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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.

Sunday of the Man Born Blind

Divine Liturgy of our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom, celebrated by Father Yuriy at Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Parish, Victoria. 10AM 17 May 2020.

After the priest has exclaimed, Blessed be the Kingdom… and the people have responded, Amen, the clergy sing the Paschal Troparion once and the people repeat it. Then, the clergy sing the first half, and the people conclude it:

Paschal Troparion
Christ is risen from the dead, * trampling death by death, * and to those in the tombs * giving life.
Христос воскрес із мертвих, * смертю смерть подолав, * і тим, що в гробах, * життя дарував

Troparion, Tone 5
Let us the faithful acclaim and worship the Word, * co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, * and born of the Virgin for our salvation. * For He willed to be lifted up on the cross in the flesh, to suffer death * and to raise the dead by His glorious resurrection.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Troparion, Tone 4
Blinded in the eyes of my soul, * I come to You, O Christ, like the man who was blind from birth, * and I cry in repentance: * You are the brilliant light of those in darkness.

Now and forever and ever, Amen.

Kontakion, Tone 8
Though You descended into a tomb, O Immortal One, * yet You destroyed the power of Hades; * and You rose as victor, O Christ God, * calling to the myrrh-bearing women: Rejoice! * and giving peace to Your Apostles: * You, who grant Resurrection to the fallen.

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 76:12,2)

Epistle : Acts 16:16–34
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles: In those days as the apostles were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, ‘These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.’ She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market-place before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, ‘These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.’ The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.’ The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptised without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Alleluia, Tone 8
Verse: Look upon me and have mercy.
Verse: Direct my steps according to Your word. (Psalm 118:131–132)

Gospel : John 9:1–38
At that time, as Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. His neighbours and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, ‘Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘It is,’ but others said, ‘No, he just looks like him.’ He said, ‘I am.’ So they said to him, ‘(So) how were your eyes opened?’ He replied, ‘The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” So I went there and washed and was able to see.‘ And they said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I don't know.’ They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, ‘He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.’ So some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.’ (But) others said, ‘How can a sinful man do such signs?’ And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, ‘What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’ Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?’ His parents answered and said, ‘We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, ‘He is of age; question him.’ So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, ‘Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.’ He replied, ‘If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.’ So they said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?’ They ridiculed him and said, ‘You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.’ The man answered and said to them, ‘This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.’ They answered and said to him, ‘You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?’ Then they threw him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him.

Instead of “It is truly...” we sing: The Angel cried out to the One full of Grace: O chaste Virgin, rejoice! And again I say, Rejoice! Your Son has risen from the tomb on the third day, and raised the dead. Let all people rejoice! Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem! for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! Exult now and be glad, O Sion! And you, O chaste Mother of God, take delight in the resurrection of your Son.

Сommunion Hymn
Receive the Body of Christ; * taste the fountain of immortality. * Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the highest. * Alleluia, alleluia, * alleluia.

[A private prayer of spiritual communion:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in these Holy Gifts!
I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot receive You now,
I place before You my whole life and hope, O loving Master;
and I ask, pray, and entreat You: Make me worthy to partake in a mystical way
and with a pure conscience of Your awesome and heavenly Mysteries:
for forgiveness of sins, for the pardon of offences, for communion of the Holy Spirit,
for the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven, for confidence before You,
and not for judgment or condemnation.
I embrace You as You enter and abide in me, and I unite myself completely to You.
Permeate my soul and body, and never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.]

Instead of “Blessed is He” we sing: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs giving life. (1x)

Instead of “We have seen the true light” we sing: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs giving life. (1x)

Instead of “Let our mouths be filled” we sing: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs giving life. (3x)

Instead of “Blessed be the name of the Lord” we sing: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs giving life. (3x)

At the end of the Liturgy we sing:
Christ is risen from the dead, * trampling death by death, * and to those in the tombs * giving life. (3x)
And to us he has granted life eternal; * we bow down before his resurrection on the third day.
Христос воскрес із мертвих, * смертю смерть подолав, * і тим, що в гробах, * життя дарував. (3x)
І нам дарував життя вічне, * поклоняємось його триденному Воскресенню.

As the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, every Sunday in May after Divine Liturgy we will celebrating Moleben (prayers of intercession) to the Mother of God [PDF]

Icon of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are devout and love God, enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If you are a grateful servant, enter, rejoicing, into the joy of your Lord.
If you followed the fast, receive your payment now.

If you worked from the first hour, receive today your just reward.
If you came after the third hour, you are welcomed to celebrate.
If you arrived after the sixth hour, have no doubt; for you suffer no loss.
If you delayed until the ninth hour, come near with no cause to hesitate.
If you arrived even at the eleventh hour, do not be fearful of the lateness;
for the Lord is generous and accepts the last as He does the first.

He gives rest to him of the eleventh hour, as to him who worked from the first hour.
He shows mercy to the last and attends to the first.
To the one is given and to the other is granted.
He accepts the works and welcomes the volition.
He honours the act and praises the intention.

