November 26th, 2013
Patriarch SVIATOSLAV in Rome
On Nov 25, 2013, Patriarch SVIATOSLAV led a solemn Pontifical Divine Liturgy at the altar of the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the transfer of the relics of St. Josaphat, martyr for Church unity.
Speaking fluently in the pope’s native Portuguese, Patriarch Sviatoslav greeted Pope Francis by saying, “Vostra Santità, vi presento la Chiesa Ucraina Greco-Cattolica, una Chiesa Patriarcale.” “Your Holiness, I present to You the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, a Patriarchal Church.”
St. Josaphat (Kuncevych) was a Basilian monk and archeparch (archbishop) of Polotsk who lived from 1580 to 1623, which meant he faced the daunting task of bringing the local populace to accept the Union of Brest which declared the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church’s union with Rome. St. Josaphat faced stiff opposition from the monks, who feared a Latinization of the liturgy of the Church. As archeparch, he restored the churches: he issued a catechism to the clergy, with instructions that it should be learned by heart; composed rules for the priestly life, entrusting to the deacons the task of superintending their observance; assembled synods in various towns in the dioceses, and firmly opposed the Polish Imperial Chancellor Sapieha who wished to make too many concessions to the Eastern Orthodox. Throughout all his strivings and all his occupations, he continued his religious devotion as a monk, and never abated his desire for self-mortification. Through all this he was successful in winning over a large portion of the people.
St. Josaphat’s activity provoked a strong reaction. A rival hierarchy was set up by the Orthodox Church, with a monk being appointed the Orthodox Archeparch of Polotsk. Smotrytsky publicly claimed that St. Josaphat was preparing a total Latinization of the Church and its rituals. The inhabitants of Mogilev revolted against the saint in October 1618 and chased him out of the city. St. Josaphat then complained to King Sigismund who brutally suppressed the Orthodox revolt—all leaders of the revolt were executed by the king and the rival Orthodox churches were taken away and given to the Greek-Catholics.
The suppression caused the saint to be even more fiercely resisted by the Orthodox. During November 1623, despite warnings, he went to Vitebsk. There, on November 12th, the Orthodox sent to his residence a priest who stood in the courtyard of his house shouting insults like “uniate” at him. The archbishop had the priest taken away and confined to his house. In response, the town bell was rung, which summoned a mob of Orthodox Christians who rejected union with Rome. The mob attacked the archbishop’s residence, and in the course of the attack an axe-stroke and a bullet ended his life. His body was tossed into the river. It was recovered and honored, eventually transported to Rome and given the honor of burial within St. Peter’s Basilica. It was on the 50th anniversary of this transfer that Patriarch SVIATOSLAV visited Rome and held a solemn pontifical liturgy at the altar where St. Josaphat is buried. Over 3,000 pilgrims from Ukraine and Belarus were in attendance.
Pope Francis addressed the pilgrims by saying, “The memory of this martyred saint speaks to us about the communion of saints, of the communion of life between all of the people who belong to Christ.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, the best way to celebrate St. Josaphat is to love among each other and to love and serve the unity of the Church. We are supported in this also by the courageous witness of so many martyrs of recent times, which constitute a great wealth and a great comfort for your Church.”
“I hope that the deep communion that you wish to strengthen each day within the Catholic Church, will help you build bridges of fraternity also with other Churches and ecclesiastical communities in Ukrainian land, and wherever your communities are present,” the pope concluded.
Some text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on St. Josaphat under it’s creative commons license.
September 22nd, 2013
St. Sophia Day
We had another fabulous celebration of our parish’s patronal feast day thanks to the generosity of the Lemley family!
There was great food, jet skis, tubing, shoreline exploration, swimming, more great food, live music, and a piñata to name but a few bits of the fun.
Thanks to all who came out to celebrate St. Sophia and her three martyr daughters. Our patrons have faithfully prayed for us and provided a witness to devotion to Christ we strive to emulate. We look forward to celebrating their feast again next year!
The Church celebrates and rejoices
In the feast of the three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love
And their Mother, Sophia, so named for her Wisdom;
For in them she gave birth to the three godly virtues.
Now they eternally behold their bridegroom, God the Word.
Let us spiritually rejoice in their memory and cry out:
O, our three heavenly protectors!
Establish, confirm, and strengthen us
In Faith, Hope, and Love!
Many thanks to Roman for the pictures!
