UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Archpastoral Visit to Holy Archangel Michael Pro-Cathedral in Hammond, IN!
By Subdeacon John Charest
On Sunday, January 16, 2011 His Grace Bishop Daniel made an archpastoral visit to Holy Archangel Michael Pro-Cathedral in Hammond, IN. Bishop Daniel was greeted at the entry of the Pro-Cathedral by parish board president Anna Wozniak and Vice President John Lenhart, as well as the pastor of the parish congregation Very Rev. Fr. Raymond Sundland. Anna Wozniak welcomed the Bishop to Hammond and mentioned how pleased the parish family was to see him after his unexpected stay in the hospital. While presenting His Grace with a beautiful arrangement of red roses and wheat, she asked for his continued prayers through the upcoming year. John Lenhart presented Bishop Daniel with the traditional bread and salt. His Grace kissed the bread and expressed how truly touched he was by the outpouring of love which he received from the parish while in the hospital. Fr. Raymond also expressed his relief that Bishop Daniel was well and how pleased he was to have Bishop serving the Liturgy during such a joyous season, just after the New Year and just before the Theophany Feast.
The Liturgy was served in prayerful simplicity with the congregation singing the responses to the Litanies. After the reading of the Gospel for the Sunday before Theophany of our Lord, His Grace Bishop Daniel stepped into the center of the church to preach amongst the people. The sermon began with the story of a little girl learning in Sunday school that we are all on a spiritual journey in our lives and we should prepare ourselves for the encounter with our Creator. The little girl asked her mother why they weren’t preparing for this spiritual journey the way they would prepare for a journey to Aunt Mary’s – packing bags, making itineraries, etc. Bishop Daniel reminded us that this child’s question was quite valid in that we SHOULD be preparing for our Faith journey. Just like an Olympic athlete trains, eats right, and studies his/her sport – we too should be in constant preparation. The bishop reflected upon the significance of the message of preparation in the Old Testament as well as the role of St. John the Baptist and his sermon of repentance and preparation.
His Grace opened his heart to the congregation and described how his hospital experience has changed his outlook on aspects of his life. One such aspect was his age. He explained that for years he’s been telling himself that when he’s a little older he was going to make some improvements in his life, and while he was in the hospital he was told that he’s middle aged. The bishop went on to tell us that those words rang strong in his head and he’s decided that he can no longer say to himself, “when I’m a little older”, instead, the time is now. The parish family was challenged to make the necessary changes in their lives as well, and that although the parish is doing good things, they need to do more, because the notion of “good enough” mentality is the worst enemy of “the best”.
In the Litany of Fervent Supplication Bishop Daniel added petitions for those entering seminaries, monasteries, and the Holy Priesthood; that they may have the spiritual strength to be steadfast in their faith and do good works for the church. His Grace also prayed for the youth of our church that they may be able to fight temptation and for their parents, that they may guide their children through tough times and lead them away from harm. Vladyka Daniel also remembered a former pastor of the St. Michael parish, now His Eminence Archbishop Antony, who will be celebrating 25 years as a Bishop. Finally, Bishop Daniel commemorated all our brave men and women serving in the armed forces for the United States both here and abroad.
After Liturgy concluded, Fr. Ray again welcomed Bishop Daniel to the parish and expressed how relieved everyone is that he is out of the hospital and healthy. We took a group photo in the church and made our way into the hall for a delectable pot luck luncheon. Following festive luncheon, the congregation was treated with a beautiful homemade cake to help celebrate January birthdays, including Fr. Ray’s. We all sang Happy Birthday and Mnohaya Lita to those with whom we were celebrating. In conlusion, the bishop shared with the parish congregation a vision of the various ministries of the Church, encouraging the membership if the parish family to actively participate in the encampments of All Saints Camp, Annual Family Fest in Emlenton, PA, to support the UOL Souper Bowl Sunday project as well as to look for new projects and to reach out to a local community, assisting those that are in need.
While the snow falling looked like it may start accumulating, people made their way out into the secular world again with the Bishop’s words of change in their minds, smiles on their faces, and a feast in their bellies.