MEDITATION FOR PALM SUNDAY, 2018 Metropolitan Stefan Soroka

Have you ever felt alone even when surrounded by people?  You feel that no one really knows you for the person you really are.  Jesus knows how you feel.  The Palm Sunday Gospel story tells of one such occasion in the life of Jesus.  Jesus knew the crowds singing ‘hosanna’ was hollow.  They had hoped that Jesus would deliver them from political domination by Rome.  Jesus had not come to give them political freedom.  He had come to give them something more.  He had come to Jerusalem during the Passover to be their sacrificial lamb.  He had come to give them eternal life with God. Even the disciples did not comprehend the significance of that ride into Jerusalem.  No one seemed to be aware that Jesus had come to Jerusalem to die.  He would not set up an earthly kingdom, but he would establish a spiritual kingdom by sacrificing himself. How lonely Jesus must have felt.  Jesus carried the weight of loneliness.  Jesus survived Palm Sunday because he had hope and faith in his heavenly Father.  Next time you feel alone or think that no one really understands your secret thoughts, take heart.  Someone does know how you feel.  He is waiting for you in the calm lonely eye of the stormy crowd.  He went through his Palm Sunday experience alone, so that you will not have to go through yours the same way.  Even when those around you will not, or cannot understand you, God does!  Reach out to Jesus Christ this Holy Week in special prayer, meditation and through Holy Confession.  You will come to know Him more personally in His resurrection on Easter Sunday!  A Blessed Holy Week!


FIFTH SUNDAY OF GREAT FAST 2018 Metropolitan Stefan Soroka

St. Mark tells us of the disciples walking on the road to Jerusalem with Jesus walking in the lead.  He tells us that “their mood was one of wonderment, while that of those who followed was fear” (Mk 10:32).  Then we hear of two disciples vying to sit, one at the right and other on the left, when Jesus comes into His glory.  This caused some anger among the other disciples.  Jesus calms them by instructing them, “You know how among the Gentiles those who seem to exercise authority lord it over them; their great ones make their importance felt.  It cannot be like that with you.  Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all” (Mk 10:44).  Fear, mutual distrust, envy, and pride rob you and me of the special gift of walking with Jesus with wonderment.  We can be blinded to the needs and sufferings of others around us.  We can forget the importance of being of service to others.  Great Fast invites you and me to walk alongside Jesus Christ with wonderment as to where He will lead us.  We are reminded, “… the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…” (Mk 10:45).  Saint Teresa of Calcutta saw the face of Jesus in every person she ministered to, especially the sick and the dying.  Through her inspiration, may we also cherish and search for opportunities to see Jesus Christ in the faces of those we serve!


FOURTH SUNDAY OF GREAT FAST 2018 Metropolitan Stefan Soroka

Jesus cures a sick boy telling his father, “Everything is possible to one who has faith” (Mk 9 23).   Jesus observed that this type of cure could only come about through prayer.  The disciples were men of faith but could not cure the boy.  Jesus seems to become impatient with them when he says, “How long will I endure you” (Mk 9:19).  Even Jesus’ closest apostles needed to be reminded of the power of prayer, and the need to nurture it.  Great Fast invites you and me to nurture the power of faith with steadfast and honest prayer with Jesus.  It involves our reflecting on our priorities in life as we stand before Jesus.  Recall the parables which speak of the Kingdom of God as a treasure found in a field, or as a pearl of great value.  Those who find it sell all that they have in order to possess it.  Are we zealous in nurturing the value of our precious faith?  Do we do and give what we can to see that the faith is valued, taught and shared?  The journey of Great Fast leads you and me to nurture our faith in steadfast prayer and with acts of charity with the hope that Jesus Christ will not ask “How long must I endure you”, but rather rejoice in the powerfully living of our faith.  Join with others in the parish to nurture your faith as a family of God.


Holy Thursday Services 2018

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.


THIRD SUNDAY OF GREAT FAST 2018 Metropolitan Stefan Soroka

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




Second Sunday of Great Fast 2018 Metropolitan Stefan Soroka

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.