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4th Sunday of Lent

Divine Liturgy of our Father among the Saints Basil the Great, celebrated by Father Yuriy at Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Parish, Victoria. 10AM 22 March 2020.

Proper prayers and readings

Troparion, Tone 8
You came down from on high, O Merciful One, * and accepted three days of burial * to free us from our sufferings. * O Lord, our life and our resurrection, * glory be to You.

Troparion, Tone 1
O John, our God-bearing father, * you were shown to be a citizen of the desert, * an angel in bodily form, * and a worker of miracles. * Through fasting, prayers and vigils you received heavenly gifts * to heal the sick and the souls of those who, in faith, run to you. * Glory to Him who gives you strength. * Glory to Him who crowned you. * Glory to Him who works healing for all through you.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever and ever, Amen.

Kontakion, Tone 4
On the heights of true abstinence, * the Lord established you as a reliable star, * giving light for guidance to the ends of the earth, * O father John, our teacher.

Prokeimenon, Tone 8
Pray and give thanks to the Lord our God. Verse: In Judea God is known; His name is great in Israel. (Psalm 75:12,2)

Prokeimenon, Tone 7
Verse: The venerable ones will exult in glory * and they shall be joyful in their beds. (Psalm 149:5)

Epistle : Hebrews 6:13-20
A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Hebrews: Brothers and sisters, when God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and multiply you.’ And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Alleluia, Tone 8
Verse: Come, let us rejoice in the Lord; let us acclaim God our Saviour. Verse: Let us come before His countenance with praise and acclaim Him with psalms. (Psalm 94:1,2)

Verse: They who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalm 91:14)

Gospel : Mark 9:17-31
At that time a man came to Jesus and said: ‘Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.’ He said to them in reply, ‘O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then he questioned his father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ He replied, ‘Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘“If you can!” Everything is possible to one who has faith.’ Then the boy's father cried out, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief!’ Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, ‘Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!’ Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, ‘He is dead!’ But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer.’ They left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.’

Prayer to the Mother of God
In you, O Full of Grace, all creation rejoices: the angelic ranks and all the human race. Sanctified temple and spiritual paradise, virgins’ pride and boast, from whom God is made flesh and became a little Child; and He who is our God before all ages, He made your womb a throne, and He made it wider that all the heavens. In you, O Full of Grace, all creation rejoices. Glory be to you.

Communion Hymn
Praise the Lord from the heavens; * praise Him in the highest. (Psalm 148:1) * The just man shall be in everlasting remembrance;* of evil hearsay he shall have no fear. (Psalm 111:6) * Alleluia, alleluia, * alleluia.

Our regular communal celebration of liturgies is suspended until further notice, and many people are practicing social distancing or self-isolation to avoid transmission of the COVID-19 virus, or are in quarantine. For those with access to computers or mobile devices and with Internet connection, online resources and communication tools can be a way to stay in touch, with the Church, with their faith, and with each other.

Check out some of the online resources on our Links page, which includes Ukrainian Catholic news feeds, and these sites:

Resources for Great Lent
From the Edmonton Eparchy: suggestions for ways to observe Lent and prepare spiritually for Easter.

Royal Doors
English-language resources for Ukrainian Catholics, including daily readings and prayers, online UGCC catechism, articles, etc.

Dynamic Catholic
Family-focused resources, including catechism for children, marriage enrichment programmes, and more.

Streaming video content, including Catholic movies, TV shows, Bible study, and much more.

Live-streaming of Divine Liturgy or Roman Catholic Mass is available through a number of online and television options:

Father Yuriy will be live-streaming celebration of Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas the Wonderworker church in Victoria at 10AM on Sundays. Initially, this will be via their parish FaceBook page, but we'll also be embedding the video feed through this website so that those who choose not to be on FaceBook can participate.

Holy Eucharist Cathedral in New Westminster will also be live-streaming Divine Liturgy, following their usual service schedule.

A number of parishes in the Eparchy of Edmonton are live-streaming liturgies, including St Josephat Cathedral.

Salt + Light Media have daily live-streaming of Roman Catholic Mass, including broadcast of the Papal Mass celebrated each day by Pope Francis. Salt + Light TV is also available via cable television; check your cable provider for channel information.

Remember that we participate in the Divine Liturgy through active prayer and reflection on the words of scripture and contemplating the great mystery of the Eucharist. We are not spectators, but full participants. Extra effort may be needed to keep this sense of participation when engaging with the Liturgy via video, a medium that we mostly passively consume as spectators. Make the responses you would normally make in church. Follow along with the physical actions of the celebration, crossing yourself and, as physically able and appropriate, bowing or prostrating. As Father Yuriy advises: As you participate in this Sunday celebration, try not to use it as background noise while you go about your daily routine. Instead, light a candle, have icons present and make your home a “little Church” according to St John Chrysostom. By bringing our experience of the Church into the home, we more fully recognise and appreciate what it means to be the Church when we gather during the Liturgy.’

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Emotional isolation and loneliness will doubtless be a strain for many people staying at home and lacking their usual social contacts and routines, especially as the COVID-19 response continues for as long as it will likely be in order to suppress outbreaks. There are many social media opportunities available to connect with communities of other Catholics — including a Reddit community for Eastern Catholics —, and also tools to help stay in touch with family and friends via video chat. Jitsi Meet offers free online video chat, is easy to use, and does not require an account, as well as offering excellent privacy and security.

