UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Father’s Day at Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL!
By Subdeacons Vasyl Pasakas and Vasyl Dovgan
On All Saints Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL was blessed to celebrate the feast day and the annual observance of the Father’s Day with the spiritual father of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA His Grace Bishop Daniel.
Welcoming the bishop at the front entrance to he parish’s temple, the president of the parish board of administration Noreen Neswick and Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha, a pastor of the parish’s family and Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL, reflected upon the blessing bestowed upon the parish to pray on this year’s Father’s Day with the spiritual father of the eparchy – His Grace Bishop Daniel. Flowers – as the expressions of love were presented to the bishop, who in turn offered his prayers for the fathers of the parish’s family, as well as for the fathers of our country that are separated from their loved ones, serving in the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Saying that real manhood “is being responsible,” Bishop Daniel called on the faithful to rediscover the “immense value” of fatherhood. In his sermon the bishop warned that the traditional meaning of fatherhood today was being “challenged and undervalued.”
“And we oftentimes wonder: Where are the fathers? To young men who are seeking to have a family of their own, I admonish you: Prepare well for marriage and family life. Be ready to embrace the responsibility of being a husband and father with utmost seriousness… Marriage and fatherhood are not games of chance. For us, these are grace and responsibility. Do not have false illusions. The mark of real manhood is being responsible.” In addition, the bishop said that fatherhood is “both a marvelous gift and a serious responsibility” that entails standing up for the rights of the unborn.
“In this society of broken homes, a godly father is truly someone to be treasured. Those of us who had a godly father should regularly thank our heavenly Father for such a wonderful gift…” The bishop said he was aware of “the hardships of many fathers” like those separated from their families “due to work or other reasons… (or) those who find no vision for their family; those who have failed their wife and children; those who have lost their family; those who are gripped by poverty; those who are sick and in pain. To these fathers I say: put your confidence in the Lord. Rise above your failures. Straighten what is wrong. Recover the sense of respect for oneself and for your family. Support and pray for your wife and children. You know well the sufferings of children who grow without their fathers,” he added.
And yet, Bishop Daniel said, there were inspiring stories of fathers “who sacrifice their own enjoyment, even personal dreams and gain for the welfare of their family.”
“We thank God for the gift of our fathers. The vocation of being a father is of the utmost importance to all of us. Fathers are meant to show their children the love of God, our Father in heaven. The role of a father in the life of a child is most essential because through our earthly fathers we can get a sense of what God our Father in heaven is really like. How sad when children do not have the benefit of a loving father to guide them in this life. So let us pray for all fathers on this special day that God will help them to be a true reflection of the love that He has for all His children. We pray also for all our fathers who have died, that God may give them rewards of their labor in the eternal joy of His heavenly kingdom.”
Following the Divine Liturgy, the pastor of the parish’s family, Rev. Fr. Vasyl Sendeha offered a short reflection on fatherhood of His Grace Bishop Daniel, who was involved in the upbringing of so many seminarians both in Ukraine and in the United Sates of America, who opened themselves to the call of the Lord and dedicated their lives to serve in the ranks of clergy of His Holy Church.
The parish family welcomed the bishop and the visitors of the community by a Father’s Day Annual Pancake Luncheon, presenting the bishop and Fr. Vasyl with a beautifully decorated Father’s Day cake.