September 5th, 2013
Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace Sept 7, 2013
Worldwide Day Of Fasting and Prayer for Peace
at St. Sophia Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
Sat Sept 7, 2013 from 3-5 PM, come and go as you’re able
St. Sophia parish invites its parishioners, friends of the parish, and all others who desire peace in our world to join us in whatever time and way they are able this Saturday as we join our prayers with the world’s prayers for peace. Children and families are welcome to join us. They may take advantage of our indoor play room, ping pong table, and outdoor playground if they would like to do so.
We will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world.
Bring your petitions for peace and join us!
Who: All people of good will
What: Church open for day of prayer and fasting
When: Saturday, Sept 7, 2014. The church will be open from 3-5PM for individual prayers and reflections.
3-4 PM Confessions available. Cantor-led prayer and silent prayer will be interspersed.
4-5 PM Great Vespers for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Where: St. Sophia Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
5600 North Colony Boulevard
The Colony, Texas 75056
Why: Pope Francis proclaimed for the whole Church on 7 September, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world. He also invited each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative. Religious leaders of every creed have taken up his call and are joining in the prayer. St. Sophia is offering an opportunity for our local community to join these worldwide prayers.
As our nation’s leaders contemplate military action, it is particularly appropriate and urgent that we in the United States embrace the Holy Father’s call to pray and fast on Sept. 7 for a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria and to violent conflicts everywhere,” said Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Pates, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.
Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church urged believers to join the call of Pope Francis and spend the day of September 7 in prayer for peace in Syria:
Ми – сини і дочки Христа – не можемо бездіяльно спостерігати за трагедією в Сирії, а повинні об’єднатися в молитві й пості за Божий дар миру для цієї багатостраждальної землі, пам’ятаючи Христові слова: «Блаженні миротворці, бо вони синами Божими назвуться» (Мт. 5, 9). Саме до цього запрошує нас Святіший Отець Франциск, який оголосив найближчу суботу, 7 вересня 2013 року, днем молитви і посту в наміренні миру в Сирії, на Близькому Сході та в усьому світі. Бо, за словами ап. Павла, Христос є наш мир, що зруйнував ворожнечу між людьми своїм тілом (пор. Еф. 2, 14).
With all my heart I address you all – bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and the laity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine and abroad – with a request to join the call of the pope and the nearest Saturday ‘with one heart and one voice’ with all the Universal Church to dedicate your prayers for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and around the world.
July 21st, 2013
Blessing of the Automobiles
It is a custom of Eastern Christians to have their cars and other modes of transportation blessed both when newly acquired and on or near the feast of the Prophet Elias (or Elijah as he is sometimes called), as the prophet ascended into heaven on a fiery chariot.
2 Kings 2:1 And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.”
4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.” 6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.
7 Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.
July 6th, 2013
Eastern Catholics Communing in a Roman Mass
Just in time for your summer travels! Those of you traveling to areas where the priests aren’t familiar with Eastern Catholicism can now print off a guide that hits all the important points about Eastern Catholic faithful communing in Roman Catholic parishes.
Questions answered include:
- What should Eastern Catholics do when visiting a Roman Catholic Mass?
- Is the Eastern Catholic held to western rules when in the Latin Church?
- What happens when the norms contradict each other?
- Does it contradict the Latin rite’s liturgical norms to commune an infant?
- Is a person who is under the age of reason properly disposed to receive?
- May the priest apply prudential judgment if he thinks the visitor is significantly lacking in knowledge or understanding of the Eucharist?
- What if the congregation might be scandalized by a child receiving?
- What makes an Eastern Catholic properly disposed to receive?
- How can the Eucharist be administered to an infant or toddler?
We hope it will assist many–clergy, religious, and laity of East and West alike–in greater appreciation and participation in the universal nature of the Church. We encourage you to share it far and wide online and in person!
The pamphlet is the first major work of The Star of the East, a canonically established public association of the faithful, headquartered at St. Sophia. The Star of the East has a primary mission of disseminating reliable and orthodox material from appropriate and competent authorities to Eastern Catholic clerical, religious, and lay leaders on the topics of evangelism, catechesis, and missiology.
We want every Catholic to have free access to this meticulously accurate, easily comprehensible guide and we put in all the work to make that a reality. All that needs to happen now is to have it shared!
You can direct others to the St. Sophia website to see more about it, or to download and share the fantastic resource.
This pamphlet is offered under an “Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives” Creative Commons license. That means others may download and share the pamphlet as long as the author/publisher is attributed, it isn’t used commercially or for profit, and isn’t changed in any way. Using 2-sided printing, it fits on a single 8.5″ x 11″ paper.