Feast of Peter and Paul – June 29, 2022

The Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29 commemorates the two leading apostles and their martyrdoms in Rome. This article examines their origins, deaths, and relics. It is vital to remind ourselves periodically that our faith is grounded in history and has been handed down for twenty centuries.

Peter and Paul offer a striking contrast. One hailed from the backwaters of Galilee and spoke with an accent thought uncouth by more cosmopolitan Jerusalemites (Matthew 26:43). He had been with the Lord from the beginning. The other was a Roman citizen who knew the traditions of Greek rhetoric and philosophy and met Jesus only after the Resurrection. Peter and Paul were very different men called to Apostleship at very different moments. The two even argued at times, as we read in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. Nonetheless they shared profound devotion to Christ which helped the men lead the Church during a critical period of growth and persecution. This same growth and persecution would bring them to martyrdom in the Eternal City.

Two Men, Several Names

St. Peter’s birthname was Simon, but Jesus renamed him Cephas early in his ministry. Cephas means “rock” in Aramaic–the native tongue of Jesus and the Apostles–and the word comes into Greek and Latin as Petros and Petrus. These are ancient versions of our modern Peter. At various times throughout the gospels, he is called Simon, Simon Peter, and Peter.Peter had a brother named Andrew, also one of the Twelve. Peter and Andrew’s father, John or Jonah, appears to have had a fishing business for which his sons worked. Interestingly, the Apostles James and John likely worked for their father Zebedee’s fishing business too. John/Jonah and Zebedee may have been in business together, judging from Mark 1. We know Peter was married because in the same chapter Jesus heals his mother-in-law from a fever.

Saul or Paul was born in Tarsus, located in modern Turkey. Some have tried to interpret the Apostle’s two names theologically, arguing he went by “Saul” before his conversion and “Paul” afterwards, but this is unlikely. Saul was probably his Hebrew name, used among family and fellow Jews, while Paul was his Roman moniker, used for gentile contexts. Regardless, Paul was a Pharisee whose trade was leather-working and/or tent-making, and he seems to have had at least some formal education. Paul persecuted the Church until encountering the Risen Christ on the Road to Damascus.

Rome’s Christians before Peter and Paul

Peter and Paul were active in Jerusalem, Antioch, and elsewhere before making their respective ways to Rome. They did not establish the Christian community there, though they would eventually lead it. Interestingly, St. Ignatius of Antioch invokes the legacy of Peter and Paul’s apostolic authority in Rome in a missive to the city’s Christians dictated before he was fed to lions ca. 110.

The Christian community in Rome originated incredibly early, even by New Testament standards. It predates Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which was written ca. 56-58 as well as the Apostle’s first visit to the city ca. 59. We also know Emperor Claudius (r. 41-54) expelled Jews from Rome after much infighting over “Chrestus,” seemingly a Latinized version of χριστός or Christ (Cf. Suetonius and Acts 18:2). Thus, Christians appear in Rome no later than the early 50s, if not earlier. This would make sense because there were about a dozen synagogues in the city during the 1st century. The primitive Church’s growth often took place in Jewish temples, so these surely helped the Gospel to spread. Peter’s timing in Rome is unclear, he may only have arrived in the early 60s. Much has been written about the Apostles’ missionary activities, but we must fast forward to the period when they were killed.

Persecution and Martyrdom

The best estimation of Peter’s death in Rome is AD 64. Rome suffered an infamous fire in July of that year and most of the city burned. From the historian Tacitus (ca. 56-120) we know “only four of the fourteen districts of Rome remained intact. What was even more disastrous was that numerous public buildings were damaged or even destroyed.” (Keresztes, 1984) Many blamed Emperor Nero (r. 54-68) for the fire, who then scapegoated the city’s Christians. The resulting persecution created many martyrs, including St. Peter. Multiple traditions describe him as having been crucified, with at least one specifying he was upside down. This explains for example Caravaggio’s masterpiece, Crucifixion of Saint Peter.