All of you, therefore, enter into the joy of our Lord; both first and last, receive your reward.

You rich and poor, with one another dance.
You who are abstinent and you who are indolent, honour this day.
You who have fasted and you who have not fasted, be glad today.
The table is richly laden; all of you, feast sumptuously.
The calf is plentiful; let no one depart hungry.
All of you partake of the banquet of faith.
All of you enjoy the wealth of goodness.

Let no one deplore his poverty, for the Universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one lament for transgressions, because forgiveness has dawned from the Tomb.
Let no one fear death, for the death of the Saviour has set us free.

He subdued death when it took hold of Him.
He despoiled Hades when He descended into Hades.
He embittered it as it tasted of His flesh, anticipating which, Isaiah cried out:
‘Hades was embittered when it encountered You below.’

It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was mortified.
It was embittered, for it was dethroned.
It was embittered, for it was enchained.

It received a body and came upon God.
It received earth and met up with heaven.
It received what it saw and stumbled upon what it did not see.
Death, where is your sting?
Hades, where is your victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life rules.
Christ is risen, and not one is to be found dead in the tomb.

For Christ rising from the dead has become the first to awaken among those who are asleep. To Him be the glory and the power to the ages of ages. Amen.

The crest of the Eparchy of New Westminster

Chancery Office, Eparchy of New Westminster
1 April 2020

My Dear Parishioners,

I pray that you and your families are safe and healthy. As we endure the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are evermore united as one global family—God’s family—in our efforts to battle this disease, protecting in particular our seniors and those with medical conditions. In Christ, all things are possible. We will overcome.

Over these past several weeks, I have been moved by the love and pastoral care expressed towards you by our clergy. To them, I express my heartfelt gratitude. They are praying for you daily, celebrating the Lenten liturgical services and the Divine Liturgy for your intentions, visiting the sick and dying, celebrating funerals, hearing confessions upon request, phoning and keeping in touch with you - in particular, the elderly and shut-ins - providing counselling, and so on. They have also been sending you their weekly bulletins and homily reflections, with the Sunday epistle and gospel, and changeable parts, so that you pray and reflect upon the word of God at home, alone or with your family. Although our buildings are closed, the Church continues to be open—because we are the Church!

Holy Week and Easter Services
As we prepare to mark Holy Week, Our Lord’s passion, crucifixion, death upon the cross, and then Easter and his glorious third-day Resurrection, our celebrations will be very different this year owing to the coronavirus. We simply continue doing what we’re already doing, that is, stay home to prevent the spread of the virus, and to follow the Holy Week and Easter services from home through livestream.

[Live-streaming of Father Yuriy’s Easter Sunday liturgy will begin at 8AM on Sunday 12 April, and will be available via this Journal web page.]

When following the livestream liturgical services, it is important to stay prayerful and focused, avoiding all distractions. Set up a prayer corner in your ‘domestic church.’ Place yourself in front of an icon. Light a candle. On the appropriate day, download a copy an icon of the Holy (Last) Supper, the Holy Shroud of Our Lord (plaschanytsia), and the Resurrection of Our Lord. Meditate upon them.

Be assured that all our pastors will celebrate the Holy Week and Easter services for your intention, either in church by themselves or with the assistance of a cantor, or privately in their home.

Palm Sunday and Pussy willows
Blessed pussy willows will not be distributed on Flowery (Palm) Sunday. Some parishes who have already pre-ordered pussy willows, may bless and distribute them once the pandemic has passed.

Easter Basket-blessings
Easter baskets will be blessed via livestream, following the celebration of Resurrection Matins and Divine Liturgy. Alternatively, in these extraordinary circumstances, the faithful may recite the prayers of Easter-basket blessing yourself, sprinkling them with Holy Water, where available.

Easter Confessions and Spiritual Communion
As it is not possible to celebrate our ‘Easter’ confession at this time, nor receive the Divine Eucharist on the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, pray by yourself or as a family the ‘Prayer of Spiritual Communion’:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in these Holy Gifts!
I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot receive You now,
I place before You my whole life and hope, O loving Master;
and I ask, pray, and entreat You: Make me worthy to partake in a mystical way
and with a pure conscience of Your awesome and heavenly Mysteries:
for forgiveness of sins, for the pardon of offences, for communion of the Holy Spirit,
for the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven, for confidence before You,

and not for judgment or condemnation.
I embrace You as You enter and abide in me, and I unite myself completely to You.

Permeate my soul and body, and never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Financial Support
At this critical time, your financial support is greatly appreciated. Our eparchy and parishes continue to incur expenses as we strive to fulfil the mission which God has entrusted to the Church. Please contact your local parish as to how you can make a donation.

Continued Prayer for you and your family
Please know that your bishop and your clergy are praying for you, for family and friends; for the shut-ins and elderly; for the sick and the dying; for government leaders and officials; and for the doctors, nurses, researchers, for all care givers, and for all who provide essential services.

As we celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, I pray that God’s grace and love fills your heart, and that of your family and friends, and brings joy and peace to all people.

