Sunday, December 7, 2008

St. Nicholas celebrated in Thornhill

Sunday, December 7th was a special day for the children of the Cathedral Mission church in Thornhill. Following the liturgy, while the faithful sang the beautiful hymn "O kto, kto, ......", Bishop John "played" St. Nicholas and with a basket in hand, walked down to the children and gave out typical St. Nicholas goodies. There were 4 children present and they received oranges, nuts, candies, chocolates, colouring books and stickers. You could see the children's eyes sparkle and they all had smiles from ear to ear as soon as they saw Bishop come around with the basket. Seeing the faces of the children makes the work that goes into preparing the gifts all worthwhile.

Submitted by: Mary Siroky - Snell

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas in Windsor

Even despite freezing and snow in Windsor, we were able to meet and celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas, Saturday evening, December 6th at 5.00 PM in the church of St. Michael, where there was special social held after the liturgy and mirovanije in the hall under the church edifice. While Fr. Martin Vavrak celebrated the liturgy, St. Nicholas went to hall to left some goodies for everyone, including four children present. Others are probably already grown up, or maybe were too shy to come, who knows? Everyone, who came to celebrate together St. Nicholas, had wonderful time and unspeakable atmosphere, especially when singing the song „O kto, kto, Nikolaja ľubiť.“ We keep on singing this song many times during the evening refreshments and distributing the gifts. We hope to have more participants next year, including more children and youth. This was one of the petitions addressed to St. Nicholas.

Fr. Martin Vavrak,
Photo: Pani Anka Vavrak

Photos from the event at:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Invitation to Night of Christmas Music

A Night of Christmas Music
At the
Protection of the Mother of God Catholic Church
464 Ritson Rd. South, Oshawa

Thursday, December 18th, 7:30 PM

Come and join us in a Festive night of Song! It will be a great night of music and singing followed by hot chocolate and other goodies in the parish hall afterward. Featuring Soloists: Melanie E, Pastor Jamie, Olivia Paty & Connor Lyn, Beverly Hilton & Special Guests. Everyone is Most Welcome!

For more information, call Fr. Stephen at (905) 245-0629

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale

The Christmas Bazaar and bake sale, held on Sunday, November 16, 2008 at the Nativity of the Mother of God Church, 257 Shaw St, Toronto, were a great success. The event started at 10 am with the English/Slovak liturgy celebrated by H.E. Bishop John. Fr. Andrew Kormanik, the pastor, concelebrated.
Following the liturgy, some 80 parishioners and guests gathered in the hall below and were excitedly waiting for lunch. The wonderful aroma from the kitchen did not make it easy! There was lots and lots of pastry for sale, some knedle, pies, even some cheese spread. Of course, the ladies made cabbage rolls and pirohy as well, however, those were sold by orders placed in advance. Raffle tickets were also sold. Unbelievable number of gifts were donated - 44 in all. When everyone finished their shopping, Bishop John said grace. Lunch was served by the members of Ladies' Guild. Oh, and how wonderful it was! They prepared tasty goulash poured over slices of knedliky, served with a side order of salad and delicious rye bread for anyone wishing to have some. As a tribute to the cooks, several guests went up for seconds! I heard one guest say: "This goulash is like the one my mom used to make. I have not had any since she died. I wish I could get it more often."
After lunch, slices of black forest cake and coffee were placed on the serving table and guests were asked to help themselves. While guests were savouring coffee and dessert, the raffle draw started. There were about 33 happy winners. As you can see, the number of winners did not match the number of prizes: that's because some people won more than once! Bishop John and Fr. Andrew were also among the winners. Everyone had a great time, the Ladies' Guild raised some much needed money and we all went home happy. So, to the ladies, who prepared, cooked, served and cleaned up afterwards: "You did an awesome job. Thank you."
Submitted by Mary Siroky-Snell

