Because it marks the boundary of Great Lent and its joyful asceticism, the weekend of Cheesefare is always about transition; this year it also marks a transition for Michael Abrahamson as he was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel at the parish of the Holy Archangel Michael in Woonsocket, RI. It was a beautiful day for it, with spring-like temperatures resonating with the natural warmth of old friends and family gathering after a long winter of COVID and the graceful and boundless energy of His Eminence. All this contrasted with the dire and heartbreaking news flowing from our ancestral homeland, juxtaposing the temporary fallen world which groans in agony with the eternal kingdom that sings alleluia. The deeper magic of sacramental love reminded all the participants who they are and gave them hope in a time when the world is offering little more than suffering, violence, and despair. The pattern of the Divine Liturgy, with all of us gathered around our bishop, put us at the center of everything and allowed us to become part of the healing of Ukraine and an end to all evil forever.
It was in this context of transformational grace that Dn. Michael Abrahamson and his wife Pani Faith, along with their children, Brendan, Betsy, Andrew, Justin, and Owen, offered their lives as living sacrifices in and with our Lord Jesus Christ and that Dn. Michael made the transition from deacon, a role he was ordained to in 2015, to priest.
After the greeting of the bishop by the children of the parish, the president of the parish, Irene Shewchuk, and the priest of the parish, Fr. Borislav Kroner, His Eminence encouraged all of us to leave aside the cares of the world for the time being and enter fully into the celebration of life and the Gospel of salvation. The beauty of the architecture and iconography and the music offered by the choir, led by Donna Eichorn, gave even more power to Archbishop Daniel’s desire, as everyone’s heart was opened and they joined the Kyivan emissaries to Constantinople of bygone days in not knowing whether they were in heaven or on earth. This was especially true during the singing of the “Our Father” to an arrangement that Dn. Michael himself had composed as a prayer and offering towards God’s desire that we forsake our divisions (through forgiveness) and become one as He Himself is One. The offering of His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel further blurred the division between heaven and earth, turning everyone’s hearts to the glory of God by reminding them of the power of Liturgy and Love to reconcile and transform us.
His Eminence was assisted in the altar by many clergy; the priests Fr. Borislav, Fr. Onisie Morar (St. John the Baptist Romanian OCA in Woonsocket, RI), Fr. Roman Tarnavsky (St. Andrew UOC-USA in Boston, MA), Fr. Andrew George (Holy Annunciation GOArch in Cranston, RI), Fr. Vladimir Aleandro (retired, OCA), Fr. John Bacon (retired, OCA), Fr. Andrii Pokotylo (St. Mary UOC-USA in New Britain, CT), Fr. Mark Sherman (retired, OCA), Fr. Stephen Masliuk (St. Mary UOC-USA in Bridgeport, CT), Fr. Anthony Perkins (Holy Resurrection UOC-USA in Waynesville, NC), Fr. Silouan Rolando (Holy Trinity UOC-USA in Goshen, IN), son of the parish Fr. John Charest (Sts. Peter and Paul in Carnegie, PA), and Fr. Michael Abrahamson (St. Michael UOC-USA in Woonsocket, RI), the deacons Archdeacon Vasyl (St. Michael UOC-USA, Woonsocket, RI), Protodeacon Anthony Szwez (St. Mary UOC-USA, New Britain, CT), Deacon Paul Cherkas (St. Michael UOC-USA, Woonsocket, RI), and Deacon Timothy Kelleher (Holy Trinity UOC-USA in Seattle, WA), and the Subdeacons Joshua Bourgery (St. Michael UOC-USA in Woonsocket, RI), Pavlo Vysotsky (St. Sophia Seminary, UOC-USA), and Yaroslav Bilohan (St. Sophia Seminary, UOC-USA). The Abrahamson children also assisted, holding each of the vestments as they were being presented to their father as confirmation of his ordination to the priesthood.
After the Divine Liturgy and the blessing of the flags of the United States of America and Ukraine, Fr. Michael thanked everyone for their support and encouraged us to see the good in everyone so that the divisions between us may be healed and that Christ might be manifested through us to all those who need Him.
May God bless Fr. Michael and Pani Faith Abrahamson as they begin their new ministry to Christ’s holy Church! AXIOS AND MANY BLESSED YEARS!!!