Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Read: Ephesians 5:9-19; Luke 12:16-21

The key to understanding this Sunday’s Gospel is the final sentence, “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God” (Luke 12:21). That’s why worldly riches, or “eating, drinking and making merry,” or amassing and hoarding stuff for oneself don’t matter. What matters is God’s will for us. In a narcissistic, individualistic age, we often confuse our own goals and desires with the will of God. This Sunday’s Epistle reminds us that we really, really have to work to discover God’s will.

St. Paul tells us, “Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 510); “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15); “Do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord” (Ephesians 5:17). “Light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9).

Lord, let your light shine upon us! In the Lucan cycle, which always begins on the second Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross, this Gospel will always be read on the Sunday from November 17-23. Since Thanksgiving always comes on November 22-28, this Gospel is a good reflection on Godly and worldly riches.

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Divine Liturgy for the coming week

Glory to Jesus Christ

Sunday, 11/18, 26th Sunday after Pentecost —The Holy Martyrs Plato and Roman

9:00 a.m. Special Intention
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish

Epistle: Ephesians 5:9-19
Gospel: Luke 12:16-21, Tone 1

Monday, 11/19, The Holy Prophet Obadiah

Tuesday, 11/20, Forefeast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple; Our Venerable Father Gregory of Decapolis; AND Commemoration of Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska, First Superior of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (+1919).

Wednesday, 11/21, Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple

9:00 a.m.  +Iwan Sowa (Pan.) requested by Bohdan Sowa

Thursday, 11/22, Post-feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God; The Holy Apostle Philemon and Those with Him

10:00 a.m. Thanksgiving Day Divine Liturgy

Friday, 11/23, Post-feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God; Our Holy Father Amphilochius and Gregory

Saturday, 11/24, Post-feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God; The Holy Great-Martyr Catherine

Sunday, 11/25, 27th Sunday after Pentecost —Leave-taking of the Entrance of the Mother of God; Our Holy Father and Priest-martyr Clement, Pope of Rome

9:00 a.m. +Emilia Dubno requested by the Family
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish

Epistle: Ephesians 6:10-17
Gospel: Luke 13:10-17, Tone 2

Parish announcements this week

Christ is in our midst!

VIGIL LIGHT: This week vigil light is offered to God’s greater glory by Kolesnik Family in memory of Walter, Mary, Lillian and John.

ASLEEP in the LORD: Jenny Patrylak. Please remember Jenny in your prayers. ETERNAL MEMORY!

PARISH COFFEE HOUR: Dear parishioners and guests, after each Divine Liturgy, coffee and hard rolls are available in the church hall.

If someone would like to buy a frozen pierogies (varenyky) during the week please call the rectory at (203) 865-0388. More information can be read here:

Our next PYROHY SATURDAY will be on December 15. We need your help to peel potatoes on Friday and to make Pyrohy on Saturday. Please come and help —see for more Walter Ushchak for ways to help.

All donations and contributions must be received by Sunday, December 30th to be recorded on the annual statement for the year 2018.


REMINDER: Please don’t forget to donate for the Charities Appeal. Please make your check payable to the BYZANTINE RITE DIOCESE OF STAMFORD.  DO NOT MAIL THE FORM TO THE CHANCERY OFFICE IN STAMFORD. We sincerely ask all parishioners to make generous contributions.

Parish Council meeting: will take place on Monday, December 3, at 6:00 p.m. in the Holy Name Room. Topics: Update on the Church parking lots, updates on handicap ramp for the church hall, physical plant improvement, a general update on the State of the Parish, review plans for calendar of events for the balance of the year. All members are invited.

SESTRECHI: the next regular monthly meeting will be held on Sunday, December 2, after the 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy. The meeting will be held in the church hall classroom. There will be an Akathist to the Mother of God will be prayed prior to the Liturgy.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: The Knights of Columbus Blessed Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Council will hold its next regular meeting on Monday, December 3, after the Parish Council meeting. All men of the parish are invited to attend.

