Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration


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The Church – The Gathering Place

Can one be saved outside of the Church?

First we have to clarify what we mean by Church. If we mean by this how church is commonly understood, then I think yes there is salvation beyond the Church. If we think of the Church simply as a holy place or a separate denomination we’re kidding ourselves and we haven’t heard Christ’s message. Christ said that there are those whom He calls to be his disciples, that is, to be the Church. But He loves others just as much. Beyond the Church there are over 5 billion unbaptized people, who belong to other religions. That’s why I think we can use the concept of “baptism by conscience,” when individuals live according to their deep moral-ethical principles given by God into all hearts.

Can we believe in God and not attend Church or be Churchgoers and not believers?

I would presume that people don’t find themselves in church accidentally in the 21st c. People no longer keep tabs on who is in church or not, even in the villages. No one is scolded for non-attendance—and this is as it should be. You cannot be forced to be a Christian.

Unfortunately, there are those who go to church but live lives that are not worthy of a Christian. But they are a minority. Most people who go to church are searching for God.

Those who say that they believe in God, but do not attend, often justify their animosity to the Church in various ways. But as soon as a person feels touched by someone, invited, sees the joy of encountering God, the need for excuses evaporates. I am certain and can attest from my own life experience that God is knocking on everyone’s door in all kinds of ways, ceaselessly inviting them. Some respond and some keep the door permanently shut.

It seems that the first Christians had an authentic experience of the Lord, that the Church was more alive then. What is missing in today’s Church?

The early Church was a gathering place, a place of community, friendship, mutual support. Today our Church is undergoing a crisis of relationship. There is a concept of “anonymous Christians”—that is, people come to church, pray, perhaps have communion, formally greet one another—and that’s it. The early Christian communities exchanged the kiss of peace at Liturgy: they embraced each other. We can only reach such closeness if every parish becomes a gathering of intimate community.

Perhaps contemporary church communities became individualistic because of an undue emphasis on sacramentalism: that is, people come to Church only to “receive” a given “sanctity”. This is a post-Soviet legacy, when religion became a private affair, given the prohibition of public religious practice. This “religion complex” remains current: standing at the back of the church, not receiving Eucharist, passively keeping quiet, since a step towards openness requires spiritual effort. We, Christians of today, have many barriers to overcome in order to revive the original concept of Church.

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A Litany to women

MothersDayWe walk in the company of the women who have gone before, Mothers of the faith both named and unnamed, Testifying with ferocity and faith to the Spirit of wisdom and healing.

They are the judges, the prophets, the martyrs, the warriors, poets, lovers and saints who are near to us in the shadow of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams.

We walk in the company of Deborah, who judged the Israelites with authority and strength. We walk in the company of Esther, who used her position as Queen to ensure the welfare of her people.

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The Church—The Gathering Place|Церква – місце спілкування

ChurchEaster2017(Interview with Fr. Oleh Kindiy, Professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv – continued)

Many people we interviewed replied that they believe in God but they don’t need a “middle man”. Others go to church when it’s empty. Still others attend for certain “rituals”: baptisms, weddings, or funerals. The majority generally don’t consider Church as community.

This is because, for instance, we teach catechism to children but only rarely in parishes do we have catechetical programs for adults. The Early Christians knew well that Church was a place to continuously deepen our faith, but we today have yet to recognize this. In terms of knowing God, there are no boundaries. On the other hand, at times people demand something from the Church, but when they are invited to, for example, a Parish Bible study, or a group to discover the beauty of the Byzantine Liturgy, they won’t take that next step; few respond to the additional offerings of their church.

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70th anniversary of “Operation Vistula (Wisla)”

Operation WislaApril 28-29 marks the 70th anniversary of the horrific “Operation Vistula (Wisla)”: the forced deportation of approximately 140,775 Ukrainians from their traditional territory which in 1945 became part of Poland.

During the Operation, thousands of people died. This act of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Communist authorities was a clear attempt to destroy the Ukrainian population by moving them westward and limiting their concentration in a foreign territory (which had been annexed from Germany).

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The Church—The Gathering Place | Церква – місце спілкування

ChurchEaster2017The following is from an interview with Fr. Oleh Kindiy, Professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv

People who attend Church don’t always consider themselves a part of a community. It’s easier for them to think of the Church as the priest or choir, ie: something beyond themselves. Doesn’t this remove personal responsibility?

I often ask people what percentage of the Church is made up by the clergy: priests, monks, bishops etc. The answer is between 30-50%, suggesting that lay people are only a segment of the Church that is primarily constituted by clergy. They are surprised when I tell them that clergy make up less than 1% of the Church. Lay people do not realize that they are the majority; they expect the priest to do everything: gather people and assign jobs for each to accomplish.

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Celebrating 70-years of UCWLC at our Parish | До 70-ліття нашого відділу ЛУКЖК

UCWLC-logoIn spite of the demands of wartime, Canada’s Ukrainian Catholic women established the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada in 1944.

Three years later, recognizing the wisdom of a national organization, the women of our Parish decided to establish a UCWLC branch in Kitchener and join this impressive and unprecedented initiative.

This week, we honour their 70 years of service to our Church, our parish, and the Kitchener-Waterloo community.

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Why go to church? [Pt. 11] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Communion imageSometimes people say their own prayers during Liturgy …
These people aren’t feeling their role in the community event that is Liturgy. They simply have not grasped what is taking place at the Liturgy and naturally they would want to spend that time doing something that is spiritually engaging …

What is the meaning of other Services in our Church, besides the Divine Liturgy?
In our rite, we have a great number and variety of services. Each has its own worth. Too often, we make the mistake of measuring other liturgies as “less than” the Divine Liturgy.

Each liturgy is a glorification of God. We sing various biblical texts, hymns, chants—thus achieving the pinnacle of human ability; the celebration of God.

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Христос Воскрес! Christ is Risen!

Easter2017“Behold, today is the day of the Resurrection!” A day like no other, the feast of feasts! Today and all during this week the doors of the iconostasis are kept open, visually showing us that heaven is available to us all!

God’s graciousness does not look upon our faults, but embraces our desire to be reconciled.
This feast is the most powerful witness of God’s goodness and the Holy Trinity’s desire that we be with Our Lord forever. It is the fulfillment of the promise that love shall conquer all. It is this faith and knowledge that has given energy to our predecessors in this parish who overcame immense obstacles to build and devleop our community’s life. Last year we celebrated that history and their efforts.

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Празник празників! Feast of feasts!

EasterThere is no more important celebration on the Christian calendar than today: the feast of the Lord’s resurrection. Among the many, many words that have been spoken and written about this day, none surpass those of the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom (who is credited as the author of our regular Divine Liturgy. His homily is traditionally proclaimed every Easter.

Let all the pious and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward …

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Why go to church? [Pt. 10] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Is it mandatory for a Christian to receive the Eucharist?
In the same way that it is to attend the Divine Liturgy.

The Liturgy is a unity. The Gospel reading, the offering, the eucharist, the dismissal, just as our singing, and the incensing of the priest—are all equally important.

But you said that Liturgy is not an obligation …
Exactly. Neither Eucharist nor Liturgy are obligatory. The Eucharist is a way of life: I live in Christ and with Christ and so I receive his body and blood. In this way, that is absolutely unfathomable to human understanding, I unite myself to Christ, who leads me to God. If we want to live fully, if we want to live the life to which God has invited us, he has provided us the way: the Eucharist. Jesus said that whoever consumes His body and blood will have life within them.

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