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:

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