Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration


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O Lord, and Master of my life

MasterofMyLifeWe know that Lent is a time of introspection and reflection, a time to take inventory of ourselves, as it were, and where we stand in relation to God and the world we live in.

Lenten Church services and Liturgical readings guide us in this direction as a community, but at the same time we can also focus on our personal communication with God: our personal prayer.

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Pope Francis visits our cathedral of St. Sophia | Папа Франциск в українському соборі Святої Софії

Pope at St. Sophia“Every time I drift to sleep and wake in the morning, I am with Ukrainians” (Because the Pope daily prays before the icon of the Mother of God that Patriarch Svyatoslav gave him)

Last Sunday, Jan. 28th, the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Cathedral of St. Sophia in Rome welcomed Pope Francis. His warm words acknowledged the contribution that our faithful have made to the unity of the Church through their centuries of faithfulness in spite of unspeakable persecutions.

In a personal way he also thanked God for three historic figures of our Church from the recent past. He spoke of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj whose suffering sustained our Church and laid the foundation for its resurgence today.

The second and most personally significant figure he mentioned was bishop Chmil who died forty years ago and is buried in the crypt of St. Sophia.

“This person did many good things for me,” the Pope stated. Through him, Pope Francis “discovered the beauty of [our] Liturgy”, the “living witness of faith” of our people who suffered so much under the Soviets. Fr. Chmil taught Pope Francis to serve at the altar.

Finally the Pope spoke of Patriarch Lyubomyr with whom he was installed as a Cardinal. The Patriarch was an example of “love, .. goodness, … and prayerfulness.”

The Pope also acknowledged the many Ukrainian women who are working in Italy ministering to the elderly.

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Молитва за мир | Prayer for peace

PrayforUkraineAll the Catholic bishops of Ukraine called for 24 hours of Fervent Prayer for peace in Ukraine from Dec. 7 to the 8th. The appeal was signed by the heads of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Bishop of Mukachevo.

“For the fourth successive year war has been undertaken against our land. The faithful of Ukraine bring daily to the altar of God the tears and pain of the people, beseeching God to free them from the invasion, grant protection and help for those who suffer and eternal peace for deceased”, the bishops’ letter states about the aim of such initiative.

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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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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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Why go to church? [Pt. 9] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Communion imageWhat if at Liturgy there are 200 or 300 strangers around me? How am I supposed to celebrate?

One might disagree, but I say that at Liturgy it makes no difference if people know each other or have anything in common – because the fact that they are present for the Divine Liturgy forms the link between them. This is what we have in common.

We may not recognize this because we usually emphasize psychological aspects of relationships. In order to relate to someone, to show love and kindness, I need to know that person pretty well. Certainly. But the Liturgy leads us to a higher level of awareness of what it is to be human, and what it means to relate to each other. We are united by the ineluctable fact of our humanness, our baptism, our being loved by God.

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Why go to church? [Pt. 8] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Communion imagePeople often complain that they don’t understand what is going on during the service. Here are two suggestions:

  1. During the Liturgy, follow along in the prayer books – either in Ukrainian or English.
  2. Find someone who can explain the text, because it was written a long time ago and has archaic terms and unfamiliar phrases. But I’m convinced that these prayers are actually very current today. Their genius lies in that, despite being ancient, they continue to appeal to human emotions and resonate with us.

For example, during the Divine Liturgy the priest says, “We hand over our life and hope to you, Lord, Lover-of-humanity”. This phrase is brimming with significance!

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Що відбувається на Службі Божі? Why go to church [Pt. 7]

But are some sections of the Liturgy more important than others?
No. Absolutely not. I’m not a fan of the (sadly) popular approach of dividing the Liturgy into more or less important segments. Because the Liturgy is a totality in itself and every separate section makes sense only in relation to the whole. If you fragment the unity then everything falls apart, shatters, and we cannot understand what is there.

The Gospel reading, the offering of the gifts, the eucharist, the dismissal, as much as the singing, the incensing of the priest—everything—is absolutely essential.

And for that matter, that we celebrate the Liturgy …
(Supposed to be celebrating)

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Що відбувається на Службі Божі? Why go to church [Pt. 4]

Why should we attend Divine Liturgy?

When people gather together for Liturgy, participate in it, receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ—they
become the Body of Christ—the Church. Thanks to the Liturgy we can understand that the Church isn’t a religious organization, a system of opinions or a creed. It is the body of Christ, a collective of people united by communion in Christ and through Christ.

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