UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Glorious Day at Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Palos Park, IL
My dear reader,
Let me introduce myself. I am a pretty young, only 34 years old church building of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish community, and proud of it! I would like to share with you the joy of a great, truly glorious day of my Parish Family. On Sunday, July 14th 2013, my parish community celebrated its 104 years of service to God and His people. This time, the celebration was especially joyful.
His Grace, Bishop Daniel, President of the Consistory and Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church paid a visit and led my faithful in the Divine Liturgy. His presence in my walls is always exceptional and spiritually uplifting. You could hear a pin drop when the time has come during the Divine Liturgy for Him to preach. Bishop Daniel’s words of wisdom were grasped by the Faithful in silent stillness. Even the restless kids have paused for a moment and attentively listened to the words of their Spiritual Father. Heartwarming words of encouragement, to live a life to the best of one’s abilities as a wise Christian, who is fool for Christ, touched the souls of many. As the Divine Liturgy continued, spiritually uplifted children of my congregation ones again adorned the Liturgy with their angelic voices singing the “Otche Nash,” the prayer of Our Father and Holy Communion Hymns. It is an overwhelming feeling of joy, to hear my little parishioners so eagerly and in such piety exclaim their prayers to Our God the Father. I can almost hear their innocent voices still resound inside my walls.
After the Divine Liturgy, the celebration of the Parish Feast Day continued outside, on my steps.
This short but very significant service became a culmination point of the Feast Day. His Grace, Bishop Daniel led my community in a mortgage burning ceremony. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. It was a moment of joy and tears for me! It was a moment of joy, because my community, my people are mortgage free! They have become sole and full owners of me - their beloved temple, church hall, rectory and the beautiful grounds. I was in tears, tears of joy and tears of remembrance. Suddenly, in front of my eyes, the history of my parish community passed by. I saw the faces of the many parishioners I have comforted in my walls as they have been coming over and over again seeking spiritual nourishment. I have remembered the days, glorious days of my parish family, who celebrating their seventieth anniversary decided that the time has come for them to leave the Chicago Burnside temple and build me on the South Suburbs of Chicago in a beautiful surrounded by forest preserves area. My parish family had a goal to start a new era in their life to have a new place for worship, work and celebrations. With their dedication and hard work they have succeeded. The Church hall was build and I was born. God has blessed me with walls that were filled with kids’ laughter and joyous singing of faithful parishioners, all for the glory of God.
I will always remember the prayerful night vigils the overcrowded Paschal celebrations, and the cheerful weddings, baptisms, and many parish feasts that I have housed. Years have passed. My kids have grown up and some have moved out of the area. I have even had to say my last goodbyes to many of my founders, those who jointly worked on my creation and development. My parish family remembered them during the service for their love to this place and its people. Today, I pray for them and thank them for all that they have done for this parish community. They have served the parish and God by giving their part, their best. They have succeeded, by leaving good memories about the life of this parish; they have succeeded by leaving behind great parish facilities, they have succeeded by teaching their children to love God and His Church. They have succeeded and past all onto my people. And I am assured that my people, my parish family will continue to do what their fathers have been doing. My parishioners will continue their legacy. They will continue giving life to this community just like their parents did. They have proved themselves on the very day of the Feast of the parish. They have come and filled my pews for the service. They have been coming over to the parish grounds to prepare for this glorious celebration by working in the kitchen, by setting the hall, by cleaning up and organizing the grounds. They, my people, have made the Feast Day a glorious celebration! The festival following the Church services was one great success! The parking lot was overfilled; the lawn was packed with cars, visitors had to park at the next door church parking lot. The hall was like a beehive for hours. What a great way to celebrate! I would like to say thank you to all of my hard working devoted parishioners for their dedication, love and support.
If you are visiting South Suburbs of Chicago, come on over and join my pleasant community in prayer, inside my legendary walls.
Remaining in the love of our Lord and God Jesus Christ,
Church Temple, dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul
Written by Fr. Vasyl Sendeha
Photos taken by Donna Nevels (D.Nevels Images) and Seminarian Volodymyr Sukanets