At the final judgment

Read: Matthew 25:31-46
 
***
Reflection: When we consider the notion of the final judgement when we shall stand before God to account for our lives, we can easily think that what God will look at is the quality of our religious observance, our prayer and asceticism, how faithful we were attending church and the like. Such thinking is misguided.
 
We do well to keep in mind the words of St Maria of Paris: “At the Last Judgement I shall not be asked if I was successful in my ascetic exercises or how many prostrations I made in the course of my prayers. I shall be asked, did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and prisoners. That is all I shall be asked.” (NS)

Tuesday of the First Week of the Great Fast

What does it mean to be a Christian, a follower of Christ? The stichera today remind us of our life in Christ in the holy sacramental mysteries. We anoint ourselves, when chrismated with “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit,” but this means virtue. We are baptized, washed with the consecrated water, but it is the water of purity. We are partakers of the Lamb of God, we partake of the sacrifice, we partake of the resurrection, but this is “the brightness of virtue and the goodness of our deeds.” Yes! We need to fast, to deny ourselves, but the fasting itself is not the goal, but our transformation by God’s love into a people that is holy and pure and good.

Icon: Baptism of St. Paul

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

The beginning of the Great Fast (Lent)

The Church sets aside the next forty days as a period of prayer and penance as a preparation for the Great and Holy Week and the resurrection of our Lord. There are rules about fasting, which we must observe as faithful Christians. However, we must not mistake the true meaning of the Fast. The fast is, truly, a period of spiritual ascesis (struggle), as today’s Gospel tells, us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth … But store up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). However, it is not like school, where we keep all the class rules and earn gold stars for our obedience. Today’s epistle tells us that the Fast is not about “keeping rules:” “The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed him” (Romans 14:3). Yes, we do keep the rules, but we must also transcend the rules.

The Great Fast is not a period of earning merit points, which leads to pride anyway, but it is a time for a spiritual revolution in our lives. We must turn the values of the world: love for power, love of money, love of pleasure, and self-serving upside down. In our baptism, we promised to renounce “Satan, and all his works, and all his angels and all his service, and all his pride,” and to commit ourselves to Christ. This is especially true in a world which polarizes us into self-righteousness and teaches us hatred for the other. Why, indeed, do we fast? It is to bring about this revolution, foretold by Mary, the Mother of God, “[God] has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty” Luke 1:52-53).

We must become the humble, the lowly, the hungry and reject the world’s lust for power. In the Great Fast, then, we live out the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” not our own plan for salvation, but God’s plan, God’s will, seen in love for the other, “Give us this day our daily bread,” for we fast from the delightful food of this world, to receive only Christ, who said, “I am the bread of life (John 6:48);” “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” in unconditional forgiveness, as today’s Gospel reveals, “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6:14-15), and finally, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” for if in the Fast we imitate Jesus, who fasted in the desert for forty days to overcome temptation, then we too will be delivered from evil, but not by our own proud struggles, but by the grace of God. In this fast, we must open ourselves to Christ, who said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

Lenten Regulations 2019

Lenten Regulations 2019 of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford

By the threefold discipline of fasting, prayer and almsgiving the Church keeps the Great Fast/Lent from Monday, March 4 (March 11 – Julian Calendar), after the Cheesefare Sunday to the day before Easter, Holy Saturday, April 20 (April 27 – Julian Calendar).

The following regulations apply, in general, to all Ukrainian Catholics of the Stamford Eparchy between the ages 21-60:

~Abstinence from meat and dairy products on The First Day of the Great Fast, March 4 (March 11), and on Good Friday, April 19 (April 26).

The following regulations apply, in general, to all Ukrainian Catholics of the Stamford Eparchy between the ages 14-60:

~Abstinence from meat is to be observed on all Fridays and the Great Fast.

~Abstinence from meat is suggested and encouraged on all Wednesdays of the Great Fast.

Note: The following are exempt from abstinence: 1. the poor who live on alms; 2. the sick and frail; 3. Convalescents who are returning to their strength; 4. pregnant women and women who are nursing their children; and, 5. persons who perform hard labor.

Meat is to be understood as including not only the flesh, but also those parts of warm-blooded animals that cannot be rendered, i.e., melted down, e.g., the liver, lungs, etc. meat gravy or soup made from meat is included in this prohibition.

Dairy products are to be understood as comprising products derived from mammals and birds, but not regarded as meat, e.g., cheese, lard, butter, milk, eggs, etc.

Eucharistic Fast:

A fast of one hour from food (prior to service starting time) should be kept those receiving the Eucharist at the evening celebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts, as well as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great.

Divine Liturgy for the coming week

Glory to Jesus Christ

Sunday, 3/03, Cheesefare Sunday
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish

Epistle: Romans 13:11-14:4
Gospel: Matthew 6:14-21, Tone 6

Note well: All weekdays of Great Lent are liturgical. On Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent the Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified is celebrated, according to the Dolnytskyj Typikon (p. 349).

