little parish in Nanaimo has been recently added to a new resource being developed by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church: a worldwide parish locator. This interactive map will show the location of every Ukrainian Catholic parish in the world.

At present the parish locator is only in Ukrainian, but an English version is planned. This is a work in progress, but it is already possible to visit and explore the online map, and to get a sense of the presence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church around the world.

Saint Luke

A guide to the prayerful reading of the Gospel of St Luke has been prepared by the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. This guide provides a theological introduction to St Luke's Gospel; an overview of the structure of St Luke's account of Christ's earthly ministry, salvific mission, passion, and resurrection; and prayers for before and after the appointed scripture reading.

The Office of the Religious Education of the Eparchy of New Westminster has produced a reading plan [PDF] to use with this guide, assigning just a few verses each week. The reading plan begins on 30 December 2018, and ends on 29 August 2020.

If you missed our parish education presentation on the catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Christ Our Pascha, on 20 October, or would like to refresh your memory, some more of the videos that were presented that day can be viewed on the Royal Doors website. The videos include an introduction on the importance of the catechism by His Beatitude, Patriarch Sviatoslav.

His Beatitude, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk
His Beatitude, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk

There are also articles and additional educational resources available at the same web page.

Our next parish education presentation will take place after Divine Liturgy on Saturday 15 December, and will answer the question The Eastern Catholic Churches: what are they?