Tertullian (ca. 155-220) tells us Paul was beheaded, but neither he nor any other source settles the question of when. Paul may have died in 64 along with Peter during the Neronian persecution or a few years later ca. 67. The exact dates of martyrdom for Ss. Peter and Paul are irrelevant, of course, but this has not prevented much scholarly conjecture. Moreover, what we lack in chronology we more than make up for in archaeology.

Finding the Saints in the Flesh

Many Catholics do not realize that St. Peter’s Basilica was constructed over the tomb of the Apostle himself. In fact, the main altar stands directly over Simon-Peter’s relics. The ground level of the Basilica is most familiar to the popular mind, containing some of the greatest works of art in Christendom like Michelangelo’s Pietà, the Baldachin designed by Bernini, and others. Two floors below is an archaeological site straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.

In a dark, damp environment, nearly 10 meters underneath the Basilica, are the tombs and monuments of a 1st century pagan cemetery. It was here that St. Peter’s bones were laid to rest. Ancient graffiti attests to the Apostle’s presence, mentioning his name again and again. One example is a happy note carved by someone “expressing joy that the lost relative lay in the same cemetery that held Peter’s own body.” Constantine the Great constructed Old St. Peters over this site in the 4th century where it stood for more than a thousand years until the present Basilica was constructed during the 16th and 17th centuries. Anyone can visit the site by purchasing a ticket for the Scavi (“Excavations”) Tour, the cost is very reasonable at around $16.50.

Paul’s relics aren’t far away. San Paolo fuori le Mura (literally “St. Paul outside the walls”) is located about 4 miles (6.5 km) south of the Vatican, just east of the Tiber. The main altar of St. Paul Outside the Walls, as with St. Peter’s Basilica, was constructed over the remains of the Apostle himself. These remains are contained in a late 4th century sarcophagus which is quite accessible and may be viewed after descending a small set of stairs. Also on display is the chain said to have bound St. Paul when he was arrested in Rome.

Conclusion

The leading Apostles, Ss. Peter and Paul, ministered in Rome and were killed there during the mid-60s. They may both have died in 64 during the Neronian persecution, or Paul may have been beheaded a few years later. Regardless of the exact dating, their martyrdoms are jointly commemorated by the Church on June 29 each year. Their relics have been venerated in Rome from antiquity through today and may even be visited by the public.

This brief investigation into the saints’ origins, deaths, and relics is an important exercise reminding us that our faith is grounded in history. We may be confident in the accuracy of what has been handed down to us. Our Lord lived, died, and rose–and He will come again in glory. Many saints over many centuries, including Peter and Paul, willingly gave their lives for these truths, and still more will follow in the future. Ss. Peter and Paul, pray for us!

By Sean McLaughlin

SOURCES

https://www.catholic.com/tract/was-peter-in-rome

https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/content/romans/context#:~:text=Unlike%20his%20other%20writings%2C%20Paul’s,ever%20visited%20the%20illustrious%20city.

Keresztes, Paul, “Nero, the Christians and the Jews in Tacitus and Clement of Rome,” Latomus

  1. 43, Fasc. 2 (AVRIL-JUIN 1984), pp. 404-413

https://stpetersbasilica.info/Necropolis/Wall%20G.htm




Panakhyda for the victims of the Russian invasion celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York

On June 11, the Panakhyda for the victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The Archdiocese of New York and the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia jointly organized this ecumenical memorial service. Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop-Metropolitan of Philadelphia, Borys Gudziak; Coptic Orthodox Bishop for the Diocese of New York and New England, David; Auxiliary Bishop of New York, Edmund Whalen; and Rev Protopresbyter Dr. Nicholas Kazarin, representing His Eminence Elpidophoros, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America prayed for peace and justice in Ukraine and repose of the victims of the Russian invasion together with Christians of different denominations and all people of goodwill.

