Saturday, December 5, 2009

St. Nicholas Dinner in Windsor

December 5th 2009 parishioners of St. Michael, Windsor gathered to celebrate in prayer and fellowship the Heavenly protector of Greek Catjolics - St. Nicholas, the Wonderworker. This year the celebration was enriched also by new text addition to the popular song: O who loves, Nicholas the Saint - compiled by cantor Nick Nagrant and his coworkers. Delicious food as well as something to drink was offered in the hall, so everyone was able to share his joy abundantly, and thus no one, who showed up regretted his or her presence.

Photo credits: Fr. Vavrak's family

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Bake Sale and Bazaar at the Cathedral on Shaw Street in Toronto

Every year, just before Christmas, people are looking around to make their lives easier. By people, I mean mostly the ladies. Anyone familiar with our customs knows that Christmas, or any other holiday for that matter, means a lot of extra work for everyone: the house needs to be cleaned, the freezers should be filled with baking, meats, pirohy, bobalky, vianocky. All these goodies require lots of work and especially lots of time. That is why most of us working women can’t wait until the bazaars!

The Women’s Guild members started preparing a few weeks before the event. Although small in numbers, those ladies can sure move in that kitchen. They started with “holubky”. Thanks to one member in particular, they had a number of orders from her neighbor and co-workers. The ladies came in Friday and Saturday and made over 1200 holubky. However, that was not quite enough, so they had to dedicate another Friday and Saturday to make 1200 more. The following Friday and Saturday, they gathered to make pirohy: with potato and cheese and also with sauerkraut.

Some of the ladies of the parish are very talented when it comes to crafts and they donated slippers and other items that they crocheted themselves. And many other ladies who were not able to help with cooking and crafts, donated items that were raffled off in a draw. Many of the parish ladies also donated tasty baking that was offered for sale: rozky, cakes, bobalky, knedle, even the ones with lekvar in the middle (just like mom used to make!).

When the day finally came, the church was filled with many people. Following the liturgy, all gathered in the hall and purchased most of the prepared foods. Then they enjoyed a tasty goulash with dumplings, salad, bread and coffee and desert, prepared by the Ladies Guild members. Even the children were able to enjoy this day while their parents shopped: a table was set up for them to do some “Christmas crafts”. They were able to colour pictures of snowmen, Christmas trees, gingerbread boys and girls. They were also able to make Christmas wreaths, Christmas angels and candy canes using beads and pipe cleaners. All in all, everyone enjoyed the Bake Sale and Bazaar, especially us working mothers. Now we can concentrate on other things because some of the food preparations for Christmas have been done for us. I must add that in some cases, I definitely would not be able to make it better than the ladies at the Cathedral. Thank you all the ladies for your hard work. Thanks to you for making it, and thanks to all of us for buying the food. This Bake Sale and Bazaar was another very successful and profitable function; and it brought all of us together.

Text and photos: Mary Siroky - Snell

More photos available at:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Odpust in Windsor

