UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Archpastoral Visit to Woonsocket, RI
By Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins
When I arrived at Seminary a few Mondays ago to teach, I noticed several young men clearing snow. They spoke perfect Ukrainian, so I thought that perhaps His Grace, Bishop Daniel had smuggled them in luggage during his most recent trip to Ukraine. At Vespers that evening, I learned the truth: they were a men choir from Ivan-Frankivsk. After serving Lenten Vespers with them that evening, I immediately got in touch with His Grace and asked if they could come and serve Presanctified Liturgy with us in Woonsocket. Bishop Daniel agreed and offered to bring them on March 26th.
The warnings of heavy snow and hurricane winds proved false, and the van with His Grace, Bishop Daniel, Fr. Vasyl Pasakas, and the six singers of Domine made it from South Bound Brook to Holy Archangel Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Woonsocket, RI without a problem. Fr. Anthony gave His Grace and the group a tour of fire-damaged church building, during which Bishop Daniel led a brief prayer service asking the Archangel Michael to protect the parish as it rebuilds.
His Grace, Bishop Daniel presided at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, assisted by Deacon Paul Cherkas. Fr. Onisie Morar (St. John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church, Woonsocket), Fr. Vasyl Pasakas (Nativity of the Virgin Mary, South Plainfield NJ), and I concelebrated at the altar. Fr. Roman Golemba (St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church, Woonsocket) was also in attendance. As the lone server amongst so many senior clergy, Subdeacon Joshua Bourgery did the bulk of the heavy lifting.
About fifty people came to celebrate this beautiful Lenten service. Most were parishioners of Saint Michael's. The responses and psalmody were offered by the members of the Domine Choir. As Bishop Daniel noted in his remarks, the choir spent the last few days learning the hymns and responses in English and ably sung in both English and Ukrainian. The St. Michael cantors filled in for the choir during some of the responses and hymns toward the end of the service.
The high point of the evening was the long line of communicants who came forward to receive the precious Body and Blood of Christ from the hand of His Grace. What a blessing!
After a brief intermission, the Domine Choir came forward and offered ten religious and secular songs. The purity of their voices and quality of their harmonies were exquisite. Again, they had learned several of the numbers in English. Everyone was moved by the beauty of their performance.
After the service, we opened the side of the hall for a lenten reception fixed with love and thanksgiving for the bishop and choir by the faithful of the parish. An agape collection was also taken to support the singers during their stay.
I recommend that all parishes that can invite the Domine singers to their parishes; moreover, that they invite them to chant and sing the services of the Church - this is beauty in its perfect context.