TO OUR CLERGY, HIEROMONKS AND BROTHERS, RELIGIOUS SISTERS, SEMINARIANS AND BELOVED FAITHFUL
Glory to Jesus Christ!
“Pylypivka” or Philip’s Fast that begins on November 14th is upon us. It is a time of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are once again called to embark on a journey to welcome Emmanuel among us! In a short forty days we will celebrate the Feast of Nativity of Our Lord. At the Matins of the Nativity we will sing:
“Christ is born, let us glorify Him. Christ comes down from heaven; let us go out and meet Him. Christ lives on earth, let us exalt in joy. All you faithful sing to the Lord, for He has been glorified.” Hirmos 1, Canon Matins of the Nativity of Our Lord.
How can we prepare ourselves to welcome God among us? How will we glorify Him? Can this Christmas season be a profound and spiritual experience for me?
In order to properly prepare to meet Christ on His feast of the Nativity, Mother Church is giving us forty days to challenge ourselves to live our Christian calling and vocation: to deepen knowledge of the Word of God, to live a life of community and personal prayer, and to perform acts of charity and mercy both in the church, and in the world. In these three points, we can describe our vocation as a Christian, as well as the vocation of the entire Church.
If every parish is called to be a place to encounter the living Christ, then Christ the Teacher must have a central place in our lives and our parish life. Now is the time to daily set aside time for reading the Sacred Scripture and to meditate upon it. We are also called to learning of Divine truth, the truths of the Christian faith
and the foundations of Christian life.
Gathered together “at the breaking of the bread”, that is at the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we are mystically united among ourselves, and are also united with Christ’s sacrifice, offered to God the Father for us and by us. The Eucharist is the center of the Christian life. The parish – the community gathers for the “breaking of the bread”, that is for the Eucharistic service. The Eucharist is at the same time the culmination of the parish life and also the source of all its spiritual blessings. Let us invite a friend or neighbor to join us for the liturgical services in our parish community.
During these days, we are called both personally, and as a member of the community to pray, for oneself, and for others, to offer one’s self as a sacrifice to God, to forgive others and to ask God for forgiveness, to bless God and to be a blessing for others.
What is most important: all of us together are called to strive for holiness, to be a truly holy people. What does this mean? In parish life, every liturgical service and all of our liturgical practices and prayer life is to promote the sanctification of the time and the place where we are, and we ourselves become sanctified as well, as a gift consecrated to God. That is why during the time of preparation for coming of our Lord we should guard oneself from sin, and strive to grow in the virtue of moderation, purity of body and soul, according to one’s state in life.
We are also called to look beyond ourselves and be of service to others, especially the less fortunate among us. During the Philip Feast let us look at our community and find those who need our help and assistance. We can visit the sick, assist the poor, give food for the hungry, care for orphans, support those who suffer injustice, promote peace, and offer comfort for those grieving. We can perform all of this in our community where we live and work, as the needy live among us.
Let us start this season together! Let us pray, meditate upon the Word of God, sacrifice for one another and trust in God. Then with joy we will be able to welcome God among us!
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States
+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM
Eparch of Stamford
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+ Bohdan J. Danylo (author)
Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pa.–On Sunday, October 15, 2017, seventeen couples were honored during the Annual Wedding Anniversary Celebration during the Divine Liturgy at the golden-domed Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka was the main celebrant and homilist at the 11:00 A.M. Divine Liturgy, concelebrated by Very Reverend Roman Pitula, cathedral rector. Lisa Oprysk led the congregation in the singing of the liturgical responses. During his homily, Metropolitan Stefan offered congratulations to the jubilarians and said, “Thank you for having lived your covenant of marriage with great mercy and joy. You lived it because of your deep love for one another. You lived it because of your care for one another… God’s hand was present throughout, known and unknown to you, and He promised this in the blessing you received in your marriage.” Just before the Dismissal, the Jubilarians, standing on the solea in front of the iconostas, renewed their marriage vows. Metropolitan then bestowed a blessing upon each couple and sprinkled them with Holy Water. Each couple was also presented with a commemorative blessing certificate by Metropolitan Stefan. After the Divine Liturgy, a dinner reception was held at the Archbishop’s residence for the anniversary couples and their guests. The anniversary cake was cut by Peter and Bernadette Nush and Jason and Deborah Yulich, who were observing the longest and most recent wedding anniversaries, respectively. The celebration was coordinated by Very Rev. Archpriest John M. Fields, Director of Religious Education and Evangelization of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. May the Lord, our God, continue to bless and grant to all the Archieparchial Jubilarians long life, peace, good health and happiness for many happy and blessed years! Watch a video and see pictures from the Anniversary Celebration on our “Archeparchy of Philadelphia” Facebook page.