More photos from the day:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

St. Michael the Archangel – Odpust

Sunday, November 9th, was a great Feast Day for the parish of St. Michael in Windsor. This Byzantine Catholic church is located in the southern most part of Ontario. Many weeks prior to odpust, parishioners together with the pastor prepared feverishly for this great day. God blessed them with good weather so that they were able to work around the church, especially the church entry way. This work took several months to finish. Thus, after replacing the entire roof and eaves, installing new windows at the back of the rectory, painting of rectory, church and the hall, work that took over a year to bring to fruition, everyone was able to sing the solemn hymn, “Vošel jesy Archyjereju” – at 2pm as H.E. Bishop John entered our church. Bishop John blessed our newly renovated church on our Feast Day - the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. With Bishop John as the main celebrant, several priests from the surrounding area concelebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Church Slavonic and English. The priests who concelebrated were: Fr. Andrew Sipek, past pastor of St. Michael’s, Fr. Layos Angyal, Hungarian Byzantine priest from Windsor, Fr. Robert Barter from St. Nicholas Church, Detroit, Mi, USA, Fr. Joseph Marquis, Sacred Heart Church, Livonia, Mi, USA and the present pastor, Fr. Martin Vavrak. Fr. Martin came to Windsor from the Mukacevo Eparchy in the Transcarpathian part of Ukraine. The day of odpust marked the second anniversary of his arrival to Canada. Homilies were delivered in Slovak and English and reflected the common theme of bodiless heavenly powers, and also about the afterlife. The day was dominated by St. Michael the Archangel, prince of heavenly armies, as well as Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, honoured and loved especially by her sons, the Redemptorist Fathers – the order to which our own Bishop John, C.Ss.R. belongs. “Myrovanjie – anointing” and “mnoholitsvije – many blessed years” followed the Holy Communion. After the liturgy, clergy, parishioners and guests went downstairs to the beautifully decorated hall and a delicious dinner. In our Eparchy, St. Michael is the last Feast Day of the year and thus Bishop John wished all our faithful a blessed “Filipovka - St. Philip’s fast” and a blessed upcoming Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Pani Anna a Fr. Martin Vavrak

For more photos from the event click here:

Submitted by: Pani Anna and Fr. Martin Vavrak

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Protection of the Mother of God, Oshawa

Success! A great day. We started off with something completely different—Morning Praise led by Pastor Jamie Legault of My Father’s House Christian Fellowship. Bishop John blessed our new parish sign, and then celebrated the Divine Liturgy, after which we feasted in the Parish Hall. We were graced by the presence of Bishop John, Fr. Andrew Kormanik, Fr. Jozef Mucha, Fr. Ron Comeau, and Fr. John Fetsco. Irena Revtak and her crew, Irena and Gabriella, put on an amazing feast with the addition of many ladies who contributed their baking for our fabulous dessert section. For the finale, Lucia Williams organized a raffle with some great donations from the community: an Israeli art school, the Slovak Community Circle of Oshawa, Luba Henderson, Sheridan Nurseries, Scholar’s Choice. The prize table was also adorned with some of Lucy’s own sladkosti and children’s gifts for the hordes of kiddies. The proceeds from the ticket sales and the raffle, combined with our summer Rummage Sale, have given us a great beginning towards paying for the new sign. We’re growing in Oshawa! Come for a visit, check out our new sign, and meet our new parishioners. We’d love to see you some Sunday morning for Morning Praise at 9:30 and the Divine Liturgy at 10:00.

