Bishop Daniel Visits Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Palos Park, IL as the Parish Sponsors UOL Souper Bowl Sunday
Let me introduce myself. I am the Church Temple that serves my Parish Family of Sts. Peter and Paul for 37 years. I am a third generation of Church temples of a 106 years old parish community. I am proud to serve one of the oldest Ukrainian Orthodox Communities in the USA. I’m located on the beautiful grounds in Palos Park, IL. In my 36 years of service I have witnessed many joyous events in the life of my parish community. I have hosted inside my walls hundreds upon hundreds of the Holy Mysteries of Marriage and Baptism and thousands upon thousands of Sacraments of Repentance and Holy Eucharist as well as Sacraments of the Holy Ordinations. I’ve been truly blessed with a lot of great and joyous occasions.
Today, on Sunday February 7, 2016 I was honored to witness not one, but a few of those greatly unique occasions. My parish community has gathered together to celebrate Super Ball Sunday with a different meaning. My parish family has come together to celebrate Soup-er Bowl Sunday to raise funds for Soup Kitchen of St. Andrew Society in Kiev, Ukraine. The day has started with the Divine Liturgy led by His Grace Bishop Daniel, president of the Consistory and Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The cold, windy and gloomy day of winter in February all of a sudden turned into a day filled with Triumphant light of Christ that overcomes darkness and fills each heart with love and tranquility. As my pews were filling up with people and kids chatter was bouncing of the walls my spirits were lifted up. I was anxiously waiting for something extraordinary. Expecting the unexpected.
His Grace was greeted at the church by Mrs. Noreen Neswick, president of the parish council and Mrs. Josephine Hobert, president of the Sisterhood of St. Anne. Before the Liturgy has started, one of my servers at the altar, John Supilowski was found worthy to be elevated to the order of Reader in the Holy Orthodox Church by His Grace Bishop Daniel. The ordination took place, right under my main dome. You should have seen the thrilling moment of laying on of hands and prayer exclaimed by the Bishop. The tears of joy in the eyes of the proud parents, the curiosity of the kids, the melodic singing of the choir under the leadership of Subdeacon George Cepynsky and the excited looks of the worshipers have turned into powerful unstoppable source of spiritually enriched energy. The Christ Himself was there! The Christ was inside my walls as my people have gathered in His name! The newly elevated reader John has been given the Epistle to read. The entire community stood in silence, even the restless kids quieted down as his frail voice broke the silence delivering to us the teaching words of St. Paul. It is a real joy to have a newly tonsured reader in the midst of my parish family.
The Divine Liturgy began. The smell of the burning candles, smoke of the incense has filled the air as a Common Prayer of my worshipers was sent up to heaven. At the time of the small entrance with the Gospel, His Grace Bishop Daniel has elevated Fr. Vasyl Sendeha, pastor of my community, to the level of Protopriest. The room ones again was filled with overwhelming emotions and passionate excitement. The parish family has honored Fr. Vasyl with the gift of the golden pectoral cross.
His Grace Bishop Daniel read the Holy Gospel being surrounded by children holding candles. Some of the kids, zealously tried to get as close to the Bishop as possible, so they can be right there, right under the Gospel Book. The scene was incredible. The sermon, delivered by His Grace Daniel has caught people’s attention. It has made them question their persistence in faith. It has made them think, “Am I faithful enough to Christ and his teachings? “Is my prayer sincere?” “Do I try hard enough to confess my faith not only by lips, but mainly by my deeds?” “Do I really proclaim my faith into the world?” His Grace, Bishop Daniel, exhorted my community to be more vocal in expressing their faith in this morally degradation society; to be that crying voice in the desert that calls people to God and His saving Grace.
The Miracle of Eucharistic has taken place on my altar surrounded by piously praying clergy accompanied by altar servers and worshipers in the nave. The Body and Blood of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ were distributed by Fr. Vasyl & Fr. Howard as dozens upon dozens of children and adults approached to receive the Holy of Holies. The Divine Liturgy has been concluded with the greetings and exclamations of “Many years” to the newly elevated Reader John and Protopriest Vasyl.
The celebration of the special day has continued in the Church Hall as my faithful people have gathered to feast upon 20 different soups. This year’s Soup-er Bowl Sunday was an amazing success, as many volunteers have stepped in to make it happen. Twenty talented chefs of my parish made delicious soups; generous donors have donated all kinds of supplies from napkins, bowls and utensils to monetary donations and donations of sweets for the dessert table. To share a bowl of hot soup on the cold day, felt extra special, knowing that you are making a difference in the life of the poor and afflicted people. My parish family by working for a common cause and socializing by having a great time of having soup on Sunday afternoon has raised $2,000.00 for Soup kitchen of St. Andrew Society. This is the deed of the live community. This is the faith at work. This is one of many great days of my parish family! This is the way to celebrate Soup-er Bowl Sunday! How did yours go?
Proud temple of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish Family
Super Bowl Sunday in Palos Park, IL - 02/07/16
Photos by Donna Hammond Saunders Nevels