Monday, April 16, 2012

Visitation of Metropolitan Jan Babjak SJ in Oshawa

On Monday April 16th, our parish, Protection the Mother of God, Oshawa, was honoured with a visit by the head of our sister church in Slovakia, Metropolitan Jan Babjak.  He concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at 6pm with our own bishop John Pazak, Fr. Stephen Williams and Deacon Peter Filipowich.  Also in attendance was the honour guard of the Knights of Columbus, Sheptytsky Assembly 1730.  Subdeacon Daniel Cerny, accompanying the Metropolitan, led the singing. Following the Divine Liturgy, all in attendance were treated to a beautiful reception organized by Lucia Williams.  Metropolitan Jan, aided by the translations of Daniel Cerny, gave a presentation of the life of his eparchy in Presov.  Especially impressive was his description of his 160 parishes, 300 priests, and a seminary bursting at the seams!  We also saw the array of ministries undertaken by his clergy and laity, ministries for youth, building projects, etc.  It was impressive and a great challenge to our eparchy here in Canada. 

Fr. Stephen and Lucia Williams
Photos by Mary Siroky - Snell

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Metropolitan Jan at the cathedral in Toronto

Sunday, April 15th 2012 was at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Toronto the Most Reverend Metropolitan Jan Babjak SJ. He was welcomed by parishioner, Mary Siroky-Snell, at the entrance to the church with traditional bread and salt. Concelebrating with Metropolitan Jan were  Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R, Fr. Andrew Kormanik and Fr. Jozef Mucha with sub - deacon Daniel Cerny and altar server John Telepcak. Once again, Metropolitan Jan’s homily urged us to prayer and cooperation. He offered to help in any way possible to put us back on track and make our church grow.

There was a luncheon in honour of our guest in the hall following the liturgy. Everyone was in great spirits and once Madeleine & William welcomed Metropolitan Jan and our Bishop John with bouquets of flowers, everyone was seated. Master of ceremonies, Mary Siroky –Snell introduced the head table, asked that Metropolitan bless the feast prepared for us and as the meal was being served, she gave a short biography of our guest in Slovak and English. Metropolitan Jan’s translator was kept on his toes when Metropolitan Jan began to visit guests at their tables. He had a smile and a hug for everyone there and never complained about hundreds of pictures he had to pose for! Once again, all guests received a holy card from him and a word of encouragement. Even after all that mingling with the guests, Metropolitan Jan had enough energy to entertain us with his beautiful singing voice. He started with his “signature” song: “Ej stretla, ze me stretla…” Added to the verses he normally sings, were five more that were written by a parishioner of this Cathedral, Mary Hosak. He sang several other songs and asked for favourites from the audience. Slowly, the celebration came to an end and everyone went his/her own way.

Mary Siroky - Snell
More photos available at:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Metropolitan Jan Babjak SJ in Hamilton

On Saturday, April 14, 2012, the Most Reverend Archbishop and Metropolitan of all Byzantine Catholic Slovaks in Slovakia, Jan Babjak, S.J. visited The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Slovak Byzantine Catholic parish in Hamilton, Ontario.  This was his first ever visit to the parish.  For Slovak Byzantine Catholics, his visit to Canada, to the parish in Hamilton, and two of the other parishes in the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Eparchy represented a continuity of the work of our first archbishop and saint, St. Methodius, who over 1100 years ago visited parishes across the region of what is now Slovakia.  Like St. Methodius, who with his brother St. Cyril evangelized the Slavs in Europe, including our Slovak forefathers, the Most Reverend Archbishop and Metropolitan Jan Babjak, S.J. came to wake us from our slumber and to strengthen our Catholic faith here in our Slovak Byzantine Catholic community in Canada.  Following in the footsteps of St. Methodius, he came to remind us of God’s love for us and invite us to come forward and to live lives of active faith in our parishes, our communities, our workplaces and in our homes.  And we responded.  We warmly welcomed him with “Vosel Jesi Archijereju!” and participated in a beautiful Divine Liturgy sung in Slovak, led by him and our Slovak Byzantine Catholic Bishop for all of Canada, the Most Reverend Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R.  Concelebrating with them was our parish priest, Fr. Jozef Mucha and several visiting priests.  They were assisted by sub-deacon Daniel Cerny currently working on his doctorate in Rome, and several altar boys.
     In the church hall, following the Divine Liturgy, parishioners and visitors welcomed the Archbishop and Metropolitan and joined him in a lovely meal prepared by a few of our church volunteers.  In the hall, he spoke to us of the growth of the Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church in Slovakia, the new basilica minors, the many pilgrim sites, the work being done with families and young people across the Eparchies in Bratislava, Kosice and the Archeparchy in Presov.  He spoke to us of the growth of vocations to the priesthood, the many seminarians and priests that the Archeparchy now has, and of some of the work of these priests in the US as well.  He sang to us with a number of parishioners joining in.  And he made sure that he met with each and everyone, taking time to know us and for us to get to know him.  He left our church, our parish, with renewed hope, hope in God who loves us, who gave his Son for us, a hope that is ours as active Catholics, a hope that calls us to reveal God’s presence in all aspects of our lives and to share His presence with others as we journey to our ultimate home with Him at the end of our lives.
     To the Most Reverend Archbishop and Metropolitan Jan Babjak, S.J. we can only say a simple thank you.  Thank you for awakening in our hearts our need for God.  Thank you!  And to each other we can turn and unite, lifting our gaze to God as we move forward in prayer and in faith, to build and to grow.