Cardinal Dolan welcomed those who came to pray in Saint Patrick’s. “This is where God’s people assemble. Sometimes with smiles, sometimes with tears–as it is today, when we remember victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

The memorial service was sung by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York under the direction of Vasyl Hrechynsky. Representatives of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups, as well as Ukrainian community leaders, united to pray together.

“We have come to accompany in prayer those who have died, both those who have given their lives, and the innocent who have had their lives taken from them,” noted Metropolitan Borys in his address. He added that the prayer is not a prayer of death, it is a prayer of life. “We sing the ‘Eternal Memory.’ Yes, with sorrow for the evil tragedy of the killing but also with great hope and trust”.

He stressed that people who in these days sacrifice their lives in Ukraine teach the rest of the world lessons about eternity. “We face death and loss together because we believe in life, and we have a deep faith in God’s desire for us to live, to live forever. When you do not fear death, when you know God’s grace, when you live under God’s blessing, when you know your dignity, you have started to live forever,” said the Archbishop.

The Ukrainian envoy to the United Nations, Serhiy Kyslytsia, in his brief remarks shared about the highest price Ukrainians are paying for their right to exist. “As we are gathered today, at this very moment, the front line of many hundreds miles of the Russia-Ukraine war remains an area of fierce fighting. They are fighting against a cruel enemy. An enemy that has come to kill, to destroy, to steal, and to humiliate. An enemy that makes no distinction between military and civilians. An enemy that does not consider itself to be bound by any norms or rules,” noted the Ambassador. He mentioned that the number of casualties among Ukrainian servicemen is horrendous. Every day around one hundred Ukrainian soldiers are killed in action and 500 wounded.

“During our short prayer between 10 and 20 people were killed or died of their injuries because of that brutal Russian invasion, and 60 others were maimed,” added Metropolitan Borys. He thanked Cardinal Dolan for his singular leadership and visit to Ukraine, American Catholic charity organizations for their aid to Ukrainians, and American Catholics who according to his rough estimate have contributed 100 million dollars to humanitarian aid to Ukraine. However, the Archbishop and the Ambassador mentioned that the struggle of the Ukrainian people continues, and the hard work is just beginning.

Photo album

 




Archeparchy of Philadelphia joined the “Ukrainian Days” advocacy event in DC

“Ukraine Washington Days” advocacy event held on June 9-10 was an opportunity to meet with Members of Congress and acquaint them with the concerns for increased security assistance for Ukraine, continued strong sanctions against Ukraine’s enemies, and support for humanitarian programs to aid Ukrainians afflicted by the war.

Metropolitan Borys Gudziak joined the event which started with a short prayer near the Holodomor memorial in DC. He asked to pray for the Ukrainian military who defend the innocent and the civilians who are killed in a genocidal intent. “Every day Ukrainians are giving their life for freedom and dignity,” said the Archbishop.

During the advocacy day Metropolitan has met Brand Ramsay, foreign policy expert for Senator Chris Coons, staff of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and representative of Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office.

While in DC, Metropolitan Borys held meetings with Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington Mario Eduardo Dorsonville, who heads the USCCB Committee on Migration, Migration and Refugee Services executive director Bill Canny and his collaborators, as well as with Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA and her associates.




Metropolitan Borys Participates in 4th All-American Youth Pilgrimage

The 4th All-American Youth Pilgrimage took place June 3-5 at the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Parish in Parma, OH. Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, along with Bishop Bohdan Danylo of Parma and Bishop Pavlo Chomnytsky of Stamford, joined pilgrims from Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

For three days participants attended lectures presented by the three bishops. The following topics were covered: “Nationality: Gift or Punishment? Spiritual and Physical War”,  “Jesus in Jeans: What Can Young People Hope for?”, and “Healing of Deep Emotional Wounds.”