Sunday, November 8th 2009 indeed marked a special day in the history of Greek Catholics in Canada, as Windsor parish of St. Michael celebrated its 55th parish feast day. One special plaque in the church reminds us even today the very first celebration with the date November 7th 1954 under the spiritual guidance of the late Fr. Krafcik, CSsR; and today, after 55 years it was Fr. Martin Vavrak and his wife, pani Anka Vavrak, together with parish president George Szeman and parishioners of St. Michael, who prepared the “odpust”, and welcomed bishop John and all the guests. Hierarchical liturgy started at 1:00 PM on Sunday, the actual feast of St. Michael and all the heavenly hosts. Procession entered the church, while our cantors, parishioners and guests solemnly sung. “You have entered” filled the whole church. Flu virus and other duties contributed to the fact, that at the beginning of the liturgy, only our eparchial bishop, together with the local pastor were present at the altar. Later on, Fr. Layos Angyal, Hungarian Greek Catholic priest, with his wife, pani Kathy, joined the liturgy. Fr. Angyal and his wife have been ministering in Windsor for almost 20 years. Solemn homily was delivered by vladyka Jan (Pazak), CSsR in English, followed by Fr. Martin Vavrak’s homily in Slovak. Majority of the guests were from Windsor itself and from the immediate areas; it was nice to see quite a lot of people from the Slovak Roman Catholic parish of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, but also traditional guests from Detroit and other places in Michigan in USA, headed by cantor Mr. Nick Nagrant with his wife Marianne and son Michael, several families from Ontario, including Mrs. Mary Snell and Mrs. Siroky from Toronto. Hierarchical liturgy was concluded with singing of the “Many years” and anointing with the oil (mirovanie), followed by a banquet. Delicious food and fun, that also included traditional raffle with almost 50 prizes was provided and financially supported by Dr. Joe Stasko with his family. Parish president, Mr. George Szeman helped as usually with his word as Master of Ceremonies, leading the event and also helping financially. Highlight of the evening was the humour and singing of national and folk songs by best friends, who were also celebrating their names day, Mr. Michal Bural and Mr. Michal Kvolek. They have been performing for our pleasure for 55 years! On occasion of its jubilee of two “fives” we congratulate and wish our parish Gods help and blessings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Invitation to Oshawa

On behalf of Rev. Stephen Williams, pastor of the Protection of the Mother of God Church in Oshawa and his parishioners we would like to invite you to their annual "ODPUST", that will take place Sunday, October 4th 2009 at 1 PM. Price of the ticket for festive luncheon is 20 dollars. Feel free to join our Oshawa family for their celebration., as they are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible. More info available at: Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church, 464 Ritson Road S., Oshawa, ON L1H 5J9, Phone 905 245 0629.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nativity of Mother of God Cathedral Odpust 2009

This year’s odpust was held on Sunday, September 13th, 2009. It began at 1pm with a procession into the church. Led by the processional cross and banners, the Bishop and clergy walked into the church while the faithful sang “Vosel jesi, Archijereju”. About 120 parishioners and guests participated in the liturgy, celebrated by H.E. Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R. and concelebrated by Fr. Mucha (Hamilton), Fr. Williams (Oshawa), Fr. Girhiny (Welland) and Fr. Kormanik, the pastor of Nativity of the Mother of God in Toronto. The liturgy was celebrated in English and Slovak. Fr. Andrew Kormanik read the Gospel in Slovak and English and Bishop John had the homily. At the end of the liturgy there was mirovanije.

Following the festivities in the church, the faithful gathered in the church hall for a banquet. Fr. Comeau joined Bishop John and the concelebrating clergy at the head table. The banquet started with the singing of “Our Father” and Bishop John blessing the food. Following the introduction of the head table, the delicious meal was served. Between the main meal and coffee and cake, the senior dancers from Vychodna Dance Group performed three dances: Parchovany, Margecany and Trencin. What a talent! It was a very enjoyable performance. Vychodna Dance Group is celebrating their 25th anniversary and we encouraged all to come and show their support by attending their gala afternoon with guest orchestra Zemplin from Slovakia. Judging from their performance here it will be an excellent show.

After coffee and cakes, Bishop John had a brief speech and so did Fr. Kormanik. Towards the end of the celebrations in the hall, the faithful acknowledged the 34th anniversary of Fr. Andrew Kormanik and Fr. Girhiny by singing "Mnohaja Lita" to the two of them. Guests were also invited to the next odpust, October 4th, 2009 at 1pm in Oshawa. The MC thanked Bishop John, Fr. Andrew, the priests and their families, parishioners and guests who attended, all those who helped make this odpust a success and especially all the ladies who prepared the delicious meal. Having our spiritual selves satisfied by the liturgy and homily in the church, and having our stomachs filled with the delicious homemade foods in the hall, we all left happy and look forward to the next odpust in Oshawa.