The recent tragic loss of life and well-being in Las Vegas and from the terrorism act in Edmonton, Canada, preceded by the loss of life and major hardships experienced as a result of hurricanes in the Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas have caused all of us to reflect on the preciousness of life. As we pray for the victims of these tragedies, we reflect on the gift of life each of us is given. One’s thoughts during prayers are filled with thanksgiving for the gift of life. We renew our personal resolve to value and cherish this precious gift of life shared with loved ones. Hopefully each of us will be motivated to give greater thought and commitment to efforts to value and protect life from the conception of life to natural death. Perhaps our best testimony to the innocent lives lost in the tragedies of recent weeks could be our own commitment to ensure respect for life from conception to natural death.
The gift of life is endangered by destructive forces of nature, and the manipulative and controlling hearts and minds of humanity. Innocent life is daily taken by those who advocate abortion and euthanasia. Our efforts are needed to support people in every stage of life. Can we do more to advocate and assist those who are mentally and physically handicapped? The weak and elderly also require our love and attention for their special needs.
Let’s cherish the gift of life given to us generously by God. Express our gratitude to Almighty God in our prayers and with thankful hearts. Our expressions of gratitude ought to lead us to active commitment to love and serve in whatever ways are presented to us in the journey of life. Each October we renew our commitment for RESPECT FOR LIFE! Celebrate the giftedness of life given to us by God.
By Metropolitan Stefan Soroka
On Sunday, September 24 at 3 PM, EWTN will telecast the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Andriy Rabiy from the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia. Responses will be sung by the choir of the Ukrainian National Shrine of the Holy Family, Washington, D.C. Watch on your EWTN TV Channel
Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, together with Bishop John Bura and Bishop Andriy Rabiy, clergy, religious and faithful, pray for those suffering as a result of the damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, especially in Texas and Louisiana. Let us remember in our prayers those who died and their grieving families and community. Let us also remember those who suffered loss of their homes and earthly possessions as we ask Our Lord to give them His grace, wisdom and courage as they move forward with their lives and look forward to a new day filled with hope. Let us offer prayers of gratitude for the many first responders and the medical professionals who so quickly rendered life-saving help to rescue many of the victims, especially those from the flooded communities.
We pray that the victims may find comfort in the reassuring words of the Prophet Jeremiah: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you . . . . plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” (Jer. 29:11).
Several years ago, a Domestic Disaster Recovery Fund was established by our Philadelphia Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy to aid victims recovering from such disasters as Hurricane Harvey. These disasters remind all of us of the fragile nature as we witness our neighbors suffering loss of life and material possessions. In times such as these, we are called to assist our neighbors in need. If you would like to make a donation for the humanitarian needs of the victims of Hurricane Harvey, please send your gift to the attention of this fund:
Domestic Disaster Recovery Fund
c/o Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
810 N. Franklin Street
Philadelphia, Pa 19123
Income tax receipts will be issued. While such donations may be made at any time, they are especially needed following the occurrence of tragic events in the United States. We become instruments of His healing as we pray and assist others in their difficult times of need.
May God bless you for your prayers and financial generosity for the needs of our neighbors at this time.
Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia is pleased to announce that our newly nominated Auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy will be ordained by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk during the Opening Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Synod of Bishops to take place on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 in St. George Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine at 11 a.m. Co-consecrators will be Archbishop Stefan Soroka, Metropolitan of Philadelphia and Bishop David Motiuk, Eparch of Edmonton Eparchy.
Our Patriarch generously responded to the suggestion to conduct the episcopal ordination in the city and country of the Bishop-Elect’s native birth, where his parents, brother and family reside. It highlights his being rooted strongly in the cultures and traditions of both Ukraine and USA., a special gift for our Ukrainian Catholic Church. The newly ordained Bishop Andriy will then participate in his first meeting of the Synod of Bishops.