In his introductory speech to the pilgrims, titled “In Christ Is Our Hope, Protection, and Healing,” Metropolitan Borys focused on encounters and relationships because it is through these things that people are likened to God. “We are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is the Three Persons who are in constant perfect communication. Therefore, the human person is defined by the ability and need to communicate – we feel good when our relationships are good, and when there are quarrels and conflicts we suffer,” he said. The Metropolitan added that pilgrims came to this encounter to strengthen and enrich their communication with God and others.

He then discussed historical and modern Ukrainian traumas. “Even if we do not fully understand our history, it puts pressure on us. It has been forbidden to talk about our traumas for generations. The system killed, and therefore a protective mechanism was created which affected the relationship and the trust between people. There was an acquired fear of another who could be dangerous.”

The Archbishop stressed that although the traumas of the past have not yet healed, Ukrainians do in fact move from fear to dignity – through the Revolution on Granite, the Orange Revolution, and the Revolution of Dignity. “Step by step, generation by generation, they want to leave this fear in the past and demand recognition of their God-given dignity. Even during the war, we hear from people about faith and dignity. We have not heard any complaints from people I have met recently in Ukraine, but there is the confidence that they cannot give up,” he said.

In an address called, “Jesus in Jeans: What Can Young People Hope for?”, Metropolitan Borys spoke about how to be a Christian in today’s culture. “Popular culture sometimes presents Christians as aliens. However, let us remember that the Church has always been embodied in culture and transformed that culture. We Christians do preserve ancient traditions, but there is a difference between tradition and traditionalism. Tradition is always alive. Wisdom emerges when we accept and value tradition, but do not instill it artificially.”

He spoke about identity which is particularly important for young people. “It is important to live truthfully and authentically as Patriarch Joseph the Blind called us to do. And who are we? We are beloved children of God – this is one of our basic identities. To be yourself is to be a beloved son or a beloved daughter. And we need to accept this love, then we will be able to live in God’s way, preach, serve, and give.”

 

After a brief presentation, there was a lengthy Q&A session with the pilgrims.




Feast of Pentecost at the cathedral parish in Philadelphia

On June 5, 2022, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia, Borys Gudziak, celebrated a solemn Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. On this Sunday our Church observes the feast of the glorification of the Holy Spirit, and church interiors are decorated with green to symbolize the birth of new life–namely the birth of the Church.

It’s a beautiful feast of Pentecost. It’s a feast of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. After the Ascension of Jesus, which we celebrated ten days ago, the Church celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit. Thus completing the revelation of who God is. God is three persons in communion, union. The central tenet of our faith is we have a God in communion. I want to encourage you today to look on Google for the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit and to pray that they grow in your life,” said Archbishop Borys Gudziak.

This particular celebration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit was special because two parishioners of our Cathedral–Anna and Amelia–received First Confession and Solemn Holy Communion.

“Girls, this is a very important day in your life and your presence among us is a testimony. We see in you childlike purity, we see in you those children whom Jesus called to himself, and we pray that we may be like you: pure and that we may run to Jesus, that we may live in Christ,” noted the Archbishop.




Humanitarian Aid Fund Report as of May 31, 2022




The Feast of Pentecost

Already in Old Testament times, we hear of a celebration of Pentecost, which started as a harvest festival.  Later to this was added the commemoration of the giving of the Mosaic Law on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments were given by Yahweh (God) to Moses to help the Chosen People, the Israelites to remain faithful to the covenant established between Yahweh and their father, Abraham. The Mosaic Law was given so they could lead good and moral lives.

The Christian celebration of Pentecost in the early Church, both East and West, was a commemoration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. Just as the Lord had promised His disciples before departing and ascending into Heaven, He would ask the Father to send them another Advocate Who would continue to guard, guide and protect the faithful followers of Christ from all the onslaughts of the evil one.

We honor the third Divine Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Who is a Spirit of Love and Truth. He is God Eternal, one in being with the Father and the Son. He is consubstantial. Here as at the Theophany, the Baptism of the Lord in the River Jordan, God reveals Himself as the Triune God, one God in three Divine Persons.