Text and photo: Mary Siroky - Snell

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Pilgrims from our eparchy in Uniontown

This year's Annual Labor Day pilgrimage of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolia in Pittsburgh, organized by Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province was marked with special solemnity, as the pilgrims gathered there for 75th Diamond Jubilee Pilgrimage. As many times in the past, several pilgrims from the Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Canada traveled there to pray and encounter our Lord in peace and spiritual exchange while meeting other faithful. Headed by their shepherd, H.G. Bishop John S. Pazak were present also Fr. Martin Vavrak from Windsor with his wife, Pani Anka, sons Martin, Jr. and Richard, cantor Nikolaj Nagrant, who helps in Windsor, Mr. Peter Snell, Mrs. Mary Snell, Mrs. Zuzana Siroky, Mr. John and Mrs. Irene Revtak, Mrs. Helen Lucky, Mrs. Irene Barbora, Mrs. Gabriela Di Fabio formed the group from our Eparchy. Some of our faithful traveled for seven and half hour one way, so it was a realy spiritual journey, however no one comaplained, as everyone experienced wonderful spiritually enriching weekend. This "odpust" was really like the one in the "Old Country" as it was possible to hear there Rusyn, Saris, Zemplin and also official Slovak there. By far the most moving parts of these pilgrimages are the processions. The Parastas that was celebrated at the tombs of our deceased hierarchs is the most beautiful service and the candlelight procession to and from the cemetery is so uplifting. Sunday night's procession from the Prayer House to the main altar with banners and especially the number of young people is absolutely beautiful. The candlelight procession leaving the altar at the conclusion of services and returning back to the altar is heavenly. The petitions being chanted and the response of "O, Jesus, Lover of Mankind, have mercy on us" is so inspirational. Just close your eyes, listen and respond.

Nice symbol of the unity of the Church was to see all ruling hierarchs of the Pittsburgh Metropolia gathered there including its head, metropolitan Basil Schott, accompanied by bishop John Kudrick of the Eparchy of Parma, bishop William C. Skurla from the Eparchy of Passaic, and bishop Gerald Dino representing the Eparchy of Van Nuys. Each year one hcan also attend the Church Slavonic liturgy being celebrated, and this Fr. Deacon Jaroslav Lajciak from the Eparchy of Kosice participated. This is the heritage of faith brought to the USA and Canada by our ancestors. O Lord, preserve the heritage of our faith!

Fr. Martin Vavrak and Mary Siroky - Snell

Photo Credits: Pani Anka Vavrak and Martin Vavrak, Jr. and Mary Siroky - Snell
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wedding in Windsor

Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church of St. Michael in Windsor was a place of great joy, Saturday, August 22nd, 2009. Holy mystery of Matrimony - Wedding was administered to Joseph Timko and Kendall Soucie. Main celebrant was Fr. Martin Vavrak. Every weddding ceremony in Byzantine rite includes chanting of the Gospel about the Wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was there that the Lord made his first public miracle. miraculously changing the water into wine, once the hosts ran out of it. To record that event, our church has a special custom. During the ceremony, the couple shares wine from a common cup, as it is seen in the pictures. We wish the married couple many happy and blessed years! Na mnohaja i blahaja ľita!

Photo credits: Soucie and Timko families and friends
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Uspenije - Odpust in Hamilton

They predicted a nice day with no rain for the weekend and that’s how it turned out. The day was sunny and became extremely warm and humid as it progressed however that did not deter the large number of people who came to the odpust. Faithful started arriving shortly after noon. The liturgy began at 1pm with a procession from the back of the church. Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R. was the main celebrant. He was joined at the altar by Fr. Andrew Kormanik, pastor of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God (Toronto), Fr. Martin Vavrak, pastor of St. Michael’s Church (Windsor), Fr. Viktor Crissan, Fr. Eugen Rybarsky, assistant pastor of St. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Roman Catholic Church (Mississauga), and of course, Fr. Jozef Mucha, pastor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The sermons were in English, delivered by H.E. Bishop John and in Slovak, delivered by Fr. Eugen Rybarsky. It is customary for this special day to bless flowers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bishop John blessed them and as people came up for mirovanije, all the ladies received one.

