The weekend of the Second Sunday of Great and Holy Lent (22-24 March, 2019) at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral was truly a time for spiritual reflection and prayer for individual parishioners, the entire St. Volodymyr cathedral parish family and the greater Chicago Deanery of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA.
Following the arrival of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, the spiritual father of the Western Eparchy of the Church, the clergy of the local Chicago Deanery parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA gathered at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral for the celebration of the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, thus celebrating the memory and Christian example of the Holy Martyrs of Sebaste and the Holy Martyrs Codratus, Halyna and others.
In his remarks following the liturgical service, Archbishop Daniel reflected upon the spiritual journey of Great Lent and the social and moral challenges of the our society that threaten the very notion of the sacredness of human life, as it has been recently shown by the decisions of the New York State legislature and the decisions about the termination of life for the unborn children. The Archbishop spoke of the significance to support the Christian and especially Pan-Orthodox Pro-Life organizations that challenge the modern day culture of disregard for human life. Vladyka Daniel reflected upon the ministry of Zoe for Life, pan-Orthodox organization that helps mothers to care for their unborn children and often assist them in saving innocent lives by providing opportunities for adoptions, etc.
Following the service and Lenten dinner (prepared the cathedral’s sisterhood), the clergy of the Deanery held their annual Deanery meeting, discussing the vital issues in the life of the Deanery and the greater Orthodox community, especially the most recent granting of the autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Participating in the meeting were Very Rev. Fr. Bohdan Kalynyuk (pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Bensenville, IL), Very Rev. Fr. Ivan Lymar (pastor of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL), Very Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha (pastor of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL), Rev. Fr. Walter Hvostik (pastor of the Protection of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Milwaukee, WI), Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak (St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Chicago, IL) and Rev. Fr. Mykola Dilendorf, while Rev. Fr. Silouan Rolando (pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish) and rev. Fr. Gregory Jensen (pastor of St. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Orthodox Mission in Madison, WI) – very excused from the meeting for to pastoral and personal reasons.
On Saturday morning, Archbishop Daniel, assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Ivan Lymar, pastor of the cathedral community and Seminarian Myroslav Mykytyuk of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ), visited the School of Ukrainian Studies of St. Volodymyr Cathedral (Dobrodijka Lilia Lymar – director), where the hierarch had a chance to stop in each classroom and to interact with about 100 children of different age groups as well as their instructors. Learning about the teaching technics, spiritual and cultural instructions, Archbishop Daniel expressed his gratitude to the teachers of the school for their dedication and professional care for the children of the greater Ukrainian community of Chicago Metropolitan area.
On Sunday morning, the Second Sunday of the Great and Holy Lent, the cathedral parish community welcomed Archbishop Daniel as he presided over the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, leading the community in praer and on the path of Lenten journey.
In his sermon, Vladyka reflcted on the Gospel narrative of the Second Sunday of Lent and the notion of “friendship” in our society: “…How many people would you identify as your “friends” out of all the “brothers and sisters” who worship with you in this church? Do you know them by name? Do you know what their critical needs are: whether they need a job or someone to help them complete their immigration forms? A friend in need is a friend indeed. This is what we should become before we call ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ… practice the Gospel friendship in your life, live by it…”
The Boyan choir of St. Volodymyr Cathedral (under the leadership of Volodymyr Popovich) chanted the responses to the liturgical service, while numerous parishioners and children of the parish family approached the chalice in order to receive the Most Holy Eucharist.
The day concluded with the annual meting of entire parish community of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (Chicago, IL) during which reports about the life of the parish were presented and a new parish board of administration was elected.
Before his departure from Chicago to the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel paid a short visit to Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Bensenville, IL (Very Rev. Fr. Bodayn Kalynyuk – pastor) in order to familiarize himself with the construction and beautification process of the parish’s sacred temple, which is being done through the generosity of the individual parishioners of the community.