The account in the event in the life of the Apostles is recorded in Sacred Scriptures, in the acts of the Apostles, chapter 2. We read: “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (v. 1-6} In verses 32-33, we read of Peter in public speaking: God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you (both) see and hear.”

Pentecost is one of the twelve (12) major feasts of the liturgical year. On this Feast, the Church, both in the East and in the West celebrate the Birth of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. In the administering of each of the seven (7) sacraments (Sacred Mysteries), we receive sanctifying grace, the operation of the Holy Spirit. The grace imparted strengthens us in our daily lives, helping us to withstand the temptations of the evil one and to keep us firmly rooted in the Faith and on the path to the Heavenly Kingdom, which is the final destination, we pray that we be deemed worthy of one day

In our special prayer in honor of the Holy Spirit, we call Him: “Heavenly King, Giver of Life, Comforter, Spirit of Truth Who is present everywhere.” The Holy Spirit is the source, the Treasury of Blessings and the Giver and Sustainer of Life.  The Holy Spirit will cleanse us of all sin, all that stains the soul and impedes us from our God-given call and mission in life. The prayer is a call to save us.

The Icon of Pentecost is a depiction of the Twelve Apostles (12) seated in serenity and composure. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a seal of the New Covenant wrought by Our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ. In the icon, the Apostles form a semi-circle, expressing the unity of the Church. We, the many members of the Mystical Body of Christ, comprise one Church. Christ is the invisible head of the Church.  We Christians through a worthy reception of the Eucharist are then to bring Christ to others, announcing to them the Good News of salvation.

We all have been created in the image and likeness of God. We have all been endowed with unique and special gifts, charisms and talents. This is so that we fulfill our God-given mission in life. The seven (7) gifts of the Holy Spirit are an enumeration of seven spiritual gifts first found in the Book of Isaiah and later commented in much detail by the patristic fathers. They are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians tells us what a life filled with the Holy Spirit is. In Chapter 13, verses 4-7, St. Paul speaks in terms of what Christian love or charity is: “Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous. It is not inflated. It is not rude. It does not seek its own interests. It is not quick-tempered. It does not brood over injury. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

The Church enumerates the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as a practical guide to good Christian living. The spiritual works of mercy are: counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently and praying for the living and the deceased. The corporal works of mercy are: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to give shelter to travelers, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, and to bury the dead.

Heeding the words of Our Lord and Master, we as a group and individually care, show compassion, and manifest our belief through concrete acts of love, mercy and compassion, even to the so-called “least of the brethren.” That means, we tear down the barriers of prejudice and sin and manifest love for those who oppose us, dislike us, persecute us, causing us grief, sorrow, and suffering.

To love those who love us should be rather easy. But to love those who have caused us immeasurable pain, suffering and loss of health, property or good name is not easy. It can only be done by those of us who are steadfast in the faith and have placed Christ God in the center of our lives. This inner spirit of peace, joy and blessed assurance of a future inheritance yet to be fulfilled that give us the strength and the impetus to walk in the footsteps of Christ and remain “faithful and true,” even when manyare not.

In Baptism, we are no longer mere persons of natural descent, but rather we have become children of God, and inheritors of a divine and eternal Kingdom, Heaven, if we but remain faithful to Christ, serve Him in love and truth as we sojourn to this ultimate and final destination.

Rev. D. George Worschak




Heartfelt Words from Non-Ukrainian Donors

Russia’s invasion and war-making have thrust Ukraine into the popular imagination in unprecedented ways. Millions and millions of people around the world, who would not otherwise have paid much attention at all to Ukraine, now closely follow news updates about the war and its victims. Major news sources now regularly mention cities and towns like Chernihiv, Mariupol, and Yavoriv which were once obscure to the average North American.

Archbishop Borys has played an important role in educating the public about the injustices and plight suffered by Ukraine. The Associated Press, CatholicPhilly, CNN, EWTN, and other media outlets have brought his voice to new audiences. Members of these new audiences are neither Ukrainian Catholic nor part of the Ukrainian diaspora. Yet they have given generously to the Archepachy of Philadelphia’s Humanitarian Aid Fund, which has raised more than $5,000,000 to date.