During the remaining Thursdays in Lent, the Eparchy of Edmonton will be livestreaming a series of reflections on the theme of Christ in the Old Testament. These will be broadcast on the Eparchy's YouTube channel at 6PM Pacific time and 7PM Mountain time on Thursday evenings:

At this difficult time, when our communal observation of Lent and the approach to Easter has been disrupted by suspension of public celebrations of Divine Liturgy, this video series provides an opportunity to reflect, with the whole Church, on the promises of salvation made in the Old Testament, and how these are fulfilled in Christ.

The crest of the Eparchy of New Westminster

Chancery Office, Eparchy of New Westminster
18 March 2020

To the Reverend Clergy:


As you may already know, the Government of British Columbia has now declared a state of emergency under the Public Health Act.

New public health measures are now recommended to limit the time people spend in large crowds and crowded spaces. Effective immediately, all events over 50 people are to be cancelled.

In this light, I have issued the following liturgical norms, effective immediately, which include the suspension of all Divine Liturgies throughout the Eparchy of New Westminster.

We carry all our faithful in our prayers.

God bless,

Bishop David

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To the Faithful:

We are living in extraordinary times. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic. It has affected every aspect of our daily lives.

The Government of British Columbia has now declared a state of emergency under the Public Health Act. New public health measures are now recommended to limit the time people spend in large crowds and crowded spaces. All events over 50 people are to be cancelled.

Our primary concern must always be to care for the spiritual, physical, mental, and wellbeing of our fellow parishioners and citizens, many of whom are seniors and those at greater risk.

Therefore, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following liturgical norms are to be followed:

  • All Divine Liturgies are suspended until further notice.
  • Faithful are encouraged to follow the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on weekends via livestream or recording on the Internet. On Sundays, Holy Eucharist Cathedral (New Westminster), and St Nicholas the Wonderworker parish (Victoria) will livestream liturgical services. Please note, these are closed to the public.
  • All Lenten liturgical services and Lenten Missions are cancelled. The faithful are directed to the Eparchy of New Westminster website where they will find videos and materials to help grow spiritually in their Lenten journey.
  • All penitential liturgical services are cancelled. Priests are available to hear individual confessions upon request or during posted hours. Confessions will take place in an open space (for example, before the Icon of Christ at the Iconostasis), and not in the confessional. Consult local parishes for hours.
  • Funerals may continue to be celebrated in our churches and in funeral homes. In consultation with the relatives of the deceased, the number of attendees should be limited to 50 people.
  • Some families may choose immediate interment, followed by a memorial funeral service at a later date. Public receptions following the funeral are not to take place.
  • Children preparing for Solemn Communion and First Reconciliation are to receive instruction by parents in their own homes. Catechists can assist parents with the preparation of lessons and materials.
  • Upon request, priests are available to visit the sick and shut-ins who request the Divine Eucharist, Confession or the Sacrament of the Sick. In every case, they are expected to practice appropriate risk mitigation.
  • Churches are to remain open, where possible, for some time to allow for private prayer. Consult local parishes for hours.
  • Further liturgical norms on Holy Week are forthcoming.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray.

As the situation is fluid, for up to date information on the Coronavirus, visit reliable sources, for example, Government of British Columbia Health Services and Public Health Agency of Canada.

As things evolve, we will provide further liturgical norms as deemed necessary. Let us do what we do best as the people of God, let us pray:

Prayer During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages ‘curing every disease and illness.’ At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow. Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace. Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace. Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace. Be with our priests and spiritual care givers. May they know that they are loved and cared for.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

For You are a God of mercy, kindness, and love, and we glorify You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Bishop David Motiuk
Apostolic Administrator

Updated 18 March 2020

Following directives of our Apostolic Administrator Bishop David in response to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Government of British Columbia, celebration of Divine Liturgy at St Michael the Archangel Ukrainian-Catholic parish are suspended until further notice.

While this global emergency continues and public celebrations of Divine Liturgy are cancelled, the operating expenses of our parish must continue to be paid. During this time, please consider making online donations through CanadaHelps to help us cover expenses and keep the parish alive. Thank you.

Donate via CanadaHelps

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

Our new Apostolic Administrator, Bishop David Motiuk of Edmonton, has recorded a Lenten message on the theme of God's love for us: ‘While we don't have to do anything to earn God's love, God's love requires a response.’

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 third.

Becoming a Healing Presence. To become a healing presence to everyone around us we must prepare to live a life of SURRENDER. The word surrender is often interpreted in the world as weakness, giving up or losing, but the spiritual meaning is actually quite opposite. To surrender in the Christian sense is actually a sign of strength and victory. How can that be? Well, consider this: ‘If I put all things in God's hands, I will see God's hands in all things.’ It takes a great deal of spiritual maturity to able to let go and let God. We are comfortable when we are in control, when we know what is going to happen. The Gospel tells us: ‘For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.’ How many of us are actually willing to live this message fully? It is a tough one, but little by little we must trust in the Lord as the Master of our lives. He created us. He loves us and He wants us to be in love with Him. When we begin to surrender everything to God on a daily basis He will not abandon us, but will continually guide us, but we everything in His hands. May our Lord give us the grace to surrender so that we see Him more and more in our daily lives.

COVID-19 update (17 March)

Paska, Ukrainian Easter bread

Due to concerns about COVID-19 transmission, this year's pre-Easter bazaar on Saturday 28 March will be restricted to pick-up of perogies and borscht. Concession stands for other goods will not be in operation, and access to the hall will be restricted. We hope you will still be able to support the Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Society of Nanaimo and the Vesna Ukrainian Dancers, and pick up some lovely stuff to take home.

[The photograph above shows traditional Ukrainian paska (Easter bread). To learn how to make paska, click on the image to visit the recipe website. Photograph © Korena Vezerian and Korena in the Kitchen, 2014; used with permission.]

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.