CELL PHONES: Please, please, please, turn off your cell phones when you come to the Divine Liturgy. If you are expecting an emergency call, please put your phone on vibrate and go outside to answer. Also, please stop using your cell phone during the Divine Liturgy. This is for the benefit of all. Thank you.

BULLETIN UPDATES: Dear parishioners, as you may have noticed there have been some changes and improvements to our parish bulletin. In a continuing effort to make the bulletin more parishioner friendly, I call upon you to let me know what else you would like to see and or change. As always, I appreciate the various informational materials that you have provided and I am looking forward to your continued responses. Thank you, Father Iura.

Philip’s Fast –Pylypivka

Today begins the Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka), the pre-Christmas fast – the day after the feast of Saint Philip, which was yesterday. The Byzantine Church identifies The Holy and All-Praiseworthy Apostle Philip as one who prepares us for the great time of the year: the Nativity/Theophany of Our Lord.

Saint Philip is known as having a deep knowledge of the Sacred Scripture, who had the capacity of discerning the meaning of the Old Testament prophecies in light of the coming of the Messiah. Key to this period of preparation is connected to the Apostle Philip because one of the things he is remembered for is the bringing of Nathaniel to Christ, and thereafter Nathaniel becomes an Apostle. Likewise, and critically, Philip brings us to Christ and we become apostles of Christ. He exposes our betrayals of faith and heals them. Thus, you can say that Philip leads all of us into greater communion with the Lord, THE only source of our salvation. Let is ask Saint Philip for the grace of conversion for Pylypivka.

The Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka) is a 40 days period of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the Nativity/Theophany cycle of the church year. It is a voluntary fasting and works of penance and charity but it was once a period of strict fasting.

Some further information with the prescriptions for following the Fast found here.

At the Divine Liturgy, Father Iura will wear dark vestments because it is the norm for this penitential season with exception of Saturdays, Sundays and feasts of the first class.

St John Chrysostom

Today is the feast of Our Holy Father, Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, whose Divine Liturgy we pray most often. He is one of the most famous saints of both the Greek and the Latin Churches and one of the four great Doctors of the East. He is called “Golden-Tongued” because of his eloquence.

Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us.

Image: Mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Sophia, Istanbul.

St. Josaphat

Today is the feast of St. Josaphat

One biographer writes:

St. Josaphat (1580-1623) was born to a devout religious family of Ruthenian ancestry in what is now Ukraine, and was baptized in the Eastern Orthodox Church. He devoted his virginity to the Virgin Mary and grew in his reverence for ancient liturgy. During a revival of Eastern Catholic monastic life he became a monk in the Order of St. Basil, and was ordained to Holy Orders in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in 1609. He was noted for his life of asceticism, holiness, and virtue which led to his appointment as Archbishop of Polotsk in what is today Belarus. During his lifetime there was much sociopolitical and ecclesiastical rivalry between the Catholics and Orthodox, especially in the wake of the 1596 Union of Brest which saw the Ruthenian rite break with Orthodoxy and come under the authority of the Holy See. St. Josaphat was passionate about working for the reunification with Rome and won many heretics and schismatics back to communion with Rome. However, he was also strongly opposed to the Latinization of his people. This combination of views drew ire from both Catholic and Orthodox clergy. His diocese was contested by the Orthodox, and a rival Orthodox bishop was set up to oppose him, causing riots. During one uprising Josaphat tried to calm the tensions and work for reunification and peace, but his enemies plotted to kill him. A mob of Orthodox Christians entered Josaphat’s home, stabbed and axed his body and threw it into a river. His body was seen glowing in the water and was recovered. After his martyrdom many miracles were attributed to his intercession. Josaphat’s sacrifice became a blessing as regret and sorrow over his death converted many hearts toward reunification with the Catholic Church. In 1867 Josaphat became the first saint of the Eastern Church to be formally canonized by Rome.