The newly ordained Bishop Andriy Rabiy will be formally welcomed in the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolia of Philadelphia with his celebrating a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 24th, 2017 at 3 p.m., followed by a Formal Reception in the Cathedral Hall.
Please pray for our Bishop-Elect Andriy as God’s Grace enables him to fulfill his episcopal ministry.
Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka and Auxiliary Bishop John Bura, together with the clergy, religious and faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia joyfully welcome the Holy Father’s appointment of Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy, a priest of our archeparchy, as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. He has been assigned the Tutular See of Germaniciana. Pope Francis concurred with the recommendation of the appointment offered by the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops.
Very Andriy Rabiy has studied for the priesthood at our St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary, receiving his philosophical and theological studies at The Catholic University of America and the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood within our archeparchy and has served with enthusiasm and dedication at a number of parish assignments. Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy returned to The Catholic University of America for advanced studies in canon law and has served in our Archieparchial Marriage Tribunal. His care and concern for the souls of faithful living in locations not close to existing parishes resulted in his beginning a successful new mission parish in Lancaster, PA, St. Andrew the Apostle Ukrainian Catholic Mission Parish. Recently, he successfully transferred the location of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church from a downtown location to a more suitable suburb location offering a full range of facilities for the parish. Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy serves as Vicar General and Vice-Chancellor of our Archeparchy, in addition to his ministry at his parishes.
Our Archeparchy and our Ukrainian Catholic Church will be well served by the vibrant and dedicated ministry demonstrated by our newly nominated candidate to the episcopacy. We congratulate him. We commit ourselves to support him with our prayers, words of encouragement, and joyful sharing in his episcopal ministry.
God bless Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy richly in ways only He can as he undertakes his new ministry as a bishop of the Church. Our heartfelt welcome and ‘Mnohaya Lita’!
On Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, His Holiness, Pope Francis appointed Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy as Auxiliary Bishop for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy currently serves as Vicar General and as Vice-Chancellor for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy, and as a Dean of the Lehigh-Schuylkill Deanery, PA. He is also a member of the College of Consultors, the Archieparchial Finance Advisory Council, the Presbyteral Council, the Archieparchial Administrative Council and Administrative Board at the Pennsylvania Conference of Bishops.
Very Rev. Andriy Rabiy was born on October 1, 1975, in the city of Lviv, Ukraine. His parents, Anton and Iryna Rabiy reside in Zymna Voda, Lviv region of Ukraine. He has one younger brother, Vitaliy, who is married with Iryna. They have two children, Andrian and Yuliana, and reside in Ukraine.
Very Rev. Andriy graduated from Zymna Voda High School #1 in 1992. In the fall of 1992 he entered Ivano-Frankivsk Seminary where he studied philosophy for two years. In August of 1994 he moved to the United States to continue his studies at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary while attending classes at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. Following completion of a one year program studying English at the Metropolitan College of the Catholic University, he was enrolled in the School of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the same university. In May of 1999 he graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Philosophy.
In September of 1999 Fr. Andriy continued his theological studies at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. He completed a four year program within three years and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree “cum laude” in May of 2002.
Fr. Andriy was ordained as a Subdeacon in May of 1998, and as a Deacon in November of 1999 by Most Rev. Archbishop Stephen Sulyk, He received his Presbyteral Orders from Most Rev. Archbishop Stefan Soroka in December of 2001 in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia.
Upon completion of his theological studies, he was appointed as an administrator of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in New Brunswick (2002-2003; 2004-2005) and St. Michael the Archangel church in Hillsborough NJ (2002-2005), and for a brief time as administrator of Immaculate Conception Church in Hillside NJ (2003-2004).
In the fall of 2005, Very Rev. Andriy returned to the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC for studies in canon law. In 2008, he graduated with a Licentiate in Canon Law, having completed his dissertation on the patriarchal tribunal in the Eastern Church.
Since 2008, he has served as pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Reading, PA, where he successfully relocated the parish. He also serves St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Lancaster, PA, a newly formed mission parish which he began in February 2013.