Clean Monday, 3/04/19 Our Venerable Father Gerasimus of the Jordan —First Day of Lent
NO MEAT and NO DAIRY

Tuesday, 3/05, The Holy Martyr Conon

Wednesday, 3/06, the Holy 40 martyrs of Ammorium

Thursday, 3/07, The Holy Priest-martyrs and Bishops of Cherson Basil, Ephrem, Capiton, Eugene, Etherius and others.

Friday, 3/08, The Holy Bishop-Confessor Theophylact

Saturday, 3/09, The Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit and the Holy 40 martyrs of Sebaste
9:00 a.m. +Catherine Levitzky (10th Anniv., Pan.) requested by Joseph M. Levitzky

Sunday, 3/10, 1st Sunday of Lent —Sunday of Orthodoxy
9:00 a.m. +Allan Yursha requested by Mary Ann Yursha
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish

Epistle: Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-12:2
Gospel: John 1:43-51, Tone 7

Parish announcements this week

Christ is in our midst!

Vigil Light: This week vigil light is offered to God’s glory by the Ivantsiv family for all deceased members of the Harvey Family.

Asleep in the Lord: Juris Patrylak fell asleep in the Lord. Please remember him in your prayers. ETERNAL MEMORY!

Rectory Office: will be closed from Monday March 4 until Friday March 8. Fr. Iura will be away for the eparchial clergy retreat at Mount Alvernia Retreat Center, Wappingers Falls, NY, with Bishop Paul.

Luncheon/Fundraiser honoring Iryna Friz, Ukraine’s Minister of Veterans Affairs Ukrainian American Veterans of Posts 3,14 of Connecticut and Saint Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in New Haven invite everyone to a luncheon/fundraiser honoring Iryna Friz, Ukraine’s Minister of Veterans Affairs to be held TODAY in St. Michael’s church hall. Minister Friz arrived in Connecticut on Saturday, March 2 to visit the Veterans Hospital in West Haven, the New Haven VETS Center in Orange, and the CT Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. She returns to Ukraine on Monday, March 4.

TODAY, there will be only one Divine Liturgy beginning at 10:30 a.m. The luncheon/fundraiser will begin at 12:00Noon. in St. Michael’s church hall. In addition to lunch, a brief concert will be presented. Brief remarks by Minister Friz will follow. There will be an update on the Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Project and on the veterans’ recent trip to Ukraine. All proceeds will be used to benefit Ukraine’s wounded soldiers and veterans. Tickets are $25.00 per person. Admission for youth under 18 is free.

We invite everyone to this special event. We ask for your support for Ukraine’s wounded heroes. For information and tickets please contact Fr. Iura Godenciuc at 203-865-0388, Post 33 Commander Carl Harvey by calling 203-389-6076; email: carlharvey79@gmail.com, or Myron Melnyk 203-397-2087; email: mmelnyk@yaghoo.com.

MEETING CANCELLATIONS:  Due to various scheduling conflicts of members being in Washington and others being out of state, as well as Father Iura being at a mandatory Eparchy retreat days, both the Parish Council meeting and the Knights of Columbus meeting on March 4,  are hereby canceled.

SESTRECHI: The next monthly meeting of the Sestrechi will be held on March 10. The meeting will be held in Classroom 1 after the 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.

Sorokousty (All Souls’ Saturdays) will next be celebrated on March 16, March 23, March 30, and June 8. Please take a book found in the entrance of the church, fill it out, place it in envelope, and drop it in the collection basket.

Cheesefare Sunday Liturgy and Luncheon

Christ is in our midst!

As a reminder, tomorrow, Cheesefare Sunday, March 3, there will be only one (1) Divine Liturgy in English and Ukrainian at 10:30 a.m.

This Sunday is known by three titles:

1 – Cheesefare Sunday because it is the last day that we eat dairy until Holy Pascha
2 – Forgiveness Sunday because the Church celebrates Forgiveness Vespers, asking for mutual forgiveness as we enter upon the journey of Great Lent.
3 – Sunday of the Casting out of Adam and Eve because during the Holy Season of Great Lent we live is remembrance of our sins and of death which resulted from the fall of our first parents.

Welcoming Minister Iryna Friz

The luncheon/fundraiser will begin at 12:00 Noon. in St. Michael’s church hall, 569 George St., New Haven. In addition to lunch, a brief concert will be presented. Brief remarks by Minister Iryna Friz will follow. There will be an update on the Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Project and on the veterans` recent trip to Ukraine. All proceeds will be used to benefit Ukraine’s wouded soldiers and veterans. Tickets are $25.00 per person. Admission for youth under 18 is free.

We invite everyone to this special event. We ask for your support for Ukraine’s wounded heroes.

To reserve your ticket NOW, please contact

    • Fr. Iura Godenciuc at 203-865-0388,
    • Carl Harvey at 203-389-6076
    • Myron Melnyk at 203-397-2087

Pope’s prayer intention for March

For March, the Pope’s prayer intention is:
 
That Christian communities, especially those who are persecuted, feel that they are close to Christ and have their rights respected.
 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.