After liturgy, all those who had tickets for the banquet went to the parish hall to continue the celebration. Along with celebrating the odpust, there were congratulations and presentations to Bishop John on his birthday, to Fr. Viktor on his birthday and a special congratulation to Fr. Mucha who recently celebrated his 20th anniversary of priesthood. Good wishes and a congratulatory letter from Sr. Stefania Jurcenko, SSMI and Archbishop Jan Babjak, SJ from the Archeparchy of Presov, Slovakia, were also read. To top it all off, there was a special cake presented to all three: Bishop John, Fr. Mucha and Fr. Crissan.

The cultural program included performances by the extremely talented dancers from Vychodna Dance Group (Toronto) and some readings by parish children, explaining the significance of the Feast Day.

Following the delicious meal, coffee, cakes and the program, there was a raffle. Lots and lots of happy people won some very interesting prizes. Bishop John and Fr. Mucha were also among the lucky winners. Thank you, Bishop John, for sharing your prize (a box of Fereero Rocher chocolates) with us. Everyone loves Ferrero Rocher!

Among the guests at the odpust were Mrs. Anka Vavrak, wife of Fr. Martin Vavrak, and their son Matko.

By Mary Siroky - Snell

Photo credits: Pani Anka Vavrak and Mary Siroky - Snell

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Funeral of Fr. John Fetsco, CSsR

Based on the will of the family of Fr. Fetsco, CSsR, bishop John traveled south to celebrate funeral rites for Fr. Fetsco in his home church in Kingston, Pa. In this church, dedicated to Mary, our heavenly mother, Fr. Fetsco, CSsR celebrated his first solemn liturgy after being ordained in 1955 as a priest by late kyr Isidore Borecky in Canada.

At the altar were two bishops, bishop John from Toronto, and ruling eparch of the Eparchy of Passaic, to which Kingston parish belongs, bishop William C. Skurla. Among the priests present was Fr. Comeau from Canada, Fr. Micael Kuchera, SJ, professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, Italy, Fr. James Hayer, editor of the eparchial magazine of the Eparchy of Passaic, called Eastern Christian Life, Mons. John Sekkelick, Fr. Joseph Berta, and many others. Relatives of late Fr. John wer also present, as well as faithful, some even from our Eparchy in Canada.

After the church ceremonies, body of Fr. John was taken to Dallas, Pa, where it was buried in the family grave of Fetsco family, where it will wait peacefully for the second coming of Christ.

May his memory be eternal. Vicnaja jemu pamjat! Vecna mu pamiatka!

Photo credits: Mary Siroky - Snell
More photos available at:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Funeral liturgy for Fr. Fetsco, CSsR in Toronto

Saturday, June 27th was the last day to bid farewel to the former Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Fr. John Fetsco, CSsR. Funeral liturgy presided by H. E. Bishop John Stephen Pazak, CSsR filled the cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God in downtown Toronto with clergy of both Byzantine and Latin rites of the Catholic Church, as well as laity, who have had in person of late Fr. John not only spiritual shepherd, but also a friend. Cantors assisted by Fr. Williams joined in prayer clergy from all around the Eparchy, including Fr. Kormanik, pastor of the Cathedral church, Fr. Mucha from Hamilton, Fr. Vavrak from Windsor, Fr. Comeau, and Fr. Girhiny, former pastor of Welland. Representing Slovak Roman Catholic Parish of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Missisagua was Fr. Vano, and present were many many others.Photo credits: Fr. Martin Vavrak
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Parastas for Fr. John Fetsco, CSsR

Bishop John S. Pazak, CSsR, priests of the Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, as well as those of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer - Redemptorists gathered with the faithful of the eparchy on Friday evening, June 26th in prayer of Parastas for the soul of our beloved departed Fr. John Fetsco, CSsR.

"With the Saints, O Christ, give life to the soul of your servant, where there is no pain, sorrow, nor mourning, but life everlasting."