Many of the Humanitarian Aid Fund’s donors are Roman Catholic while others are Jewish, Protestant, or have no reported religious affiliation. A number took time to compose letters and notes to enclose with their checks, and these contain some of the most heartfelt words in support of Ukraine. Amid violence and death, sadness and mourning, their messages demonstrate that Ukrainians are not alone. The war has galvanized people of good will who are committed to assisting through prayer, awareness, and financial support.

May God bless our the Humanitarian Aid Fund’s benefactors and suffering Ukrainian in great need!

The following excerpts provide a sense of the beautiful sentiments held by non-Ukrainian donors to the Humanitarian Aid Fund.

I am a first generation Polish American and am proud of Poland’s support for the Ukrainian citizens. My daughter is a close friend of a first generation Ukrainian American. That friend’s worries have become our worries. We have been watching the news of Putin’s scourge, and are helpless to aid, but for this donation and our prayers. With love and a hope for peace…

—Theresa of California

Please be assured of my prayers in regard to the people and the nation of Ukraine. The firm stand of Ukrainian Catholics against Communism has been glorifying Almighty God for many decades. May Our Lady of Hrushiv continue to support you. In Jesus and Mary…

—Helen of Pennsylvania

It is with much sadness that I enclosed the check for the poor people of Ukraine. I pray my rosary and at Mass that last[ing] peace may come quickly for them. Thank you for your leadership and your staff. God bless you and the people of Ukraine.

—Gerald of South Philadelphia

Gory to Ukraine. Ukrainians have always been to Wildwood Crest for vacation. We on the island support you. Wildwood’s huge Ferris Wheel has been lit in the colors of Ukraine. The boardwalk also has a huge neon sign in the colors [blue and yellow] with a caption “Pray for Ukraine. We will pray…

—Tom of Wildwood Crest, NJ

I am so stressed, saddened, and worried about the people of Ukraine. I have kept them in my prayers and continue to admire their bravery. I will continue to pray for them, and I have enclosed a donation to help with their plight. I wish we could do more. My great grandparents left Poland in the early 1900s when Russia controlled Poland, I feel a connection to the Ukrainian people. May God and his mother Mary comfort and protect them.

—Dorothy of Pennsylvania




Pentecost is one of the most important moments in salvation history

This year Pentecost will take place June 5 (Gregorian Calendar) and June 12 (Julian Calendar). It is one of the most important liturgical feasts and signifies the Easter season’s end. It is also traditionally considered the Church’s birthday. We have St. Luke to thank for most of our knowledge of Pentecost which he describes in the last chapter of his Gospel and at the beginning of his second work, the Acts of the Apostles.

The word Pentecost derives from the Greek for fifty. The feast “always occurs 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and ten days after his ascension into heaven.” (Source: CNA) The order of events is critical: RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, and PENTECOST.

The Lord appeared to the apostles for forty days after he rose from the dead. (Luke 24:3) The apostles saw, conversed with, ate with, and even touched Jesus during this time! One morning, for example, He makes breakfast for them on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21) After forty days Jesus ascends to the Father (Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-12), and Pentecost takes place another ten days after that.

Luke sets the scene in chapter 1 of Acts of the Apostles. The founding members of the Church are staying in Jerusalem and remain devoted to prayer. These include the apostles, some women disciples, the Theotokos, and Jesus’ brothers.

Then in chapter 2 we read, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (Acts 2:1-6)

The descent of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by wind and fire, sparks the Church’s birth and evangelizing mission. In fact, Luke notes that about 3000 people were baptized the same day. (Acts 2:41) Jesus’ promise to send the Advocate is fulfilled (John 16:5-33), and repentance and salvation spread abundantly.

