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 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!
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March 31st, 2013

Pascha 2013

Without Easter, there would be no hope.

Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom
If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.

If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.

If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!

Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.

Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, “Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions.” It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!

“O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?”

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!

Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life reigns!

Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.

To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.

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March 30th, 2013

Great and Holy Friday 2013

On Great and Holy Friday, all gather for the Vespers of the Taking-Down from the Cross, commemorating the Deposition from the Cross. The Gospel reading is a concatenation taken from all four of the Gospels. During the service, the body of Christ (the soma) is removed from the cross, as the words in the Gospel reading mention Joseph of Arimathea, wrapped in a linen shroud, and taken to the altar in the sanctuary.

Near the end of the service a plashchanytsa or “winding sheet” (a cloth embroidered with the image of Christ prepared for burial) is carried in procession three times around the church to a low table in the nave which represents the Tomb of Christ. This procession, with the faithful carrying lighted candles, represents Christ’s descent into Hades. The plashchanytsa itself represents the body of Jesus wrapped in a burial shroud, and is a roughly full-size cloth icon of the body of Christ.

Once the plashchanytsa is placed on the tomb, the faithful walk on their knees to reverence the icon of the Lord, kissing the wounds upon His hands, feet, and side.

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March 30th, 2013

Great and Holy Thursday 2013

On Great and Holy Thursday, the Lenten character of the services is for the most part set aside, and we follow a format closer to normal. The liturgical colors are changed from the somber Lenten hues to bright vestments, like Fr. Pavlo’s white and gold. At this service is read the first Passion Gospel (John 13:31-18:1), known as the “Gospel of the Testament”, and many of the normal hymns of the Divine Liturgy are substituted with the following troparion:

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither will I give Thee a kiss like Judas. But like the Thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

The ceremony of the Washing of Feet is normally performed in monasteries and cathedrals, but is not typically seen in parishes. Because of the joy of the Institution of the Eucharist, on this day alone during Holy Week, the strict fast is mitigated to allow wine and oil.

In the evening, after the Liturgy, all of the hangings and vestments are changed to dark Lenten colors to signify the beginning of the Passion.

Text adapted from Maundy Thursday

March 30th, 2013

Great and Holy Wednesday 2013

Presanctified Liturgy was held with the customary anointing of the sick for Great and Holy Wednesday 2013. We are all sick in soul and affected by the corruption in the world, so everyone receives the Mystery/Sacrament of Anointing on this day each year, which, combined with Confession, helps to prepare us for the Lord’s resurrection.

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March 17th, 2013

Bishop Richard visits St. Sophia

Bishop Richard with St. Sophia YouthWe were blessed today by a visit from Bishop Richard Stephen (Seminack) of our St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Chicago.

His Grace processed in with men of the parish, escorted by the Knights of Columbus from Holy Cross Roman Catholic parish across the street.

Children of the community greeted him with the traditional bread and salt.

The bread represents hospitality, the warmth of Ukrainian hospitality from the rich black fertile soil of Ukraine. The salt symbolizes friendship, an eternal friendship that will never sour because salt is never corrupted by time therefore, never loses its taste. -Excerpted from House of Ukraine

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Bishop Richard asked us to pray especially for the newly elected Pope Francis. He went on to offer a beautiful homily with a theme of service to the Lord. The homily was punctuated by a story about his grandmother. Bishop Richard was the oldest of seven children who comprised a household of 11, including his grandmother.  She could not write and could hardly read and was concerned what she might possibly have to say to the Lord upon her death. Bishop Richard told her that she need not say anything, only show Him her hands. They were a testament to a life of service to God.

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Once again I am happy to be here amongst you during this holy season of the Great Fast. In a few weeks, we will be celebrating the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord. With great anticipation, we look to Great Week or Holy Week, with its traditional richness and expression of our Byzantine-Ukrainian faith. I am overjoyed at seeing all of you again and to spend a few moments with you while we recollect the purpose of our being here for the celebration of Divine Liturgy and the purpose of our life as Christians, or believers of Christ.

I ask you to think of the words of today’s Gospel that say, “the Son of Man Himself did not come into the world to be served, but to serve.” I think of these words in regards to my own ministry as a priest early in my young adult life. I always wanted to serve Christ and His Church with all my heart and soul and mind and I was always in the presence of good, trustworthy priests as a child and a young man. I was surrounded by men of God who served with faith and courage the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America. Many of our priests were immigrants who came to this country because they were forced away from their own country due to church persecution.

In those early days, back in the ’50s and ’60s, priests had to be men of service. The parishes were small and the duties were overwhelmingly strenuous. The stress and stain upon the lives of the priests in those early days was great. I remember when I was a child helping priests who used to go house to house to bless Easter food on Holy Saturday, and some of them would even begin on Good Friday. Homes would be annually visited by the priests with the Jordan waters. Pastors went long distances to visit the sick. Ukrainian Catholic priesthood was at that time a good indoctrination for those who wanted to serve Christ and the Church. So Fr. Pavlo can reconcile this today with his duties as pastor in your parish. The many difficulties and stresses and strains that he must go through in order to keep this flock of God, this group of sheep, together in the name of the eparchy, in the name of the whole church. 

The times have changed and today’s culture is much different. One factor remains the same: in those earlier days, the faithful made the difference. The laity were a strong body of believers who dedicated their time, talent, and treasure for the good of the church. They were service people. -Excerpt from Bishop Richard’s Homily

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Following Liturgy, the bishop greeted the children of the parish.