Photo credits: Mary Siroky - Snell.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fr. John Fetsco, CSsR passed away

Fell asleep in the Lord, June 23, 2009 in Unionville in his 80th year. Fr. John, member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist Congregation), was born December 20, 1929 in Pringle, PA, USA. After completing his elementary and secondary education in his hometown, Fr. John made his profession as a Redemptorist August 19, 1950 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Fr. John was ordained to the priesthood May 13, 1956 and began his service in the Lord’s vineyard at the Nativity of the Mother of God (St. Mary’s) Byzantine Slovak Church in Toronto. During his priestly life, Fr. John served several Slovak and Ruthenian parishes in USA and Canada. In 1987, Fr. John was appointed the first rector of the Byzantine Slovak Cathedral of the Transfiguration and served there until he retired in 2005. During this time, Fr. John’s responsibilities also included those of being the Apostolic Administrator for the Slovak Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius (1996-2000). Fr. John was a devoted priest and religious who was especially generous and supportive of the then persecuted Byzantine Slovak Church in Slovakia. Fr. John enjoyed the time he spent as a chaplain to the Slovak Sokol and being a member of their bowling team. Many lasting friendships were formed during that time. Fr. John’s enduring enjoyment was his Monday game of golf.

Fr. John was predeceased by his parents Wasyl & Helen, his sister Katerina and his brothers Wasyl, Jr., Demetrius and Harry. Fr. John is survived by his sisters: Margaret, Anna, Mary, Helen, Julia and their families. Fr. John will be missed by his many relatives in USA and Slovakia. Fr. John will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by his Redemptorist confreres, fellow clergymen and his beloved parishioners, who throughout his lifetime became dear friends.

Visitation will take place Friday, June 26, 2009 from 4pm until 9pm with Priestly Parastas at 7pm at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God, 257 Shaw St, Toronto. Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 10am at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God, 257 Shaw St, Toronto.

Fr. John’s family requested that interment take place at a later date in Dallas, PA, USA.

Vicnaja jemu pamjať! Eternal Memory! Večná mu pamiatka!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day at Shaw St Cathedral

May 10th was a wonderful day at the Cathedral on Shaw St. Even though it is May, we woke up in the morning to a rather low 2C. It was unusual to see people walking through the park dressed in their "winter" coats and some even with gloves on!

All mothers who attended the liturgy at 9am were greeted by a vase full of beautiful red and coral roses. Most of the mothers had their roses purchased for them by loving family members and those who were not fortunate enough to have roses given to them, bought their own roses. The church was filled by many regular parishioners as well as family members: sons, daughters and especially grandchildren. It was wonderful to see so many happy faces. Fr. Andrew's homily referred to the Samaritan Woman, whose Sunday we celebrated, as well as a very touching story of Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. Augustine's Christian mother, Monica, never stopped praying for him. He emphasized that no mother ever gives up her dreams to raise her children: she devotes her life to raising her children. He wished all the mothers many years of health and happiness.

Following the liturgy, all were invited to the hall and enjoyed a light lunch of open-faced sandwiches prepared by members of the Women's Auxiliary. A nice Sunday of fellowship was enjoyed by all who were present. To all mothers: "Happy Mothers' Day. May God grant you many blessed years". "Mnohaja i blahaja lit".

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pascha at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God

The most awaited day of the year finally arrived. During the day, the weather was nice. Towards the evening, the winds picked up however, it was still nice. Parishioners began arriving well before 6pm. Car after car brought people and Easter baskets. As we arrived inside, the aroma of ham, klobasky, hrudky, eggs, beets with horseradish and yes, even paskas, was very apparent, especially since we were just finishing Lent – a time of fasting to prepare ourselves for this “day of days”. As parishioners and guests arrived, they placed their baskets on the side pews to leave the steps to the altar unobstructed. For those of you who are familiar with our Easter services, you know how beautiful they are. At the altar, Bishop John was the main celebrant and Fr. Andrew Kormanik and Fr. Ron Comeau concelebrated. Fr. Fetsco was also present. Members of the Women’s Auxiliary prepared the altar and the “tomb” for the plascenica. Everything looked beautiful for the arrival of the Risen Christ. Bishop John and the priests changed their vestments from red to “bright” (white) mid way through the service. The ladies also changed altar cloths to white. When Bishop John and the clergy along with the parishioners processed outside, the winter seemed to return. The winds howled and the temperature dropped. However, we braved the weather to sing “Christos Voskrese”, and following Bishop John’s knock on the closed doors to the church, we re-entered the church and continued with the service.

