Freedom or Death, documentary scheduled for November 13

The film, “”Freedom or Death: A Revolution of Dignity,” documents the revolutionary events of last year that took place in Kyiv, Ukraine. Footage includes the events on the Maidan and the continuing warfare in Eastern Ukraine.

damian-kolodity“Freedom or Death” was produced and directed by Damian Kolodiy, an Ukrainian-American filmmaker, who is a graduate of the Film program at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Kolodiy’s vocation is a spent as writer and independent filmmaker based in New York City, where he was the Program Director of Kinofest NYC, a film festival showcasing contemporary Ukrainian film in New York. ( from 2010-2015. Kolodiy’s first feature documentary was on Ukraine’s Orange Revolution titled “The Orange Chronicles”. He freelances as a cameraman and editer, and much of his work has been documentaries of a political nature.

You may watch a trailer here.

The parish and the Ukrainian Heritage Center are happy to host a viewing of “Freedom or Death” on Sunday, November 13th following the 10:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy in the hall.

Advent message from the US Ukrainian Catholic Bishops

The Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the United States offer the following message for Advent (Pylypivka). It is signed, as you will note below, by all bishops. On the feast day of St. Philip Byzantine Christians begin their preparation for the Birth of Jesus. This 40-day preparation period is before the Christmas / Theophany season. the Philip fast begins at sundown on November 14th (when the Church begins a new day) and concludes at Christmas. History tells us that the fast was introduced to prepare us for a more worthy celebration of the great and holy day of the Birth of Jesus. The regulations for the fast were far more lenient than the Great Fast before Pascha. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are days of strict fasting without meat, dairy products or oil (in Slavic countries).  On Sundays fish was permitted. The Phillipian fast prepares us to receive the public ministry of Christ announced at Theophany.

What follows is a good message to begin our preparation for the Nativity of the Lord.

philipWith the commemoration of St. Philip on November 14th (Gregorian Calendar) or November 27th (Julian Calendar), we begin the customary fast or preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of the Birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It coincides with the hectic season of pre-Christmas preparations, shopping for gifts for others, and invitations to participate in many social festive events. It truly becomes a challenge for us to withdraw ourselves from our earthly appetites, as we attempt to facilitate more time for prayer and meditation. When we become overwhelmed by such preparations, many of us step back and wonder whether all these things really add to our happiness and our feelings of contentment. We reflect on why we are here in this world.

Pope Francis, in the Apostolic Exhortation, “Joy of the Gospel”, says that you and I are “a mission on this earth”, and that is the reason why you and I are here in this world. We are called to live as missionaries who feel genuine happiness in seeking the good of others, in desiring their happiness. It is who we are. The Holy Father calls us to draw nearer to others and to seek their welfare. In turn, our hearts are opened wide to the Lord’s greatest and most beautiful gifts. “Whenever our eyes are opened to acknowledge the other, we grow in the light of faith and knowledge of God”.

The recent beatification of Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminds us of a life dedicated “to give until it hurts”. Mother Teresa gave of herself until it hurt, as she continued to give of her understanding, compassion, care and devotion. She revealed to us that every person is worthy of our giving. Pope Francis reminds us that “every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and He himself is present in their lives. Every person is immensely holy and deserves our love”. Why are you here in this world? Pope Francis tells us so beautifully, that “if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!”

Herein lies our challenge during “Pylypivka” or Advent. Be still, calm yourself and hear the voice of Jesus in your life in prayer and meditation. Go about your daily life energized with the closeness of the Lord in your heart. Let Jesus be the source of your energy and that which you need for daily life. Choose to draw nearer to others seeking their betterment in small ways. Open your eyes to be become more aware of others and their challenges in life. Listen. Observe. Share of yourself in increased attentiveness to others. Share from your abundance. Pope Francis observes that “we do not live better when we flee, hide, refuse to share, stop giving and lock ourselves up in our own comforts. Such a life is nothing less than slow suicide”.

25th Sunday after Pentecost

jairus-daughterMeditation by the Very Rev. Dr. David M. Petras
Ephesians 4:1-6; Luke 8:41-56

The Gospel of St. John tells us: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. (John 5:21)” As we read the Gospel of St. Luke in the Sundays after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we witness this again and again. Jesus brings the son of the widow of Nain back to life. In the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, we are reminded of the Resurrection of Lazarus, in the story of the man possessed by a legion of demons, Jesus brings him back into life from living among the tombs. Death cannot remain in the presence of Jesus, our Lord and our God, and so each Sunday we celebrate his resurrection from the dead. Today we tell another resurrection story: Jesus raises to life the daughter of Jairus, an official of the synagogue, and he heals the woman with the hemorrhage just by a touch, because death cannot exist in the presence of the Lord. The ancients identified death with the loss of blood, the life-fluid, so Jesus returns life to within her. We worship then Jesus and Lord and we pray to him, for no matter who we are, Jesus will give us life, and the fullness of life. St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, also read today teaches us that life in unity in “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” If, indeed, we find life in Christ, we are alive in the one God, one in the Holy Trinity, “one God and Father of all,” so that life means “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love. (Ephesians 4:1-2)” Lord, make us one, make us alive!

