Holy Thursday Services including the Traditional Washing of the Feet of Twelve Priests by the Bishop will be held March 29, at 10:30 AM in Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, Mount Carmel, Pa.; All the Faithful from the Archeparchy are Invited to Attend
On Holy Thursday March 29, the traditional foot washing of twelve priests by the bishop will be part of the Holy Thursday services that will be held beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, 131 North Beech Street, Mt. Carmel (Northumberland County) Pa. This custom commemorates Our Lord washing the feet of his disciples as recounted in the Gospel of John. This Divine Liturgy also commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood. All the faithful from throughout the archeparchy are invited and encouraged to attend this Divine Liturgy on Holy Thursday in Mt. Carmel, Pa.
Daily we are bombarded with messages which reveal the steadfast rivalry between various political and social groups. Each contends that they are acting in the interests of all in society. Panels of media “experts” debate the merits of what people in power say and do. Yet, there is a reluctance to surrender to some common ground. Where is the gift of sacrifice in the interests of the other, the common good? St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Philippians, exhorts us to “do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).
The veneration of the Holy Cross on the third Sunday of Great Fast reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you and for me. Jesus died voluntarily for our salvation. As you venerate the Holy Cross, resolve to live with greater humility. Let go of rigid attitudes and perceptions. Resolve to show greater understanding for the benefit of the common good. Participate in the special Lenten services, being a part of a community of faith. A Blessed Journey in Great Fast!
You will recall that our Chancery moved into the former Cathedral school building, allowing for leasing out our former building to earn revenue for the archeparchy. The original plan envisioned an addition to accommodate an elevator. The cost was prohibitive – well in excess of $ 400,000 or more. We proceeded to adapt the school building and to transfer the Chancery without providing for an elevator. So as to provide for those who need assistance to visit our offices, we are installing two chair lifts at a total cost of $ 25,000. One will provide for access to the main floor at the front entrance from the parking lot. The second will provide access to the top floor offices via the wide stairway on the 8th Street side of the building. This will assist in providing for persons who need assistance ascending between the floors. It is important that everyone feels welcome and able to visit our Chancery offices. We humbly ask your help in meeting this cost. Your contribution will assist in meeting the cost while at the same time, indicate your support for ensuring that physically challenged people are welcomed equally in the Chancery. God bless you for your concern, and for your anticipated understanding and generous assistance. Your donation can be sent to the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, 810 N Franklin Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123. Thank-you!
+ Stefan Soroka, Metropolitan-Archbishop
The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida caused much hurt and anguish, and the precious loss of life for seventeen innocent people. We are gradually coming to learn more about the troubled mind and personality of the shooter. His unusual and bizarre behaviors, and his anger and bitterness shown to others, were often observed by many far in advance of the tragic event. This is characteristic of many such persons who choose to hurt others in violent ways. Such people are often loners, existing on the peripheral of day-to-day life. Perhaps we may even foster their isolation because of our fears and our lack of understanding of such people.
In the Gospel, we hear of four friends tearing a hole in the roof of a place where Jesus was preaching, so that they could bring their paralyzed friend on a stretcher before Jesus for healing. Jesus heals the man because of the faith of his friends. One of the most healing forces in the world is another human being who can listen with patience and with love, and who responds with what his faith tells him at that time. The Church is called to be as society of true friends who care. The tragedy in Florida awakens us to be more attentive and to take more initiative to reach out to the ‘loners’ amidst us. May our Great Fast journey assist you and me to engage with others who may be needed to be brought closer to Jesus Christ for healing. May each of us have the courage to be a true Christian friend, setting aside our own pressing needs and fears as we see and respond to the needs of those we encounter on life’s journey.
When Philip told Nathanael that they had found “the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth”, Nathanael asks “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46). Nathanael reveals a common human characteristic, namely a tendency to make quick judgments. Jesus repeatedly instructed his disciples and the people to whom he preached to “Stop judging that you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1) He would ask why we look at the splinter in another person’s eye and not the wooden beam in our own eye. Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone! Quick judgments are often revealed through the occasional use of inappropriate words or swearing. Jesus told his disciples that “on the day of judgment, people will render an account for every careless word they speak” (Mt 12:36). We ought to set aside any careless use of words. Setting aside our tendency to judge others while realizing our own huge imperfections is a necessity before welcoming the Lord into our hearts.
We celebrate ‘Forgiveness Sunday’ as we prepare to enter the journey of Great Fast beginning on Monday, February 12th. Our first step in any journey is often the most important. You and I are called to celebrate forgiveness in our life. Ask yourself if you covet any anger or malice against anyone in your heart and mind. Are there some prevailing negative thoughts or feelings which need to be cast aside to free yourself of unneeded baggage for your journey of coming closer to the Lord? Our best efforts are minimized if we fail to forgive and to seek forgiveness. Recall Jesus’ own words, “leave your gift at the altar and go first and be reconciled with your brother and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:24). Jesus told the people that “if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions” (Mt 6:14-15). Today, and always, as you and I enter the holy journey of Great Fast, let us enter with a reconciled heart filled with forgiveness given and forgiveness received!