Bishop Richard Stephen of the St. Nicholas Eparchy      Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church      Bishop Kevin Vann of the Fort Worth Diocese      Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Dallas Diocese      Benedict XVI, Pope of Rome
September 17th, 2016

In the Beginning…

Happy New Church Year!
September 1st was the first day of the new liturgical year. A pious tradition of the Church holds that Jesus of Nazareth began preaching the good news of His mission on September 1st. When our Lord entered the Synagogue, He was given the book of the Prophet Isaiah to read and He opened it and found the place where it is written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant,
and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”
(Luke 4:18-21).


Tradition also holds that it was during the month of September that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land. And, the custom of beginning a new year with autumn was common in Biblical and Mediterranean lands because the summer harvest was completed, the crops were stored, and it was a time when people began preparing for a new agricultural cycle. It was an appropriate time for a new beginning. This is evident in the services for the New Year as the Church beseeches God for fair weather, seasonable rains, and an abundance of the fruits of the earth.

Nativity of the Theotokos
The first great feast of the new liturgical year, September 8th, honored the Mother of God’s birth; the last great feast of the year, August 15th, remembered her falling asleep. Between these two great feasts the Church marks 1o more great feasts as well as Pascha, the Feast of Feasts. Please check the calendar for our parish’s liturgical schedule to make sure you set aside the time to worship God through the coming year.

St. Sophia’s Catechesis Has Begun

Our new catechetical program, offered in English and Ukrainian, will be featured in the New Star eparchial newspaper this month! Be sure to join us at the next one on Sunday October 16.

This month, we were focused on beginnings. We learned how to hold our fingers when praying the Sign of the Cross, how to ask a priest for a blessing, and how to venerate icons. We discussed the first day of creation (Gen 1:1-5). This led to breakout discussions with the catechists on salvation history, the monarchy of the Father, the integration of faith and science, our salvation in Jesus who is the light of the world, our use of candles in prayer, and much more. The St. Faith/Vira class served everyone chocolate and vanilla ice cream to recall God separating the light from the darkness.

Text won’t replace the Christian fraternity and personal interaction that comes from attending class, but we do have an all-ages pamphlet to help reinforce what was learned which you can now download here. The pamphlet includes:

  • This month’s Bible verse and prayers including the new addition of the morning prayers in Ukrainian
  • Instruction on the nature of the Trinity
  • Biography of Andrei Rublev, iconographer of the famous Hospitality of Abraham icon, often called The Trinity
  • Biography of St. Patrick of Ireland who is known for his teaching on the Trinity
  • Lyrics and links to the song God is the Boss, which teaches how to make the Sign of the Cross
  • Coloring page and information on the Feast of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross
  • Information on Evolution v. Creation and Genesis
  • Instruction on pious behavior, covering the internal and external dispositions of physical movements and postures like prostrations
  • Information on asking a priest’s blessing and venerating icons
  • Instructions on praying the Sign of the Cross
  • Information on the filioque

Everyone in the parish is focused on learning the same prayer and the same Bible verse this month. If you haven’t started to integrate the recommended morning prayers, included in the pamphlet, please take 2.5 minutes from the day to start the good habit now.

Homework: Memorize the Bible verse and learn the Sign of the Cross. If you know the Sign of the Cross well in one language, please learn it in a new language and teach others in the languages you already know. (We recommend knowing it in English, Ukrainian, and Greek.) We’ll pray these together at the next catechesis on Oct 16.

February 25th, 2016

Live-streaming Mercy conference

Sr Ann Laszok, OSBM sent the below note. Please take advantage of the opportunity to delve deeper into your faith by attending the Saturday conference which is conveniently streamed online.

Stairs of Mercy Conference IconGlory to Jesus Christ!

Not only will we be Live Streaming our “Climbing the Stairs to Mercy” conference on March 5, 2016 but we will have Bishop Bohdan Danylo present with us on that day. Come and enjoy the speakers as well as Bishop Bohdan.

If you are not able to attend the conference in person because of distance, please note the site that you can log onto your computer at the bottom of the flyer or click on the following:

Live Stream @
Or go to and click “Livestream” and “Eparchy of St. Josaphat”

Please help us publicize this launching into Live Streaming for all our workshops from now on.

Thanking you in advance for your support.

Sr Ann

March 16th, 2013

Fr. Dennis leads Lenten Mission 2013

Fr. Dennis Smith embraces a newly ordained priest

Picture courtesy North Texas Catholic

Fr. Dennis Smith returned to our parish to give a mission in the fifth week of Lent. We are grateful for his spiritual guidance and presence.

Fr. Dennis spoke of healing and how healing comes in two form: spiritual and physical. Healing restores the “wholeness” of the person. Obviously, confession is a big part of healing. It is especially important in this Lenten season to go to confession.

“Why pay top dollar to psychologist when you have a priest available for free?”

He guided us on the proper preparation for Easter, reminding us that there is still time to improve or reach our Lenten goal if we have not done so yet.

