Sunday, February 21, 2010

Visit of bishop John to the Ascension Church in Montreal

On a bright and sunny Sunday February 21st, the first Sunday of the Great Fast (Lent), Bishop John visited the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Parish of the Ascension in Montreal, QC. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy with Fr. Roman Lahola who has faithfully served the parish for the past few years.

After the Divine Liturgy everyone gathered downstairs for a lunch served by the ladies of the parish and then a short meeting concerning the sale of the church to the Bethel Pentecostal Congregation was held. After the lunch and prior to the meeting Bishop John reminded the parishoners of their heritage and the work of their families in forming their community despite recent hard times. Fr. Lahola expressed his desire to continue to serve the parish in the future. The meeting and day concluded by singing "Dostojno jest".

Text: Bishop John
Photo credits: Joe Corej

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cheesfare (Forgiveness) Sunday at Cathedral of the Mother of God.

This year, Forgiveness Sunday happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Forgiveness Sunday is a very special day and the fact that it fell on Valentine’s Day was indeed appropriate: what is Valentine’s Day about? Love! That is also what Forgiveness Sunday is about: forgiveness, respect, love!

It was on this Sunday that Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R. celebrated Pontifical Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Toronto. The Pastor, Fr. Andrew Kormanik, concelebrated and Sub-Deacon Daniel Cerny assisted. The Liturgy was celebrated in English and Slovak and parishioners and guests were reminded of the significance of this Sunday during Bishop John’s homily.

Following the Liturgy, Bishop John introduced Sub-Deacon Daniel Cerny. It was Daniel’s turn do his presentation. Everyone was asked to move to the front pews to create more of a community. Sub-Deacon Daniel thanked everyone for coming and began his presentation by showing us a beautiful icon by Andrei Rublev commonly referred to as “Hospitality of Abraham”. He then proceeded to explain the significance of the icon depicting three figures around an altar with a chalice on it, signifying the fellowship of love that exists in the Holy Trinity. He continued to speak about the three angels, the tree, the house and the rock in the background. He finished his presentation with: “Let us love one another, so that with one mind we may profess Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in substance and undivided.”

Everyone was then invited downstairs to the hall for a delicious meal prepared by the Women’s Auxiliary members. Approximately 50 parishioners and guests enjoyed lunch and fellowship. They wished Bishop John Happy Anniversary as he cut his cake. The day continued with a special service: Forgiveness Vespers. Many people went back upstairs to the church and participated in this beautiful service. At the conclusion of the Vespers, Bishop John asked all those present for forgiveness and the service ended with everyone present coming to Bishop, venerating the cross and asking for forgiveness.

Thank you, Bishop John and Fr. Andrew for a beautiful Liturgy and Vespers service. Thank you, Sub-Deacon Daniel, for your presentation which enlightened and inspired us and showed us that Lent should not be something to dread; it should be a time for us to prepare ourselves for the Resurrection. Thank you to everyone who attended. May you have a beautiful Lent and be fully prepared for Eastertime.

Text and photo: Mary Siroky - Snell

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seminarian Daniel’s presentation in Oshawa

Tuesday morning began with a beautiful sunshine and it was a wonderful day for parishioners and guests to gather at an afternoon liturgy in Oshawa. Bishop John celebrated the liturgy and Fr. Williams concelebrated. Anointing by Bishop John followed.

hop John then introduced Seminarian Daniel Cerny who had a short presentation on the upcoming season of Lent. He reminded all of us that the time of Lent is not only a time when we give up certain foods; it is also a time when we try to be more like Jesus: kind and forgiving. He also reminded us that in order to do that we need to show kindness to others. This should not be very difficult – sometimes all it takes is a smile to show that we care.

Immediately after the liturgy everyone gathered in the hall downstairs. The parish ladies brought wonderful homebaked goods, coffee and tea was available and Fr. Williams provided vegetables and dip. While we enjoyed the prepared “feast”, Daniel was able to chat with most of the people present and find out if and how each family prepares the typical basket with Easter foods for blessing. The gathering ended with all of us joining Daniel in singing a few Slovak folk songs.

Mary Siroky - Snell

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ecumenical prayer service for victims of the earthquake on Haiti

Bishop John S. Pazak, CSsR, Eparchial Bishop of the Eparchy of SS. Cyril and Methodius for Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada represented his flock at this ecumenical prayer service held for those affected by recent earthquake in Haiti. The prayer service was organized by Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith affairs of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and took place at St. Paul's Basilica, the oldest Catholic Church in Toronto. Presiding at the ceremony was H. E. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, who also delivered the homily. Memebers of various churches were present as well as civil authorities, including Mr. David Miller, mayor of the town of Toronto. To prove serious commitment and to also show the practical aspect of our faith, everyone present had an opportunity to contribute to a collection for victims, thus participate in the rebuilding of Haiti.