2017 UOL Lenten Retreat in Western PA and Ohio
By Marianne S. Carmack
On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Ukrainian Orthodox League of the USA held the Ohio/Western Pennsylvania Annual Lenten Retreat at Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center in Villa Maria, PA. His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel, President of the Consistory, presided over a day of prayer, worship, learning, and fellowship for the faithful of all ages. The day began with Morning prayers, continued with inspiring talks, discussion and activities, great food, and a wonderful exchange of love filled with the joy of praying and learning with our clergy and our brothers and sisters in Christ from many different parishes.
The speakers included, His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel, Ph.D., Fr. John Harvey, Fr. Kenneth Barchofsky, Ph.D. (ACROD) and Fr. Gregory Becker. They shared their insights and explanations of how the asceticism of Great Lent, the Sundays of Pascha, culminating in the Great Feast of Pentecost, should inform and shape our daily lives and Christian ministry throughout the church year. And, that our spiritual striving doesn’t stop the day after Pascha. Vladyko Daniel challenged our hearts and minds with the questions: Do we have the courage to be a Christian? Do we understand that that may mean sacrificing our lives and are we willing to do that? Do we fully appreciate the notion that we must make a daily commitment to the Lord and His Service?
In keeping with a vital Lenten theme - almsgiving – Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay graciously shared information about the work of St. Andrew’s Orthodox Society, an integral ministry of the Church. The Society’s philanthropic mission focuses on providing humanitarian assistance to the needy and supporting church-related projects in Ukraine. Since its founding, the Society has raised over 1.3 million dollars towards the support of religious, education and humanitarian projects.
In addition to our speakers, we welcomed Fr. Andrew Gall, Fr. Paisius McGrath, Fr. Daniel Rohan, Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay, John Holowko, President of the UOL, Seminarians Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak, Subdeacon Mykhaylo Bokalo, Hryhorii Matviiv and Tadei Surak; Alexandra Kocelko, Esq., Member of the Metropolitan Council and all those, undaunted by the gloomy winter weather, who came and participated, giving freely of themselves to each other during the day - so inspiring and exhilarating.