June 3rd, 2012

The Abiding Flame: What the Holy Spirit offers to every generation

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

The celebration of the feast of Pentecost officially ends the Paschal season. As we celebrate this glorious feast, we focus on the Holy Spirit and recall how He came down onto the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ in the form of tongues of fire, fulfilling the promise that Christ had given them while He was still with them. This spirit was the Comforter, the Heavenly King, who would lead them into the fullness of the Truth concerning God and would be for them their final preparatory gift from God for the ministry they were about to embrace.

“Was it upon the twelve that it [the Holy Spirit] came? Not so; but upon the hundred and twenty. For Peter would not have quoted to no purpose the testimony of the prophet, saying, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams’ (Joel 2:28). ‘And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.’ (Mt. 3:11).” –St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles

After the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and followers they felt a new power within them. These men and women, old and young, were inspired by the Holy Spirit to a new purpose, a new goal, and a new destiny. There was a new energy and urgency to carry out their mission. Those people had new courage to face persecutions. They had new boldness to speak about their faith. They had a new passion powerfully burning inside them to stand before their own families, friends, and neighbors and boldly proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ and His gospel. After all, they WERE ON FIRE!

They were on fire because on that day of Pentecost, God has set the world on fire. Divine, all-consuming fire, that once started would last until the ends of the world. The fire that made the disciples more passionate and outspoken about their faith. The fire that was not possible to resist or to keep enclosed, but needed to be communicated to other people, to be shared with other nations to be preached and proclaimed throughout the entire world!

The feast of Pentecost was a cause of great rejoicing for the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ some 2,000 years ago. It is also still a cause of great joy and celebration today because the same fire that caused the hearts of Jesus’ disciples to burn within them still burns as hot today as it did when Christ walked the earth. Pentecost is not some kind of a liturgical event from the past; it is a celebration beyond space and time, for there is a constant outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that divine fire, is still alive and burning hot even today through the sacramental Mysteries, the Church’s teachings, and the Sacred Scriptures. That fire that burns within us that we received as we were chrismated–that working of the Holy Spirit within us–transforms, melts, tempers, and purifies us. It makes us participants of that apostolic calling to spread the Gospel of Christ in word and deed wherever we happen to find ourselves in the world.

“…Filled with love, the holy Apostles went into the world, preaching salvation to mankind and fearing nothing, for the Spirit of God was their strength. When St. Andrew was threatened with death upon the cross if he did not stay his preaching he answered: ‘If I feared the cross I should not be preaching the Cross.” In this manner all the other Apostles, and after them the martyrs and holy men who wrestled against evil, went forward with joy to meet pain and suffering. For the Holy Spirit, sweet and gracious, draws the soul to love the Lord, and in the sweetness of the Holy Spirit the soul loses her fear of suffering.” -Silouan the Athonite, “Wisdom from Mt. Athos”

Will we be so focused on our own little worlds that we become oblivious to God and the people around us? Will we block His presence in our lives? We are called as baptized and chrismated Christians to be effective witnesses to the Gospel just like the apostles and other believers were. Male and female, old and young, we must be willing to let the Holy Spirit flow and work through us and our actions.

“The aim of all those who live in God is to please our Lord Jesus Christ and become reconciled with God the Father through receiving the Holy Spirit, thus securing their salvation, for in this consists the salvation of every soul. If this aim and this activity is lacking, all other labour is useless and all other striving is in vain. Every path of life which does not lead to this is without profit.” -St. Simeon the New Theologian, “Writings from the Philokalia”

May God bless us all and may the works of the Holy Spirit be visible through our actions and in the choices we make in our lives. Amen.

-Fr. Pavlo

March 25th, 2012

Lenten Mission 2012 part 2 with Fr. Dennis Smith

March 24th, 2012

Lenten Mission 2012 part 1 with Fr. Dennis Smith

February 26th, 2012

Catechesis Begins at St. Sophia!

Our parish celebrated an achievement today with our first parish-wide catechetical session. Father Pavlo and Father Deacon John discussed the Great Fast. If you were unable to attend, ask them for the Generations of Faith handouts.

The session was followed by a Moroccan Lentil Soup lunch and then a popular question and answer period.

The next catechetical session will be in 1.5 to 2 months. It’s sure to be even better! Watch the announcements for more.

February 16th, 2012

Great Fast Pastoral from UGCC Bishops in USA

To Our Reverend Clergy, Reverend Religious, Seminarians and Faithful,

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

In twenty-first century America, it is impossible to escape the influence of fundamentalist Protestantism: it dominates the airwaves in the person of charismatic preachers, and it undergirds many of the positions taken by politicians. For them, the Bible is the only source of revelation. In this they are very different from Catholics and Orthodox, who are aware of the revelation manifested by the Holy Spirit in the living Tradition of the Church. For example, fundamentalist Protestants would discount the value of the Great Fast since it is not found in scripture; we, on the other hand, know that out Lenten observances provide an opportunity for us to encounter the Lord in a special way.

For us Ukrainian Catholics, our Lenten observances take on a distinct flavor, which is very different even from what is experienced among the Roman Catholics. These differences go beyond the fact that we begin the Great Fast two days before Ash Wednesday and finish it earlier than they, on Lazarus Saturday – that is, the day before Palm Sunday. Our emphasis is in fact very different from the Roman Catholics, who focus on the sufferings of Christ; this is evident in the Stations of the Cross – a quintessential Roman Catholic devotional practice not native to our spirituality.