In his homily, Bishop John spoke to us of this most joyous time of our liturgical year and reminded us to continue to live our lives with the Risen Lord as our guide.

The time finally came when everyone brought their baskets to the steps in front of the altar to have our food blessed. Baskets were uncovered, candles lit and Bishop John began the blessing of the food. When he was all done, Bishop John wished everyone a Blessed Easter on behalf of himself, and on behalf of the pastor, Fr. Andrew, and also Fr. John and Fr. Ron. Following the blessing, everyone hurried home to share the Easter meal with families and friends.

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Christos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!

By Mary Siroky - Snell

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Pascha in Windsor

"Christ is Risen, and you, O Death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead,is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and powernow and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen." Paschal sermon of St. John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407), Patriarch of Constantinople.

Pascha is the climax of our church liturgical year, most important festival of our faith. Every other religious festival on their calendars, including Chrismas, is secondary in importance to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is also reflected in rich Paschal customs of our church. Everything else shines only in the light of the Resurrection. Pascha (Easter) is the primary act that fulfills the purpose of Christ's ministry on earth—to defeat death by dying and to purify and exalt humanity by voluntarily assuming and overcoming human frailty. This mystery is summarized by the troparion, sung repeatedly during Paschal season: "Christ is risen from the dead! By death he trampled death and to those in the tombs he granted life." Many of our faithful from Windsor gathered in ther Church of St. Michael on Sunday morning, April 12th to celebrate our Risen Lord! To all of them, as well as to those, who are interested and might join the community, as well as to all visitors of our web page is sent the greeting of Fr. Martin: Christos Voskrese!

Photos by: Fr. Martin and Pani Anka Vavrak

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday in Windsor

Traditional procession with the epitaphios (Plashchanitsa) around the church with singing the ancient troparion "The Noble Jospeh" concluded the solemn Vespers on Good Friday, and thus symbolicaly represented the funeral of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose body depicted on the epitaphios was laid in the symbolic tomb in the middle of our church in Windsor. Father Martin Vavrak, pastor of the church, together with his faithful parishioners gathered in the church and reflected also about their own death and the faith in Our Lord, who promised resurrection to all of us. Great encouragement for everyone was the presence of several children and youth, willing to pray to our Lord.

Photos by: Fr. Martin and Pani Anka Vavrak

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Paschal celebrations around the Eparchy

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. In order to allow you to join our communities in prayer for this greatest feast of the liturgical year, here is the list of liturgical celebrations in various our parishes. We are looking forward to pray and celebrate our saving Lord with you, and to sing together also the troparion of the feast, that reveals this great mystery: "Christ is risen from the dead! By death He conquered death, and to those in the graves He granted Life."
Schedule of liturgical celebrations in some of our parishes:

Oshawa, ON - Protection of the Mother of God,
464 Ritson Road S., Oshawa, ON L1H 5J9

Saturday 4 PM Divine liturgy of St. Basil the Great with Vespers and Olivia Paty's Chrismation
Sunday 7 AM Resurrection Matins with Divine Liturgy followed by Pascha Basket Feast in the parish hall.

Windsor, ON - Saint Michael,
2120 Byng Road, Windsor, ON N8W 3E2

Saturday 4 PM Divine liturgy of St. Basil the Great with Vespers
Sunday 9 AM Paschal matins followed by the Divine liturgy of St. John the Chrysostom and blessing of Paschal baskets
Monday 10 AM Divine liturgy
Tuesday 10 AM Divine liturgy

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bake sale at the Nativity of the Mother of God (St. Mary’s) in Toronto

The traditional and much awaited bake sale at Shaw St on March 29th did not start off great. Since Saturday was a beautiful day, full of sunshine, everyone expected the same to carry over to Sunday. When we woke up Sunday morning and encountered cloudy skies, we still held out hope that the sun will poke through. Unfortunately, the sun decided to shine somewhere else. The morning started with a few rain drops and as the time went on, it began to rain more and more. By the time parishioners and guests arrived at church for the 10 o’clock liturgy, the rain was coming down pretty good. The parish ladies who brought their famous cakes and cookies, rushed in covering the baking with their umbrellas. They must have covered everything well because there was no sign of raindrops on any of the cakes.

