Archbishop Borys visits parish in Perth Amboy and blesses the sisters who start their service there

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On Sunday, November 28, 2021, Metropolitan Borys Gudziak visited the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and blessed the start of service of the Eastern rite community of Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara (SSVM) in the Philadelphia Archeparchy.

“The presence of the sisters at the parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and at school is a tradition. For 50 years, we have been accompanied by the Missionary Sisters of Mother of God from Philadelphia, who have zealously served the needs of the school and parish. They left for Philadelphia three years ago, ” said Fr. Ivan Turyk.

He said that after the sisters left, Bishop Andriy Rabiy appealed to the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC to have nuns at a school and parish in Perth Amboy. Later, the Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara agreed to come, but due to the coronavirus and other obstacles Sisters Maria Veronica and Maria of the Cross were not able to come to the United States until the fall. They teach catechism lessons and the Ukrainian language, as well as serve in the parish, and in particular, hold meetings for married women about the virtues of marriage.

“The presence of sisters at school is important for students and parents. They set to work with zeal, dedication and love for children and parishioners. I have been in this parish for ten years, we have been constantly praying for vocations every Sunday, and it seems that our prayer in Perth-Amboy has been heard,” Fr. Ivan noted.

Sisters Maria Veronica and Maria of the Cross are getting used to life in the United States and rejoice in the hospitality of the parish and the students at the school.

“The parish and the school have been waiting for us for more than a year, and we are treated hospitably. Everyone is generous with time and attention and tries to do everything to make it easier for us to adapt,” said the superior, Sister Maria Veronica.

“The task of every nun is to serve God. My place of ministry is now in Perth Amboy, New Jersey at a Catholic school and parish. I was impressed by the warm welcome from Father Ivan, teachers and parents. I thank God for them. When there are so many warm people around, it is easier to overcome difficulties,” said Sister Maria of the Cross.

The sisters are part of the eastern branch of the Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin Mary of Matara, and their sisters of the Latin rite also received them hospitably and participate in the life of the Ukrainian parish. “Today is a historic moment. Our liturgy was attended by more than 50 sisters of the Latin rite, who have become an integral part of our parish life, ” said Fr. Turyk.

Addressing the parishioners, Metropolitan Borys Gudziak encouraged them to support the sisters: “Women who want to do God’s will have come to you. They gave everything. There is no more radical step in the 21st century than when a young woman enters a convent. At a time when everyone cries for power, money, and sex, they promise poverty, purity and obedience. In this parish, due to the presence of the sisters, you will see great fruits,” he said.

Reflecting on the Gospel reading, Metropolitan Borys focused on the question of rules and life in Christ.

“Christ wants to show us the face of God the Father, so our church life, our prayer, our fasting has one goal – to live in God and His love and to share that love with others. Jesus helps a person who is ‘engaged in religion’ to come to life with God. Rules are needed, but they must not prevail over life with Christ, over love. They should not prevent us from seeing a person,” he stressed.

After the service, the principal, Lizette Shumny, and the students greeted Archbishop Borys at the Assumption Catholic School. Afterwards, a feast was prepared by parishioners and women from branch 135 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, during which the sisters of the Incarnate Word performed an impromptu concert.

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