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

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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.