Our Byzantine spirituality chooses, rather, to focus on conversion. This is expressed in the English word “repentance” which, contrary to popular belief, does not refer to sorrow for sins; rather, repentance is about a change of direction – that is, away from sin and toward God. This is also expressed in the Greek word metanoia, from which we get our Ukrainian word metania, which refers to the bow that we make every time we enter the church. As our metanias are not limited to the Great Fast, neither is our metanoia, our conversion; in fact, our ever-deeper conversion to the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ is the sum of the Christian life. The Great Fast is but a microcosm of the spiritual life, inviting us to focus more intently upon the life, which we should be living all year long.

The theme of conversion comes out clearly in our liturgies. In the weeks leading up to the beginning of the Great Fast, the Gospel readings provide us with examples of conversion to emulate: the eagerness of Zacchaeus, the repentance of the publican, the return of the prodigal son. This theme continues during the Great Fast, where the Church holds up for us the dramatic conversion of Holy Mother Mary of Egypt.

You are certainly all familiar with our Lenten practices: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Of the three, fasting has probably received the greatest emphasis, as is evident in the question “What are you going to give up for Lent?” For those who make the extra effort to come to church, we see that fasting even invades the liturgical realm: Divine Liturgy is forbidden on the weekdays of the Great Fast as we fast from that joyous celebration of “dynamic” Eucharist, so we need to content ourselves with the “static” Eucharist – that is, reception of the reserved sacrament during the majestic yet penitential Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. So often forgotten is the almsgiving which might give an indication that the other practices are more than theatrical. Remember: the Lenten practices are not an end in themselves; rather, they are aimed at our conversion of heart, and this includes a growing recognition of the “neighbor” whom God has given to us so that we might share our blessings.

Let us support one another during this holy season of the Great Fast, so that we – as individuals and as Church – might indeed come to the conversion which Christ desires of us.

+Stefan Soroka
Metropolitan-Archbishop of Philadelphia

+Richard Seminack
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago

+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM
Eparch of Stamford

+John Bura
Apostolic Administrator of St. Josaphat in Parma

Great Fast, 2012

February 11th, 2012

Priestly Forums Summary

Father Pavlo held the second priestly forums giving us a state of the parish address after Liturgy last Sunday. At the well-attended event, he went over the financial committee’s report and then discussed where the parish is headed. Here is a summary for those who were unable to attend:

1. Lent/the Great Fast starts on Clean Monday, Feb. 20th. (Or, one could say, it starts the evening before following Sunday vespers on the 19th.) We will have the Rite of Forgiveness service during the Liturgy on Sunday the 19th.

2. Our full parish catechetical program will start on February 26th following the Divine Liturgy (starting around 11:30/11:45). Father Pavlo will discuss the who, what, when, where, why and how of the Great Fast in our Byzantine/Kyivan tradition. He will focus on adult catechesis and all are welcome, including interested guests. Parishioners are especially encouraged to attend.

3. Our catechetical program, Generations of Faith, will be held around every 1.5 – 2 months with a new topic at each event. Watch the bulletin for more info!

4. Childrens’ catechesis will begin in full swing in the Fall and will be held weekly once it starts.

5. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts will be held Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7PM throughout the Great Fast. The first and fifth week of Lent are different in structure, so follow the announcements.

6. After Pascha/Easter, we will introduce more liturgical services such as Vespers and liturgy outside of Sunday. Please pray for our parish as we grow and please support Father Pavlo as he prays with and for our community!

7. We placed the property on the side of the church for sale. If you know anyone who is looking, please let them know about this fantastic location right off the tollway. We are also trying to rent the parish hall and its adjoining 2 classrooms (about 1900 square feet) for use during the week. Please spread the word!

8. Please remember to show appreciation to those who volunteer. Don’t wait until you’re asked to help. There is so much that needs to be done that you need only offer!

November 19th, 2011

Roman Catholics reflect on the East’s Spiritual Treasures and Venerable Traditions

Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer (a Roman Catholic apostolate) reflected on Pope Benedict’s prayer intention for this month:

“For the eastern Churches, that their venerable tradition may be known and appreciated as a spiritual treasure for the entire Church.”

October 9th, 2011

Just What Is Eastern Catholicism?

Below you will find audio and video which answer the basic question of, “What is Eastern Catholicism?”

The above player has a series of videos from many sources. You can scroll through the videos on the gray bar in the bottom of the player or you can see the entire playlist on YouTube hereRead more…

September 18th, 2011


Full Parish Catechesis

2019-2020 Dates: ALL: Sept 8, Oct 13, Nov 10, Dec 15 – Cancelled, Jan 12, Feb 9, Mar 22, May 3. KIDS Only: Sept 29, Oct 27, Nov 17, Jan 26, Feb 23, Mar 29, Apr 19, May 17. 
Schedule: Meet in the church at 11:30, after a brief meal in the parish hall. Classes run until 1:00. Help with food, art, environment, and supplies are always appreciated. Visitors and newcomers are welcome!