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Sincerely in Christ,

Bishop David Motiuk
Eparchial Bishop, Eparchy of Edmonton
Apostolic Administrator, Eparchy of New Westminster

Icon of the Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week begins with one resurrection...

Saturday 4 April 2020
Lazarus Saturday
The Great Fast (40 days) ends on Friday, 3 April. Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday form a short and joyous prelude to the days of grief which will follow. Bethany is the place where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and reveals Himself to be ‘the Resurrection and the Life.’ ‘Those who believe in Me, even though they die, will live’ (John 11:25). Bethany is also the point of departure for Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. On this Saturday, we go to Bethany, to Lazarus’ tomb. We want to meet Jesus at Bethany and to start Holy Week with Him, close to Him. Jesus invites us to be there, and He waits for us.

Sunday 5 April 2020
Palm Sunday
The public ministry of Jesus ends with two great events: the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. These two events, witnessed by many people, give testimony to the fact that Jesus is not only the promised Messiah, but He is also the Lord, the Son of the living God. Just as the people greeted Christ with branches from the trees, so Christians also greet Christ with ‘palms of virtue’ as He enters upon His voluntary passion.

Monday 6 April 2020
Holy Monday
In the morning, Jesus returns to the city of Jerusalem. On the way, He finds a fig tree with no fruit. He curses it and immediately it withers away. After three years of teaching and healing, the leaders and the people of Israel have not accepted His message. Like the fig tree, they have remained barren, without fruit. With this prophetic and symbolic act, Jesus warns those in every generation of what will befall anyone who fails to listen to His message. Arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus enters the temple, where the chief priests and elders question His authority.

Tuesday 7 April 2020
Holy Tuesday
As the chosen Lamb of God, Jesus is without blemish. He is tested and questioned by the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who hope to trap Him in some way, but they cannot find any fault in Him. Jesus’ answers are astonishing. In the end, Jesus pronounces judgment upon the scribes, the Pharisees and leaders of Israel, who had the God-given authority to teach God’s Law, but were personally ungodly and cold of heart.

Wednesday 8 April 2020
Holy Wednesday
In the morning at Matins, during the reading of the Gospel, Jesus announces: ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.... For this purpose, I came to this hour. Father: glorify Your name’ (John 12:23-28). As Jesus says this, the voice of the Father from heaven is heard, saying: ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again’ (John 12:28). Judgement is upon the world, and Satan’s dominion over the world is about to be conquered. When Jesus is lifted up (His Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension), ‘He will draw all peoples to Himself’ (John 12:31). In the evening, the Gospel reading at the Presanctified Liturgy presents to us the contrast of two figures, two states of the soul. We remember the action of the woman, who at Bethany came to pour a jar of precious ointment on Jesus’ head; and the action of the disciple, Judas, who betrayed his Master. It was Judas who protested in response to the woman's action. Jesus approved of the woman's action, because it was an act of genuine love and worship, expressed in anticipation of His death and burial. The Sacrament of Holy Anointing is administered to all who desire to receive spiritual and physical relief.

Thursday 9 April 2020
Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday takes us into the Mystery of the Passover. It commemorates and makes present to us the first part of this mystery, the part that takes place in the Upper Room. The Lord Jesus, really present both as He who distributes and as He who is distributed, gives Himself to us in the Eucharist. All faithful Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that in Holy Communion, they receive the most holy and precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour. On Holy Thursday, after the Mystical Supper in the Upper Room, we follow Jesus to the Garden of Olives: his priestly prayer, arrest, and passion.

Friday 10 April 10 2020
Holy Friday
On Holy Friday, we remain with Jesus in the moments of His passion, His trial before Pilate, His scourging, His sentencing, the carrying of the cross, His crucifixion, death, and burial. During the Vespers Service, we join Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, to take down Jesus’ body from cross, to bind it in linen cloths with spices, to carry it in procession, and place it reverently in a new tomb, in a garden nearby. On this day, we observe a strict fast, with abstinence from all meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Saturday 11 April 2020
Holy Saturday
On Holy Saturday, the Church directs our attention to the tomb. Even in death, the Lord observes the Sabbath. While His incorruptible Divine Body rests peacefully in the tomb, His Divine Soul rests in Hades, dispelling its darkness with the Divine Light of His Presence, awaiting the moment of Resurrection.

Sunday 12 April 2020
Holy Pascha
(Easter Sunday)
The Sunday of the Resurrection is called the ’solemnity of solemnities’. It is at the heart of the Christian year. However, it is inseparable from the Mystical Supper (Thursday), and the crucifixion and burial (Friday). The word ’Pascha’ (from the Hebrew פֶּסַח, Pesach) means ‘to pass by, to pass through’. The Pascha of Jesus Christ is His ‘passing through’ suffering and death to His glorification in the Resurrection and Ascension. In the deepest sense, Christ Himself is the Pascha (Passover), for the passage through death to life takes place in Him.

Icon of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
...and ends with another, greater resurrection.

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.’

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.

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]