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Read: Ephesians 4:1-6; Luke 10:25-37

This gospel must be read very carefully. Jesus tells a story to make a point. It is just a story, it didn’t happen. However, we get the point. The scholar of the law knew the basic message of faith. We must love God and we must love our neighbor as ourselves. Then he asked a question to justify himself. He saw a loophole in Jesus’ teaching. Yes, love your neighbor, but who is your neighbor? That is the problem. Jesus then tells a story in which those you would expect naturally to give help to the beaten man, the priest and the levite (in early Christianity, another name for deacon, one who gives service) pass the poor man without a thought. Who gives help? It is the “other,” the heretics to the Jews, the hated Samaritan. He, the “other,” shows mercy. Whether this story happened or not is irrelevant. Jesus tells us that our neighbor may be someone we do not expect. Therefore, we cannot “justify ourselves” by prejudice and racism, by hating the other. This gospel preaches itself.

When I was a young priest, the “other” in our church were blacks and Jews. Today they are immigrants and Moslems. And we, like the “scholar of the law,” are still racists. Racism is the ugly face of our church today. It blocks us from being “true-believing Christians. The scholar got the point, but he couldn’t say the hated word, “Samaritan,” but only “the one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus responds “Go and do likewise,” that is, do not hate the other, but always show mercy and care for the other. God’s word is clear, but do we have eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear? Today, St. Paul tells us we are all one: “[strive] to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 

Read: Ephesians 2:14-22; Luke 8:41-56

Many people are squeamish at the sight of blood, some even faint away. This is because of fear – we know that loss of blood can lead to loss of life. The blood flowing in our veins is life. In this Sunday’s Gospel, the Lord encounters a woman who has had a hemorrhage for twelve years – life is slowly seeping away from her. But death cannot remain in the presence of Christ, and merely by secretly touching his garment, she is healed by his power.

Today’s Gospel contains this healing within a healing, a raising form the dead. Our Lord is on his way to raise the twelve-year old daughter of Jairus, where he redefines death as sleep, ““Do not weep any longer, for she is not dead, but sleeping” (Luke 8:52). See that for God, time is without meaning, for the woman with the hemorrhage, twelve years seems an eternity, but for the little girl, twelve years is much too short. For the Jews at the time of Jesus, blood signified life. When animals were sacrificed, the blood was poured out as a libation, for the life belongs to God. While our Lord stopped the flow of the blood for the woman, and gave life to the little girl, he instead shed his own blood for the life of the world and died on the Cross to bring us all resurrection. He invites us to share in his blood, “Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.’” (Mark 14:23-24).

The healing of the woman with the hemorrhage connects with the epistle in yet another way. In the Jewish law, even someone who touched a woman shedding blood (menstruation or in giving birth) became unclean. Yet the woman “came up behind [Jesus] and touched the tassel on his cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus then asked, ‘Who touched me?’” (Luke 11:44-45). Jesus was not angry at her, but instead said, “Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 11:48). Jesus, however, has broken the wall, as St. Paul reflects, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh …. for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:13-14.18).

The Holodomor reminds us of truth

Those who think deeply about the meaning of the commemoration of the Holodomor by necessity come back to the Gospel of Matthew where he says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Father Gregory Zubacz of the Ukrainian Catholic Mission Church in Fresno, California, said last year (2017): “Our hunger and thirst for the truth is why we have come together today, to demonstrate that the truth can never remain hidden, and to tell our story to the world. And by gathering here and doing so, we are plowing a field of justice in the world so that the seeds of true peace may grow for future generations to be nourished with. Where once was sown a bitter harvest may we now sow the seeds of hope so that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness may be satisfied.” The 1932-33 genocidal famine should not be a something to merely observe each year because “that’s what we do” but our observance is of the genocide is an opportunity to know and understand our humanity in light of our pursuit of truth and faithfulness to the Lord of Life. Only in light of a relationship with Christ does our desire for peace come true and lasting.

November prayer intention

The Papal prayer intention for November 2018:

That the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.

Join in prayer with this intention in mind and heart with the Holy Father.