Prayer Before An Election

angel-gabrielLord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond.

Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city, state, country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond.

We ask for eyes that are free from blindness so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.

We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned, men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.

We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.

We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

7th Ecumenical Council

7th-ecumenical-councilMeditation by Very Rev. Dr. David Petras

On this Sunday, we also remember the Nicea II Council in 787, which defined that we can make images (icons) of our Lord and the saints, and venerate them. This council was held in the midst of the iconoclastic (the “image breaking”) controversy, the first phase from 726-787, and the second phase from 814-842. It draws attention to how important images are for us. I know of few homes that do not have a picture, today usually a photograph but sometimes a portrait or drawing, of those we love. If we love Christ first with our whole heart and mind and soul, the image helps us to focus that love. We know these images are only paper or wood and ink or paint, but through the eyes of our body they make the person present in spirit. Yet some people hate images. There is a danger of idolatry, and the council did dialogue with those people who had that fear of idol-worship, and so defined clearly how images are to be venerated: “For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not, however, the veritable worship which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented.” This is the Christian faith. We cannot make images of the divine nature, but the mystery of the incarnation, in which the Word of God became truly a human being, the two natures united in one person, allows us to make images of Jesus, who was like us in every way except sin. This leads us to a deeper mystery, that we are created in the image of God, and that “all of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)” And the glory and the wisdom of the Lord is his emptying, his love, his cross and his resurrection.

More on the subject can be found here.

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

parable-of-the-sowerMeditation by the Very Rev. Dr. David M. Petras
Galatians 6:11-18
Luke 8:5-15

Today our Lord explains by way of a parable how we are to accept the word of God in our hearts. The seed is the word of God, and three types of people fail to receive the word: those on the path, eaten by the birds; those on rocky soil; and those among thorns. The story seems complicated, but it is actually quite simple: the people who fail to hear the gospel are those who cannot put Christ first. They put the devil, the evil one, first, and he takes the good news from their hearts; they put themselves first, and fall away at the first hint of personal hardship; they put their possessions and status first, and leave no room for Christ. It is of this third group that we sing in every Liturgy, “Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now set aside all earthly cares (quoting here Luke 8:14), that we may receive (in Communion) the King of all.” We can hear the good news and let it take root in us if we put Christ first in our lives, “with a generous and good heart (Luke 8:15).” This commitment must be absolute and uncompromising. Therefore, St. Paul gives us the example, “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world – a new creation. (Galatians 6:14-15)”

Kyiv Chamber Choir performs November 2

mykola-hThe world-renowned Kyiv Chamber Choir will perform on Wednesday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter Claver Church (47 Pleasant Street, West Hartford).

Tickets available online: www.ticketweb.com or call Platinum Concerts International at  844-466-2557.

Concert information: www.platinumconcerts.com.

This is a rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s great choirs here in Connecticut performing some hidden treasures from 1,000 years of Ukrainian sacred and folk music. Mykola Hobdych conducts the Choir.

“The Kyiv Chamber Choir has only 21 singers, but what singers
they are – big marvelously focused voices. They sung wonderfully clean
unisons and the basses have low E’s to die for.”

(The Washington Post)

Music of Survival

The New England Regional Council of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America will be presenting the film, “Music of Survival” on Sunday, October 16th at Noon in the Church Hall. Admission for youths is free; $10.00 for adults which includes a small, tasty lunch. The film is in Ukrainian but the presentation is easily understood.

This film documents the famous Bandurist Chorus.

Knights of Columbus called to serve parish

John Burger, a member of our parish with his wife Angeles, is also a member of the parish Knights of Columbus Council. He submitted this presentation for our consideration:

I was invited to represent St. Michael’s and the Knights of Columbus at the Post-Sobor meeting regarding the Vibrant Parish, at St. Basil’s Seminary in Stamford, Oct. 8, 2016. Unfortunately, because of a family commitment, I could stay only for an hour at the beginning of the daylong program, which gathered pastors and parishioners from various parts of the Eparchy of Stamford. I was not able to deliver my presentation, so here it is, for your information: 

father-mcgivneyI’d like to briefly introduce you to an initiative that we believe is making St. Michael’s more of a vibrant parish, and that is the new Knights of Columbus council there.

The Knights of Columbus is an international fraternity of Catholic men, committed to serving the Church on the local level and growing in holiness and becoming better Catholic men, husbands and fathers. Founded in New Haven in 1882, the Knights are now approaching 2 million members and have in recent years become active in several countries, including Ukraine.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav has said of this new development, of Knights councils becoming active in Ukraine: “The cherished and practiced ideals of the Knights of Columbus resonate deeply in the soul of a Church and a people experiencing a vivid resurrection in its spiritual and moral life.”

It wasn’t long after the establishment of the first new councils of Knights in Ukraine that they experienced a “baptism by fire,” so to speak: Members of a council that met just five blocks away from Maidan during the protests of 2013 set to work tending those wounded in clashes, providing food and warm clothes, interceding for those who were arrested, and assisting families of people who died. Knights also set up a prayer tent at Maidan to offer spiritual support.

In our own country, in recent years, the Knights have developed new councils in Eastern Catholic parishes, particularly Ukrainian parishes. In 2015, at the instigation of our pastor, Father Iura Godenciuc, St. Michael’s became the first Ukrainian parish in the state of Connecticut to initiate a K of C council. It didn’t take us long to decide what to call our group: Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Council.

Since our founding we have quickly grown into a band of brothers that truly has a family spirit. Meeting together on a Monday night once a month and working shoulder to shoulder on various projects for the parish, we have gotten to know one another in ways that we might never have, merely by seeing each other at Liturgy or chatting over coffee on a Sunday morning. We have been able to offer the gifts and talents that we all have as individuals to respond to various needs in the parish and community.