Parish feast day November 6

This Sunday, November 6th, our parish will be celebrating the annual feast day of St Michael.

REMINDER: There is only 1 Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m. in English and Ukrainian.

A festive lunch to follow the Liturgy. Tickets are $25.00 for adults (see next post below).

St Michael’s Day 2016

st-michaelJoin us for our parish celebration for St Michael’s Day will be on Sunday, November 6, 2016.

There will be only one Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m.

Following Liturgy, will have a dinner and a brief program. All parishioners and friends are invited the celebration.

Tickets (available through Halya Lodynsky or to Luba Dubno):

  • $25.00 for adults
  • $10.00 for ages 12-18
  • Free for children under 12, for students of Ridna Shkola and altar boys.

There will be a raffle. If you would like to donate items to be raffled, please bring the items to church hall on Sundays before our Feast Day celebration and give them them Halya Lodynsky or to Luba Dubno.

We ask you to bring a dessert to share at the meal.

Remembering Andrey Sheptytsky

sheptytyskyNovember 1st is the anniversary of the repose of our great shepherd Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.

Our Knights of Columbus Council is under the spiritual patronage of Metropolitan Andrey.

An excerpt of a prayer for Divine Wisdom cherished by Metropolitan Andrey:

Grant me, O God, the wisdom of my state, so that I may do what You desire; grant that I may understand my obligations, grant me the wisdom of my duties, and grant that I may do them as they ought to be done and as is fitting of Your glory and for the benefit of my soul.

Blessed Theodore Romzha

theodore-romzhaIn the Byzantine Catholic Church keeps the feast of Blessed Theodore Romzha is celebrated today. He was a martyred bishop of Mukachevo in Transcarpathia who was killed by the Soviets in hatred for the faith.

“I love you, O Lord, my strength; You are my stronghold and my refuge!” (Psalm 18: 2-3)

These were the words which Bishop Theodore G. Romzha, the Apostolic Administrator of the Mukachevo Eparchy (1944-1947), chose as the motto for his episcopal ministry. At the age of 33, he faced the one of the most brutal and bloody persecutions of a Christian community in modern times, ultimately making the ultimate sacrifice for his flock and his faith.

Bishop Romzha was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001. His relics are enshrined in Holy Cross Cathedral in Uzhorod, Transcarpathia.

His feast was originally celebrated on November 1, and is thus listed in the Roman Martyrology at #19 on that day. During the days of the Soviet control of Ukraine, there was but one “time zone” in the U.S.S.R. The bishops of Ukraine petitioned Rome that the feast date be changed to Oct. 31, due to the fact that it was on that date that the martyr was actually murdered.

Here’s a hymn for Blessed Theodore

24th Sunday after Pentecost

jesus-releases-sinMeditation by the Very Rev. Dr. David M. Petras
Luke 8:26-39

The idea this gospel is addressing is fear. Jesus comes to the land of the Gerasenes and casts out a legion of demons from a possessed man. The gospel of Luke is succinct on this point and only notes that he lived among the tombs (that is, among the dead). In the gospel of Matthew, we read the detail that “they were so savage that no one could travel by that road” (Matthew 8:28). Jesus’ cure is like a resurrection to life, making him free from the tombs. The demons are sent into unclean animals, the pigs, and this evil is promptly destroyed. The townspeople come out to see what had happened, and rather than welcoming Jesus as a healer and the conqueror of evil, the gospel says “they were seized with fear,” and St. Luke repeats, they “asked Jesus to leave them because they were seized with great fear” (Luke 8:35.37). Of what were they afraid, that their commodity (the pigs) had been destroyed, or that the demoniac man was still possessed by demons? We often “demonize” and “dehumanize” what we fear. We, too, are God-fearing, when we approach Holy Communion the deacon warns, “Approach with the fear of God and with faith.” The townspeople were afraid and asked Jesus to leave, but a true “fear of God,” which is expressed in faith and love, draws us nearer to God in Communion. The Lord can free us from evil, so approach and receive him who told us, “Take courage, for I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).

2016 Eastern Catholic Bible Conference

“A Holy Nation The Church in God’s Plan of Salvation”

St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral – Munhall, PA
November 4 – 5th, 2016, Friday 6:30 – 9pm and Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm ($30 per participant – See link to register below!)

The Church as God’s Holy People is at the heart of His unfolding plan of salvation that is ultimately fulfilled in Christ. The Bible relates how this plan for a universal covenant kingdom and a temple made of living stones for all the nations unfolds through particular stages in the history of God’s People.

Talks Include:
– Are Eastern Catholics “Bible Christians”?
– Reading the Bible in the Heart of the Church
– The Seven Ages of the Kingdom in the Bible
– Biblical Images of the Church
– Sacred Reading: How to Pray the Scriptures
– The Bible and the Domestic Church
– The Bible and the New Evangelization

Snacks and light lunch included!


Recommended Accommodations:

Hampton Inn
301 West Waterfront Dr.
West Homestead, PA 15120.
Rooms start at $124 for a King and $144 for 2 Queens.

Courtyard Marriott
401 West Waterfront Dr.
West Homestead, PA 15120.
Rooms start at $132 for a King or 2 Queens.