Photos from the event are available at:

Fr. Stephen Williams

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nativity of the Mother of God Feast Day - Odpust

Each year around the beginning of September, we look for good weather. We hope for good weather so that the clergy, followed by our Bishop, can process from the rectory to the church. This year, on September 7th the weather did not cooperate. Since it was raining on and off, the decision was made to gather at the back of the church and only have the procession from the back door to the altar. However, even if the weather was not exactly great, the church was full of parishioners and guests.Bishop John was preceeded by clergy of our Eparchy: Fr. Andrew Kormanik, Fr. John Girhiny, Fr. Martin Vavrak and Fr. Ron Comeau. They were joined by Fr. Martin Huk, C.Ss.R., a latin rite Redemptorist from Bratislava Vice Province. Fr. John Fetsco, C.Ss.R was waiting for them at the altar. Following the duties at their own parishes, Fr. Stephen Williams and Fr. Jozef Mucha later joined their fellow clergymen at the altar. Among the guests were: the wife of Fr. Andrew Kormanik (Mrs. Margaret Kormanik and their son), the wife of Fr. John Girhiny (Dr. Valerie-Dawn Ruddell Girhiny), the wife of Fr. Martin Vavrak (Mrs. Anka Vavrak and their 2 sons) and the wife of Fr. Stephen Williams (Mrs. Lucia Williams with their daughter and son) and several members of the Knights of Malta with their wives.

Divine Liturgy began with HE Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R. blessing the east/west/north/south with the dikirion and the trikirion; then Fr. Andrew began the litanies. Just before the sermon, Fr. Andrew welcomed Bishop John and the visiting clergy as well as all the parishioners and guests from near and far, and asked Bishop John to deliver the homily in English. We had the honour of listening to Fr. Martin Huk as he delivered the homily in Slovak. His sermon was inspiring and he reminded us what love really is by using the examples of children’s definition of love. We later learned that Fr. Martin Huk is in Canada visiting his sister: Mrs. Anka Vavrak.

At the end of the liturgy, we sang “Mnohaja lita” to two of the clergy: on this day, 33 years ago, Fr. Andrew Kormanik, Pastor of Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God, and Fr. John Girhiny, were ordained to the priesthood by the late Bishop Michael Rusnak, C.Ss.R.
Following anointing (mirovanije) all guests moved to the church hall. Parish ladies prepared a delicious meal for everyone to enjoy. Thus another annual odpust came to an end and we look forward to 2009 and hope for a lot of sunshine so that the procession can actually be around the outside of the church.
By Mary Siroky Snell
More photos avialable at:
And at:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dormition Odpust in Hamilton

Year passed quickly again, and all those who wished to celebrate our Lady of Klokocov for the feast of her Dormition gathered again in the beautiful church at Barton Street in the city of Hamilton. Our flock led by bishop John Pazak, CSsR thus showed, that this tradition of August pilgrimage within Canadaian Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius is still alive. Special concelebrant at this liturgy was Fr. Pavol Tomko, CSsR, who once ministered in this Eparchy and to many of these people. Parishioners of Hamilton did nice job with hosting clergy and pilgrims from around the Eparchy, and festal banquet followed Divine Liturgy. Everyone is hoping for many more pilgrimages to come.

Photo credits: Pani Anka and Fr. Martin Vavrak

More pictures are available at:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Welland Greek Catholics gathered in museum

On June 28, 2008 Holy Ghost Slovak Greek Catholic Church officially transferred its essential artifacts to the Welland Historical Museum. At that location the work of the Slovak people in Welland will be recognized for the generations to come.

The space in the museum takes its external shape from the (originally Slovak) Latin Rite Church in Welland whose ceiling is an inverted ark. Under this ark are placed the “icons”, an altar, a fully vested “priest”, and other significant objects taken from the Holy Ghost church building for preservation purposes. The result is a miniature version of Holy Ghost Slovak Greek Catholic Church.

The Slovak Ambassador, H.E. Stanislav Opiela, officiated at the opening of the exhibit and Slovak sweets were prepared and served by the ladies. Many dignitaries were also present and spoke of the contributions of the Slovak people to Canada.

Many people thought of the day as a moving and spiritual pilgrimage especially when the afternoon was concluded with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by the Right Reverend Mitred Archpriest, Dr. John Girhiny, who has been pastor for the parish for the last twenty years. All the parishioners who were physically capable were present at this “relocation” of the parish and what now appears to have been the last service of Holy Ghost Slovak Greek Church. Also in attendance were Slovaks from other parishes and locations, many who had become “friends” of the parish, as well as a number of people who were able to see the beauty of a Byzantine service for the first time. The service was sung in English and Old Slavonic and, through technology, the moving force for the past 15 years of the parish, John Ferko, was able to be present for this last service as he so much wanted to be.

