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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

Father Yaroslav Dowbush

Father Ken Olsen

Fr Bruce Powers

Fr Anthony Stammitti

Fr Volodymyr Dmyterko

Fr Steven Basarab

Fr Volodymyr Bilous

Fr Alan Wizinsky

Fr Brian Kelty

Fr Theo Machinsky

Fr Yuriy Vyshnevskyy

[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. (Update: we have removed links to this guide as it is no longer available.)

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?

Since 2012, our Eparchy has been collecting funds to help underprivileged and orphaned children in Ukraine through our Christmas Candle appeal. Our fundraising program,“Christmas Candle/Різдвяна свічка” is part of a larger global appeal sponsored by Caritas Ukraine. We have had great momentum over the last few years raising over $20,000 with support from our BC Parishes as well as Parishes in other Provinces and parts of the United States.

Christmas Candle appeal for children in Ukraine
‘When you take — you fill your hand. When you give — you fill your heart.’

The appeal is once again taking place for the month of December and we encourage everyone to remember these children during the Christmas season with a voluntary donation. Please place your donation in an envelope marked Christmas Candle and include it with the Sunday collection at any Ukrainian Catholic Church in BC. Donations over $20 are eligible to receive a tax receipt if requested and cheques can be made out to your Parish with Christmas Candle Project in the Memo.

Last year’s money raised was used to provide children with speech therapy, allowing them to function and communicate normally in society. This year’s focus is to support a home for orphans in Ivano-Frankivsk that provides basic necessities, education and life skills to help them integrate into society.

We thank you for your past support and generosity and ask that you continue supporting this appeal as part of your Christmas tradition. Caritas is an international Catholic aid organization that is supported and approved by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk and His Excellency Bishop Ken Nowakowski. 100% of the donated proceeds go to Caritas Ukraine.

For more information, please email the coordinators Dana Koren Lupynis or Natalia Lupynis at

If you missed our parish presentation on the Venerable (Servant of God) Andrey Sheptytsky, here is the video of the talk by Rev. Dr. Ivan Kaszczak, delivered in 2015 at the Ukrainian National Museum, in Chicago.

Fr Kaszczak is pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in New York State, and the author of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and the Establishment of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States, as well as other books and articles. His talk is a engaging introduction to the life and legacy of Metropolitan Sheptytsky.

Our next parish education event will be after Liturgy on 15 December, and will answer the question The Eastern Catholic Churches: what are they?

✙   ✙   ✙

Ikon of the Servant of God Andrey Sheptytsky

Prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God Metropolitan Andrey:

Our Lord Jesus Christ — You always reward Your faithful servants, not only with special gifts of Your love, but also with the eternal reward of the saints in heaven, and in many cases You grant them the recognition of sanctity by Your Church here on earth.

We humbly pray: grant that Your faithful servant Metropolitan Andrey be numbered among the saints. Throughout his just life, ‘full of suffering and trials,’ he was a good shepherd for his flock and a great labourer for Christian unity. And through his beatification and intercession, grant our entire people the great gift of unity and love. Amen.

Today, 15 November, is the beginning of the pre-Christmas season of abstinence and penance of the eastern churches, often known as ‘Philip’s Fast’ because it begins the day after the feast of St Philip the Apostle. The season corresponds to but is somewhat longer than the season of Advent in the western church, and lasts through 24 December.

Although not traditionally as strict a fast as the pre-Easter season of Lent, Philip’s Fast serves a similar purpose in preparing us mentally and spiritually for the great celebration to come. In the words of Monsignor Russell A. Duker:

To worthily meet our Lord and Savior, we should sanctify this pre-Nativity season of the Phillipian Fast. Sanctifying means spending our time in faith and in the service of God and in kindness towards our neighbor, especially those who are in need of our assistance. And we should think of what we would have been had Christ not come to our lowliness and poverty. Together with the whole of the Byzantine Church we should try to meet Christ as he deserves to be met and as it will, in His mercy, best serve our spiritual benefit!

[Source: ‘Philip’s Fast / Advent’,]

Join us on Saturday 17 November, following our regular Divine Liturgy, for a presentation about the life and legacy of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky OSBM.

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky

Andrey Sheptytsky was Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church between 1901 and 1944: a tenure that encompassed two world wars and seven different political regimes in Ukraine. According to the historian Jaroslav Pelikan, ‘Arguably, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky was the most influential figure … in the entire history of the Ukrainian Church in the twentieth century.’

Father Yuriy will present a short video (approx. 30 minutes), and lead discussion.

On Saturday 24 November, our parish will commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor—from морити голодом, ‘to kill by starvation’—, the man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. The full extent of this famine has only become known in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of historical archives in Russia and Ukraine. Although the exact number who died as a result of the famine cannot be known, recent scholarship suggests it is between 3.3 and 7.5 million.

At the end of our liturgy on that day, we will have Panakhyda (memorial prayers) for the victims of the Holodomor, and after the service will gather in the parish hall to watch the film Bitter Harvest. This 2017, English-language film mixes romance and action genres to tell the story of the Holodomor through the experience of two young lovers struggling to survive and resist the Bolshevik forced collectivization of farms and starvation policies.

We expect to start the film at about 12:30 PM, and it is 1 hour and 43 minutes long. All are welcome.

The annual Christmas Bazaar, organised by the Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Society of Nanaimo and the Vesna Ukrainian Dancers, will take place this year on 1 December, in St Michael's parish hall. Please come out to support these two organisations and to stock up on perogies, borscht, and other delicious Ukrainian fare for the holidays. 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 2 December.

Announcement of Ukrainian Christmas Bazaar, 1–2 December 2018

If you missed our recent after-Liturgy presentation and discussion on Christ our Pascha, the catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, you can watch one of the videos from that presentation here. In this video, Right Rev. Dr Andriy Chirovsky from the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, speaks about the unique structure of this Ukrainian Catholic catechism and how it relates to the Byzantine Liturgy of St Basil the Great.

Our next parish education event will be after Liturgy on 17 November, and will be devoted to the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.

Our parish praznyk (the annual celebration of the feastday of our patron, St Michael the Archangel) will take place earlier than usual this year so that as many parishioners as possible can be present. On Saturday 27 October, following the 11AM Divine Liturgy, a parish luncheon will be held in the church hall. Parishioners old and new, visitors, and family members are all welcome.

If you would like to contribute by bringing a dish of food to the meal, that will certainly be appreciated, but there is no obligation. We expect to have plenty of food, including traditional Ukrainian dishes.

Beginning in October, our parish will be hosting a series of monthly presentations and discussions. These will take place after Divine Liturgy on Saturday, and will consist of a short video on a select topic, followed by discussion. The presentation and discussion will be led by Fr Vyshnevskyy, and all are welcome. This is a great opportunity to learn about aspects of Eastern Christianity in general and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in particular.

20 October — Christ our Pascha: the catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
The inaugural session of our new education programme will look at the new catechism, Christ our Pascha, which was published by the synod of the UGCC, first in Ukrainian in 2012, and in English in 2016. The presentation will look at how this catechism differs from the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Churhc and reflects our complementary but distinctive theological and liturgical traditions. As His Beatitude Sviatoslav, head of the UGCC, said in his announcement of the new catechism:

This Catechism witnesses to the intrinsic relation of the Kyivan-Christian tradition to universal Christianity. Thus, this Catechism addresses the UGCC faithful, as well as members of other Churches and all people who are sincerely seeking the Truth.

More information about following sessions will be published as their dates approach:

17 NovemberMetropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky: a gift to humanity.

15 DecemberThe Eastern Catholic Churches: what are they?