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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