May God grant to him and all the other deceased members of the parish eternal memory and may those who still are present on earth be granted peace, health and happiness for many years.

While still nominally the pastor until the bishop makes a decision about the future, Fr. John has been authorized by Bishop John to return to his duties as President of the St. George Mission Society.

By Fr. John Girhiny

Photo credits: Fr. and Mrs. John Girhiny, M. Hudak.

For more photos visit the gallery:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rummage and bake sale in Oshawa

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

Rummage and bake sale is happening Saturday, May 31st, starting at 7am at Protection of the Mother of God, 464 Ritson Rd. S., Oshawa, ON.

Any specialty Slovak baked contributions (spring cleaning discards) are greatly appreciated.

Any money raised will go towards our new sign.

Fr. Stephen and his parishioners are looking forward to see you there !

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Odpust in Montreal

Our parish of the Ascension of our Lord in Montreal is celebrating their patron feast this Thursday, May 1st. May our sisters and brothers in Montreal know, that their joy is our joy too.

Address: 45 Legendre Str. West, Montreal, QC H2N 1G9
Established as parish: 1930 Sunday Services: 10:00

"You were taken up in glory, O Christ our God; you gladdened the disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit. By blessing them, you confirmed that you are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world." - Troparion, tone 4.

Photo credits: Fr. Martin Vavrak

For photos from the funeral of Msgr Sinal in September 2007 please visit:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eternal Memory - Fr. Andrew Krafcik, CSsR

Today, April 22nd just few minutes after the midnight, Fr. Andrew passed away in Michalovce, Slovakia.
Father Andrew was born in Michalovce, Slovakia in 1919. After theological studies in Uzhorod (Ukraine), Olomouc (Czech Republic) and Budapest (Hungary) was ordained a priest by blessed bishop Paul Peter Gojdich at famous pilgrimage shrine in Lutina (Slovakia) in 1945. After his ordination served as secretary to the bishop in Prešov and later in pastoral life in Jastrabie and Trebišov.

In 1951 left his native land and ministered among Ukrainian refugees in camp Kufstein. For a shrot time stayed in Rome and afterwards came to Canada in 1952 and immediately started with organizational work for establishment of Hungarian and Slovak Byzantine Rite parishes in Windsor. He was one of the priests, who celebrated the first Byzantine liturgy for Slovaks in Hamilton on December 12th 1952.

Using the gifts God given him was the first editor of the magazine Maria. After the death of Fr. Chanath in 1957 it was his task to minister in Welland. He joined Redemptorists of the Yorkton province and with approval of his provincial made his vows to the hands of Fr. Michael Rusnak.

His later assignments included: Gary, Indiana 60-61; Shaw St., Toronto 61-63; Roblin, Manitoba Assistant Pastor, 64-68; Wynyard, Sask., 69-70, Ituna; Sask.,70-72, Washington, D.C. 73, Newark & Wilkes-Barre, PA 74-84, Yorkton, Sask Missions 84-95 while also serving in Slovakia; Cathedral of the Transfiguration 95-03 Markham, ON; 03-07 in retirement in Yorkton, Sask, He returned to Slovakia in May, 2007 to Michalovce, where he spent his final months with his Redemptorist brothers.

May his memory be eternal!

Vičnaja pamjať!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Blessing of the water in Welland

The Right Reverend Mitred Archpriest Dr. John Girhiny celebrates the feast of the Theophany on January 6, 2008 at Holy Ghost Parish in Welland, Ontario by blessing the water.

"At Your baptism in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was revealed, for the voice of the Father bore witness to You by calling You His beloved Son, and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words." - Troparion, Tone 1.

Photo credits: Valerie - Dawn Girhiny