Pentecost has inspired profoundly beautiful art and liturgy over the centuries. For example, Bernini’s stained-glass window, located behind the Chair of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica, depicts the Holy Spirit as a beautiful dove hovering amidst fiery illumination.

Also in Rome, just 1.25 miles (2 km) east of the Vatican, stands the ancient Pantheon. The structure was built ca. AD 126 as a pagan temple but was converted to a church by the early 7th century. Each year on Pentecost rose pedals are dropped from the large opening in the ceiling to symbolize the Holy Spirit’s descent. This is called “la pioggia di petali di rosa” which translates to shower or rain of rose petals. (Source: LAJ)

Pentecost is one of the most important moments in salvation history and so is beautifully commemorated in art and liturgy. Luke the Evangelist preserves details about this wonderous event in his second work, the Acts of the Apostles. Let us renew our familiarity with his account and ask God to strengthen us in the Holy Spirit.

By Sean Mclaughlin

SOURCES




New Assignments in the Archeparchy of Philadelphia

On June 1st, Metropolitan Borys Gudziak announced the transfers, assignments, and appointments that are about to occur in the Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Two priests are retiring, and several others are getting new appointments and tasks within the Archeparchy.

“All of the following changes are a result of months of careful consideration and deliberation by the Eparchial Consultors whom I thank for their pastoral insight and patience throughout this process. The decisions at which we arrived were guided by one fundamental principle – the welfare of our archeparchy and our parishes, and the wellbeing of our priests and parishioners,” noted Metropolitan Borys.

The Metropolitan expressed his gratitude to Bishops Andriy and all priests for their exceptional response to the proposed changes. “In a special way, I would like to thank Very Rev. John Seniw and Rev. Volodymyr Baran for their years of dedicated service. We are all grateful for their willingness to continue helping the Archeparchy”.

***

May 31, 2022

Rev. Volodymyr Baran retires.

June 1, 2022

Very Rev. John Seniw appointed Temporary Administrator of St. Vladimir Church in Palmerton, PA.

Rev. D. George Worschak appointed Temporary Liturgical Minister for St. Vladimir Church in Palmerton, PA.

Rev. Roman Oliynyk appointed Pastor of Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in McAdoo, PA and Administrator St. Michael Church in Hazleton, PA.

Rev. Andriy Chornopyskyi appointed Parochial Vicar of the Ukrainian Catholic Shrine of the Holy Family in Washington, DC and SS. Joachim and Anna Church in Front Royal, VA.

June 15, 2022

Rev. Ostap Mykytchyn appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Jenkintown, PA.

July 1, 2022

Rev. Volodymyr Kostyuk appointed Administrator of St. Nicholas Church in Great Meadows, NJ and Administrator of St. Paul Church in Ramsey, NJ.

Rev. Paul Makar appointed Pastor of St. Josaphat Church in Bethlehem, PA and continues as Administrator of Holy Ghost Church in West Easton, PA.

Rev. Yaroslav Lukavenko appointed Parochial Vicar at Holy Ghost Church in West Easton, PA.

July 31, 2022

Very Rev. John Seniw retires.

August 1, 2022

Most Rev. Andriy Rabiy appointed Administrator of Transfiguration Church in Shamokin, PA and Administrator of Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Marion Heights, PA.

Rev. Vasil Bunik appointed Pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Northampton, PA and Administrator of St. Vladimir Church in Palmerton, PA.

Very Rev. Mykola Ivanov appointed Pastor of St. Ann Church in Warrington, PA and Administrator of Presentation of the Lord Church in Lansdale, PA. He is relieved of his duties as Protopresbyter of the South Anthracite Protopresbyterate but remains Judicial Vicar.

Rev. Wasyl Kharuk appointed Pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Jenkintown, PA.

Very Rev. Mark Fesniak appointed Protopresbyter of the South Anthracite Protopresbyterate.

Rev. Ihor Royik appointed Protopresbyter of the Lehigh – Schuylkill Valley Protopresbyterate.