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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.

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!

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 nweparchy.christmascandle@gmail.com

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]