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The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is a service unique to the Byzantine Rite. It is celebrated during the Great Fast, and provides the faithful with the opportunity to receive Holy Communion on those days when then the Eucharistic Sacrifice is not celebrated. The word ‘presanctified’ indicates that the ‘gifts’ (the Body and Blood of Christ) which are distributed at the service are those consecrated at a previous celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is celebrated on the Wednesdays and Fridays of the Great Fast and the first three days of the Holy Week. This service is not celebrated on Saturday or Sunday (the regular Eucharistic days in the Byzantine tradition) or on the one great feast which falls during the Fast: the feast of the Annunciation (Mar 25). On these days, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom or of Saint Basil is celebrated, and the celebrant consecrates additional Gifts to be distributed during the following week at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is a combination of the Vespers and a service of Holy Communion. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is not normally combined with any other service. This service allows the faithful to break their fast on the strictest fasting days of Lent with the reception of Holy Communion. It is held in the evening because the traditional fast continues until sunset.

Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

From Monday to Thursday this week, the service consists of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete.

The four-day division of the 150 odes of Saint Andrew’s Great Canon of repentance concludes today. Once more, on Thursday of the fifth week of Great Lent, we will pray the Great Canon again, in its entirety.

‘From the night I seek You early,
O Lover of mankind: give me light,
I pray You, and guide me also
in Your commandments, and teach me,
O Saviour, to do Your will.’

Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete (day 4)

From Monday to Thursday this week, the service consists of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete.

‘My soul, my soul, rise up.
Why are you sleeping?
The end draws near,
And soon you will be troubled.’

Central to the themes worked out across the 150 odes of Saint Andrew’s Great Canon is that of spiritual awareness of sin, of waking up to our sinfulness and acknowledging it. This is the beginning of repentance, which is why it is so apt that the Great Canon is prayed in this way at the beginning of this season of repentance.

Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete (day 3)

From Monday to Thursday this week, the service consists of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete.

Saint Andrew was born in Damascus around AD 650, and died at an uncertain date in the first half of the 8th Century, at Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos. He is associated with the island of Crete, where he was Metropolitan Bishop of Gortyna, but also with Jerusalem, where he began his ecclesiastical ministry, and with Constantinople where he was for a time Archdeacon in the great church of Hagia Sophia. As a hymnographer, Saint Andrew had a profound impact on eastern liturgies, and is credited with inventing or introducing to Christian hymnody the canon form, which became a feature of the daily office prayers. The canon form is composed of odes, each of which establishes a theme, based on a Biblical canticle, and then develops and expands on that theme in a way that reveals its relevance to the particular day or season.

Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete (day 2)

In the calendar of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the penitential season of Great Lent commences on the Monday following the Sunday of Forgiveness, two days before the Ash Wednesday start of Lent in the Roman Catholic Church. During Lent 2021, under the suspension of public services due to pandemic restrictions, Father Yuriy will be conducting Lenten services via video stream from Saint Nicholas parish in Victoria. Please see the services times page for schedule.

From Monday to Thursday this week, the service consists of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete. Also known as the Canon of Repentance, this masterwork of penitential poetry chronologically recounts in 150 odes the Biblical history of humanity’s fall and redemption from the perspective of the individual sinner, encouraging recognition of the need for repentance and a turning again towards God. The Great Canon is divided into four sections, which are prayed across the first four nights of Great Lent.

Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete (day 1)

Icon of the Suffering Lord

While public gatherings remain suspended in British Columbia, Father Yuriy will livestream video of Sunday Divine Liturgy and other Lenten services from Saint Nicholas parish in Victoria. These videos will be available here or via the Saint Nicholas site. In the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Lent begins this year on Monday 15 February. The schedule of services for each week of Lent will be posted on our services times page.

 

In addition to livestream video of services from Victoria, we will have communal celebration of Vespers on Saturday evening at 7PM, via video conferencing. If you would like to participate in this and are not already receiving details from Father Yuriy, please contact him.

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.

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.

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.’

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.

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.

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!

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’, byzcath.org]