UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Parish Feast Day in Bensenville, IL
Subdeacons Vasyl Pasakas and Vasyl Dovgan
"O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, You are everywhere present and fill all things. Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Good One." Hymn from the Vespers of Pentecost
With these words on their lips over 300 faithful greeted His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA among their midst at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Bensenville, IL. It was the parish’s second anniversary and what a treat it was for the faithful to have their spiritual father pray with them and for them. The prayer on this Pentecost Sunday was offered for so many immigrants that came from Ukraine and now reside in Chicago Metropolitan area, becoming parishioners of the newly established two-year old Ukrainian Orthodox community under the spiritual care of its pastor Very Rev. Bohdan Kalynyuk.
Mr. Yurij Demchenko, a president of the parish board of administration, assisted by the representatives of the parish board and children were the first one to welcome the bishop to his parish with a traditional Ukrainian Bread and Salt and flowers. Sharing the gift of flowers with the children of the parish Bishop Daniel reflected upon the sacrifices that the individual parishioners of the parish community had made in order to secure the blessed present moment in the life of the Holy Trinity parish family.
The eagle-rugs were set in their places and the Bishop, preceded by the Processional Cross, a group of the parish children, and the subdeacons bearing the dikerion and trikirion, processed with to the main entrance of the magnificent parish temple, where the next one to welcome the bishop was a pastor of the parish Very Rev. Bohdan Kalynyuk, Very Rev. Andriy Shelvakh, Rev. Taras Maximtsev, Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL.
The Ukrainians often call Pentecost “Green Sunday”, and in accordance with that tradition, they adorned the Church with much greenery as well as the flowers. Right in front of the Icon screen a beautiful icon of Pentecost was adorned by colorful flowers. Bishop Daniel wore green vestments with a green miter; Father Bohdan and other clergy wore green and gold vestments which were actually gifts from various parishioners who donated them to the parish for use on Pentecost.
The service went on as usual, with the Bishop in the center of the nave surrounded by his flock – with the children closest to him – like the father of a family in the midst of those for whom he is responsible for. It being Pentecost, the Thrice-Holy hymn was not sung, being replaced by the Baptismal verse of Saint Paul: “All those who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Alleluia”, which the parish choir sang in Ukrainian, pausing to allow the Bishop and the clergy in the sanctuary to chant as well.
Following the Gospel reading, Bishop Daniel offered an inspiring sermon calling upon the parish family to continue on their path of improvements that were set forth as they organized themselves only two years ago. He encouraged the Sisterhood and the parish Brotherhood to continue their work for the benefit of all and for the upgrades to the buildings. Among the above mentioned, the bishop taught the parish community about the meaning of Pentecost: “On Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the Holy Spirit bursting forth upon the disciples of Christ and their proclaiming the Good News of God’s love with many responding and becoming followers of our Savior. Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church because it is the day the members of Christ’s Church were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to boldly proclaim the Gospel, which means Good News. Three thousand were baptized on Pentecost. From that day forward, the followers of Christ began to fulfill the command to make disciples of all nations, through baptism and apostolic work. Without Pentecost, the Christ event would have remained imprisoned in history. Pentecost is the moment of empowering. The disciples are called to live in Christ’s Spirit and do His works. We are called to do so ourselves today.”
The Archpastoral Divine Liturgy continued as usual; at the Great Entrance the Bishop commemorated the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA: Metropolitan Constantine and Archbishop Antony as well as the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Beyond the Borders of Ukraine: His Eminence Metropolitan Yuriy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada; His Eminence Archbishop Ioan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand; His Eminence Archbishop Jeremiah of the Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of South America; His Grace Bishop Ilarion and His Grace Bishop Andriy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.
The Lord’s Prayer for the very first time in the life of the parish family was chanted by all of the children of the parish community under the leadership of Xrystyna Popowych. A great number of faithful came to receive Holy Eucharist from the hands of the Bishop – especially over 30 children of the parish family.
After the Ambo Prayer, His Grace Bishop Daniel invited the faithful to join him in kneeling down (Pentecost is the first time since Pascha that one should kneel in the Church) while he offered the special “kneeling prayers” of the Pentecost season. This action signifies that after these fifty days of Paschal joy and fullness, of experiencing the Kingdom of God, the Church now is about to begin her pilgrimage through time and history. It is evening again, and the night approaches, during which temptations and failures await us, when, more than anything else, we need Divine help, that presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who has already revealed to us the joyful End, who now will help us in our effort towards fulfillment and salvation.
Thus is completed the feast of Pentecost and we enter "the ordinary time" of the year. Yet, every Sunday now will be called "after Pentecost" — and this means that it is from the power and light of these fifty days that we shall receive our own power, the Divine help in our daily struggle. At Pentecost we decorate our churches with flowers and green branches — for the Church "never grows old, but is always young." It is an evergreen, ever-living Tree of grace and life, of joy and comfort. For the Holy Spirit - "the Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life - comes and abides in us, and cleanses us from all impurity," and fills our life with meaning, love, faith and hope.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the Eparchial bishop presented a Blessed Certificate to Pani Laryssa Diak, the president of the parish’s Sisterhood on the occasion of her birthday and in appreciation for her devotion and labors in the life of the Mother Church.
Concluding the prayer services of this year’s Pentecost Sunday, the entire parish congregation walked in the Holy Procession around the parish’s temple chanting the feast’s troparion and listening to the four Gospel readings and receiving blessing from Bishop Daniel with the sprinkling of the Holy Water.
The entire day concluded with a beautiful luncheon, sponsored by the parish family, which was oversold and people simply had to wait in order to catch a chance to partake in the parish’s meal. Pani Iryna Czehlevych, the hostess of the parish’s feast day banquet welcomed everyone present, especially the clergy that joint the celebration – Archimandrite Pankratij of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Palos Park, IL, Rev. Fr. Bohdan Nalysnyk of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Chicago, IL and Rev. Mykola Buryadnyk of St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago, IL.
The highlight of the afternoon were the performances of the children of the parish, as they danced, chanted poetry, sang and finally presented the bishop with a full box of toys for the children in Ukrainian orphanages that are so dear to Bishop’s ministry in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Finally, the parish board of administration, on behalf of the organizing committee of the charitable evening that took place about a month ago in the parish, benefiting the children of Ukrainian orphanages, presented Bishop Daniel with a check in the amount of $15,000 towards the special projects at the orphanages sponsored by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church o the USA.
Both the clergy and the faithful were reluctant to leave the beautiful and beloved Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Bensenville, IL. The Bishop publicly thanked Fr. Bohdan Kalynyuk and the parish board of administration and others who had enabled the service to take place in the parish temple, and all those who had come to pray and especially to receive the Holy Mysteries.