The Diocesan Church School Camp (DCSC) program (directed by Mrs. Kira Senedak) was blessed with a visit from His Eminence Archbishop Daniel on Wednesday July 6th and Thursday July 7th. The campers had the opportunity to spend time with Vladyka in prayer and reflection, and to enjoy the beauty of the Church’s All Saints Camp - fitting for this year’s theme “Caretakers of God’s Creation.”
Archbishop Daniel and seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary arrived on Wednesday evening. They joined the campers and staff of DCSC for dinner and Vespers served on the Eve of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Following Vespers, the Archbishop spoke with the children about the importance of both their birthday and their name’s day. He helped the campers make the connection between our name’s day and the importance of Zacharias naming his son John. He asked the children to work with DCSC Spiritual Advisor Fr. Ivan Tchopko and the directors to learn more about the meaning of their own names.
On Thursday morning, His Eminence joined DCSC for Divine Liturgy celebrating the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. With the help of the seminarians who were visiting with Vladyka, the campers lifted their voices in prayer, held candles during the Gospel, added names to our petitions and more. Being able to worship in the beautiful St. Thomas chapel provides spiritual nourishment for the youth of our diocese, where they can learn about their faith by being directly involved in the services. During his remarks, Archbishop Daniel taught the campers about the importance of the day - that St. John the Baptist is the only other person whose Nativity we commemorate besides Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother Mary.
At the conclusion of the service, Vladyka Daniel was greeted with flowers, bread, and salt. He explained this special tradition to the campers and broke the bread to share a piece with each of them. All agreed that cook Carol did an excellent job!
We were also blessed to have clergy from the area join us for the morning as well, including Fr. Yurii Bobko (Sts Peter and Paul UOC parish in Lyndora, PA), Fr. Mykola Zomchak (Sts. Peter and Paul UOC parish in Youngstowm, OH) and Fr. Ihor Prostak (St. Jon the Baptist UOC parish in Dixonville, PA and Holy Ascension UOC parish in Nanty Glo, PA) and their families. All three are former counselors and staff of DCSC and it was wonderful to have their prayerful support of our camping ministry.
Following the service, His Eminence visited with campers during brunch (prepared by the kitchen staff under the leadership of Carol Novosel) answering their questions about the faith, listening to their stories, and sharing some of his own. The campers bid farewell from the Riverfront Prayer Trail as they completed their work on this year's service project - a Kindness Garden for all who visit. We are grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Archbishop Daniel and look forward to many more visits!
Our UOC Camping Ministry provides programming for all ages each year. To learn more about the different programs, staff opportunities, and our All Saints Camp facility, visit uocyouth.org and look for the Camping Ministry Section.