The day started with a liturgy celebrated by Fr. Andrew Kormanik, the pastor. The first half of the liturgy was in English and the second half in Slovak. For some of the guests it may have seemed that the liturgy was a bit too long; in fact, the liturgy was longer than normal due to the special prayers that are recited during lent. The most interesting part of the liturgy is always Fr. Andrew’s homily. He speaks from the heart, always refers to the Gospel and makes a connection to real life. This way, everyone understands what the Gospel reading was all about and it stays with us all week.

Following the liturgy, all were invited downstairs to the hall for lunch and to buy the goodies. A few weeks before the sale, the Women’s Auxiliary ladies gathered in the hall and made pirohy: some were made with potato and cheese, others with sauerkraut. They also met Friday and Saturday immediately before the sale to make dozens and dozens of cabbage rolls. Then one by one, Sunday morning, the ladies brought their special cakes: cheese cakes, honey cakes, rozky, babovky, fruit cakes, and even some paschas for Easter. There were also some knedle for sale as well as cheese balls. It was not long before parishioners and guests returned to their tables and it was time for lunch. Fr. Andrew led us in “Our Father” and asked the Lord to bless the food and the hands that prepared it. The ladies in the kitchen outdid themselves again: they prepared an absolutely delicious gulash and served it with potatoes, vegetables, a side order of salad and a slice of bread. That was followed by a serving of carrot cake and coffee. And just to raise a little more for the Women's Auxiliary, everyone had a chance to buy a ticket or two for a 50/50 draw!

Even though the day started off with some rain, by the time everything finished, the sun did shine and everyone was able to carry out their purchases without worrying about getting wet. It was a very successful bake sale and the nice thing about all this was everyone’s cooperation. It warms the heart when you see the young and the not so young working together towards a common goal: the good of our church and making sure that it continues to flourish. Thank you to all the ladies who prepared, baked and cleaned. A special thank you to all parishioners and guests who bought baked goods, luncheon tickets and draw tickets. You all contributed to a worthy cause. May God bless you and keep you. Wishing you all a Blessed Easter!

Christos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese! Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

More photos available at:

Text and photos by: Mary Siroky-Snell

Sunday, March 15, 2009

“Krestupoklonna Nedila” - Sunday of the veneration of the Holy Cross at the Cathedral Mission Church

Our liturgy started with Bishop John carrying the cross, adorned with roses and ivy, around the altar and placing it on the tetrapod. With the singing of “We bow to Your cross..”, we all made the prostrations. The church had a few more parishioners join us on this day; we had three young ladies visiting with their grandparents. It was nice to see the girls eagerly follow the liturgy, singing responses and paying attention to the liturgy.

The beautiful red vestments that Bishop, Fr. Ron & Fr. Peter wore added to the solemn atmosphere at the church. Before starting his homily, Bishop John introduced our special guest, Fr. Peter Pidskalny, C.Ss.R.. Fr. Peter is a fellow redemptorist. He is also a former classmate of Bishop John. Fr. Peter is the pastor of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. He is no stranger to our community: as a seminarian, he spent his summers at the Nativity of the Mother of God on Shaw St in Toronto. He was with us at Bishop John’s ordination and he always makes an effort to visit with us whenever he is in our area and his busy schedules permits him to do so. Bishop John then had a very inspiring homily. At the conclusion of the liturgy, we once again sang “We bow to Your Cross..” and after prostrations, everyone came forward for individual adoration of the cross and to say a silent prayer.

All the parishioners were then invited for coffee and fellowship. It was a very special coffee hour, since we were also able to meet and spend some time with Fr. Peter. It’s always nice to have guests with us, especially ones “whose smile lights up the whole room” – as one of the parishioners described it.
More photos availabe at:
By Mary Siroky - Snell