Sunday, August 14, 2011

Odpust in Hamilton

On Sunday, August 14, 2011, beautiful voices could be heard emanating from the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church in Hamilton. Led by Fr. Jaroslav Lajčiak, a visiting Slovak priest from Rome, parishioners stood in front of the icon of Our Lady of Klokočov and sang an Akatist to the Mother of God, “Tebe, Bohorodička, mocná vládkyňa, spievame víťaznú pieseň. - Vyslobodila si nás od zlého, preto ti vrúcne ďakujeme, - hoci sme len nehodní služobníci. Ty si nepremožiteľná, - zbav nás všetkých bied, aby sme ti mohli spievať: Raduj sa, panenská Nevesta! The atmosphere was one of peace and prayerfulness, enabling everyone present to focus on why they had come to Hamilton that day, namely to celebrate the feast day of the Dormition of the Mother of God (the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). The church was beautifully decorated with flowers and the smell of incense filled every pew. After the Akatist, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom began with the entry of the altar servers, the Bishop and many of the priests of the Slovak Eparchy of St. Cyril and Methodius along with visiting priests. Cantor Jozef Ridos led the singing during the first half of the Liturgy with Cantor Mary Seminsky leading the second half. Both were assisted by cantors from Hamilton and Toronto. During the Liturgy, Jozef Ridos chanted the Epistle reading in Slovak. He was followed by eight year old Victoria Rusnak, a new Reader, who read the Epistle in English. The homilies by Bishop Pazak (English) and Fr. Lajčiak (Slovak) focussed on what is truly important for us as followers of Christ, and sought to awaken within our slumbering hearts, our true calling as Christians.
In the church hall at the banquet that followed, parishioners and guests enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by a small group of dedicated volunteers. Our master of ceremonies introduced the head table and led the prayers along with Jozef Ridos, Fr. Mucha and Bishop Pazak. The annual volunteer award was given out to four members of our parish, who went above and beyond in volunteering much energy and time this past year in helping our church to thrive. A new award, the Msgr. Frantisek Fuga Stewardship Award was introduced, recognizing the outstanding stewardship of founding members of our parish along with current members who embody all aspects of “Stewardship” in our church community. And like the annual volunteer award, new recipients will be announced each year. The day ended with a game exploring our knowledge of our rich Catholic faith and our heritage as Slovak Byzantine Catholics. Congratulations to all who are striving to know their faith, who are keeping our rich heritage alive and who are passing that faith to the generations coming after us.
Thank you to Fr. Mucha and the dedicated volunteers who made this Feast Day such a success. And a special thank you to everyone who attended and participated on this beautiful day. We invite everyone to come and celebrate our St. Nicholas/Christmas Bazaar on Sunday, December 11th. And we would like to invite all parishioners, past and present along with their friends and families to come and join us as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our parish in the Fall of 2012.
Please check out our website for more information about our liturgy schedule and coming events:


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