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Fr. Michael Holmberg from Holy Cross joined us for a scrumptious luncheon put on by his parish’s Knights of Columbus. One of the Knights, Bob Adkins, took the majority of the pictures you see here and generously shared them with the parish. They cooked an amazing fish fry to give Bishop Richard a taste of southern hospitality. We are very grateful for their presence, support and service.

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Three types of fish were accompanied by potato pierogies, green beans, rolls, salad, and cake. Some of our guests tried pirogies for the first time!

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The Vaselka Ukrainian folk choir sang 5 songs and children from the parish sang and recited poetry to the enjoyment of all. The parish gifted Bishop Richard a basket of Texas-made goods. Father Pavlo warned him to beware the sauces, saying everything is hotter in Texas. Natives Texans don’t think that’s the case, but maybe there’s a reason our Jalapeño-Potato-Cheese pierogies are the best selling variety!

We were blessed by a fruitful visit and we pray for Bishop Richard’s safe travels.

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February 10th, 2013

Forgiveness Vespers 2013

Forgiveness Vespers

May 7th, 2012

Rummage Sale

Rummage Sale lady sitting in hair dryer

Many thanks to all who helped to organize and make the church rummage sale a great success!

Your generous donations of various items for the sale generated around $650 profit for the church!

All proceeds from the church rummage sale will help to pay for the replacement of the AC units.

And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing.
And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living. -Mark 12:41-44

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April 21st, 2012

Holy Week and Easter 2012

Girls in traditional Ukrainian dress hold candlesHoly Week and Easter was a blessed time at St. Sophia parish! We were more focused on living our faith than on documenting it so few videos or pictures were taken. Here are a couple to give you a glimpse into our celebrations of Jesus’ life-giving death and saving Resurrection. We hope you come and see for yourself soon as we look forward to sharing the hope that is in us with you!

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April 5th, 2012

Shevchenko Celebration 2012 was a blast!

Mykola recites poetryOn Sunday March 25, we hosted a Tribute to Taras Shevchenko with the Ukrainian American Society of Texas.  There was a drawing contest, a poetry reading contest, performances by the Ukrainian singing ensemble Veselka and the Ukrainian dance ensemble Zorya, and delicious food.

We hope you join us for Shevchenko 2013! You can get in the spirit through the year by reading Ukrainian poetry at Ukrainian Poetica. The website might also have poetry with themes inappropriate for children so caution is advised.

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March 31st, 2012

Easter Bake Sale 2012

Pysanky CookiesTomorrow is Palm Sunday and we’re having a fundraising bake sale with delicious Pascha foods. People who attended the Shevchenko celebration last week got a sneak peek.

There will be plenty available. Cookies, breads, sausages, Paska, beets, and pierogies are among the foods we’ll have.

Visitors and guests are invited and welcome! Come for Liturgy (with the blessing of the palms and pussy willows) at 10AM or come after Liturgy, about 11:30ish.

Jewelry, Easter basket rushnyky covers, and other seasonal goods will also be available in limited supply. We’ll see you there!

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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.

December 4th, 2011

Christmas Pierogies

A few pictures and a short video from pierogie making today. Christmas orders are pouring in! Father Pavlo, Pani Luba, Janet, Rich, John, Daria, Chris, Maggie, Raia, Roddy, Marie-Diane, Carol, Brian, and Dorothy were among those pinching and rolling. Many thanks to them all!

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November 12th, 2011

Parish Picnic Fall 2011

The parish picnic was a great success! A few of the activities we had were face painting, temporary tattoos, a hula hoop contest, bean bag toss, cake walk, a lollipop pull, our delicious food, Christmas cards for soldiers, singers, cotton candy, a reptile petting zoo, and our delicious food! And Liz was the lucky winner of a Kindle!

You’ll definitely want to mark your calendars for next year’s picnic! If you have pictures to add, please email them to the webmaster and they’ll be posted!

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November 12th, 2011

Look what’s going on at the parish picnic!

The parish picnic is going on right now.

Here are just a few snapshots of what you’re missing if you aren’t there!

It’s a reptile petting zoo!

More to come…

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November 5th, 2011

Pancake Breakfast on 10/30/2011

We had a wonderful pancake breakfast last Sunday!

Many thanks to all who pitched in to make it a yummy success!

We look forward to many more yummy meals together as a community!

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October 30th, 2011

Fall Festival 2011

Following the Divine Liturgy which included a children’s homily, we had a fantastic Fall Festival for the children.

After church, they changed into their costumes and made their way through fishing, basketball, pin the tail on the donkey, and a trick or treat parade before they headed out onto the playground to play in the gorgeous weather.

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October 23rd, 2011

Pierogies on 10/22/11

We made nearly 1500 pirogies yesterday! Potato and sauerkraut, potato and onion, potato and jalapeño, potato with cheddar cheese, potato with farmer’s cheese, and sauerkraut were all made and are available for order. You can call the parish office any time, stop by the coffee hour after Sunday Liturgy, or come to our picnic on Nov 12th where we’ll have pirogies, halupki, and much more available!

A special THANKS to all the volunteers who came and helped to make pirogies!!!
Особлива ПОДЯКA всім волонтерам що прийшли та допомогли робити вареники!!!

We were so busy reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones that we didn’t get any pictures except this snapshot of the last few dozen coming out of the kitchen. We hope to see you at the next one!