At a recent Knights of Columbus awards ceremony, held while on a pilgrimage to the Holy sight of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson presented Bill Lewchuk with his Supreme Knights Club Ring. Bill was introduced as one of the top advisors in the Knights of Columbus placing nearly $39 million dollars of new coverage on members and their families in 2016. This was the second largest volume in the Order worldwide. This is the 18th consecutive year that Bill has received the Supreme Knights Club award and it was noted that he is a Life Time Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table. The MDRT is an international organization for people in the financial industry not specifically connected to the K of C.
The Knights of Columbus was started by the Venerable Fr. Michael McGiveny in 1882 and currently has a membership of nearly 2 million worldwide. The K of C manages more than one hundred billion in assets for the members. There are 18,500 members in Alberta and 6,500 members in Calgary.
Bill and Theresa (who leads St. Stephen’s Pass It On clothing drive) have been active parishioners at St. Stephen’s for 25 years. They have been married for 42 years and have two daughters and two grandsons. Bill has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 26 years. He has served on various positions within the K of C 7659 St. Nicholas Byzantine council which includes the parishes of St. Stephens, Assumption of the Blessed Virginia Mary, and now St. Basil's. These positions include Deputy Grand Knight, Grand Knight, Trustee and Membership Director. He has been a member of the 4th Degree Honour Guard for 23 years.
After 5 years as a volunteer, Bill began his career as a financial advisor with the Knights of Columbus. This position entails two main areas of responsibility, Fraternal and Business. The Fraternal includes membership growth, new council development and programs. The Business side is offered to all members and their families, and includes products such as Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Long Term Care programs, RRSP's, TFSA 's etc. Bill has responsibility for 9 parish based councils, including three in the NWT and provides financial services to approximately 1,100 members and their families.
On behalf of St. Stephen’s we send you our warmest congratulations! Mnohaya Lita!
Laurie Kindrachuk, editor
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 403-614-5581
Father Andrij, Congratulations and Blessings on the day of your Ordination to the Priesthood. May Christ, Our Lord, bless you abundantly in your priestly ministry. Mnohaya lita !
This last Sunday of May I thought it was fitting to share a bit of history about our Icon, Our Lady of Pochaiv. This information comes from our St. Stephen’s History book, although I have paraphrased it to fit this article.
Pochaiv is a holy site located in the Carpathian Mountains where many miracles have occurred through the intercession of the Mother of God. It is the “Lourdes” of Ukraine.
The first miracle at this site took place in 1193. A monk was praying when a pillar of fire appeared to him. When the flame died down, the Blessed Mother of God appeared. She left an imprint of her foot upon the rock and a miraculous spring of water began to flow from the place of the apparition. That water flows to this day. The miracle was taken as a sign that Mount Pochaiv was to be dedicated as a place for monastic life and a monastery was built.
The next miracles to take place were associated with an icon of the Virgin Mary, portrayed as the” Mother of Tender Mercy”. Near the end of the 16th century, a wealthy woman, Lady Hoyska, received the icon from a Greek bishop for her hospitality and generosity. Every so often when she prayed before the icon she noticed an unexplainable glow. Feeling that it might be miraculous she told her nephew, blind from birth, to pray before the icon asking for his sight. His prayers were answered and realizing its significance, Lady Hoyska donated the icon and much of the land surrounding Mount Pochaiv to the monastery. The icon became known as Our Lady of Pochaiv. It is interesting to note that the original icon had a border which included the images of several saints. One of the saints was St. Stephen the Protomartyr.
In 1979, The Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada (UCWLC) officially chose Our Lady of Pochaiv to be the patroness of their organization. St. Stephen’s religious art committee was also inspired by the story of Our Lady of Pochaiv. The committee felt that her icon would be most suitable for creating an intimate devotional space for private prayer and the lighting of vigil candles. In 2008, a creative interpretation of the original Pochaiv icon was commissioned. It was blessed and installed in 2009.
(Donated by Clayton and Linda Woitas Family, “In honour of our parents and grandparents – Bill & Jean Sheremata and Edward & Marie Woitas”.
Laurie Kindrachuk, editor
contact me: email@example.com Cell 403-614-5581
What is a Marian consecration? Why consecrate Canada to Our Lady? In what way are we already consecrated to God
Through the gift of Baptism, we are reborn, both spiritually and sacramentally, and become children of God. The other Sacraments of Christian Initiation, Confirmation and the Eucharist, strengthen and nourish our life of faith, leading us into an even deeper relationship with Christ through his grace. Through each of these Sacraments, we experience the joy of living as sons and daughters dedicated to the Lord, sharing in his divine life, joining ourselves to his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and receiving the free and empowering help that God gives us to respond to his call to become disciples, temples of the Holy Spirit, and members of his Church. As baptized persons, young and old, we are called to follow Christ through a life of holiness and service, to witness and evangelize, spreading the Kingdom of God in our midst. When we strive to follow Christ, despite our personal and communal weaknesses and failings, we embody more fully our vocation as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Peter 2:9). Informed and motivated thus by our God-given identity, as Christians we look daily to the teachings of Christ and his Church to shape how we think, decide, and act. It is not easy to respond to life’s challenges and trials in a manner which is coherent and deeply faithful to Christ. With the unfailing help of the Holy Spirit, however, we can turn to the Father for divine assistance, not only at the crossroads of our life, but at every moment. The first and foremost way of understanding what consecration means comes from the viewpoint of God himself, for it is he who consecrates us before all else. Through Baptism, God makes us his adoptive children and confers on us his very own holiness of life and love. With God’s sanctifying and healing grace, we are made partakers of his Trinitarian life, enabling us to believe in him, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues; we live and act under the promptings and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit; we grow in goodness through the moral virtues. A second, complementary way of understanding consecration is from the viewpoint of our human and Christian experience. Living in holiness and truth, we share in God’s life and love. To consecrate ourselves to him personally, then, is to make a faith-filled decision in which our response to God’s love for us is uniquely our own. A personal act of consecration is a means of further appropriating our Christian calling and continuing to abide in God’s grace. It is the renewal of our first consecration at Baptism in the particular form of a personal pledge, made willingly in faith, to live in more profound communion with Our Lord, committing ourselves to him and his Kingdom with greater fervour. It is an entrustment of our entire being to God, including all that we are and do, that we may belong to him more fully and to open ourselves even more to his grace in our lives. Christ Jesus is the best and prime example of what it means to consecrate oneself to God and to his will.
In 1998 a few St. Stephen’s parishioners got together to play men’s recreational hockey. Headed by Ron Josephs the numbers rose to as many as 20 players within a few short years. In 2003 Ron Bobyn took over and numbers increased to over 40 players ranging in age from 15 to 62. Ron Bobyn became the self-proclaimed “Commish” in 2009 when he re-branded the team to become the Ukrainian Hockey League… now known as “The UHL”.
In 2017 the UHL expanded to 4 teams lead by the Commish and four volunteer team captains. Things have sped up enough to make the “old guys” try to keep up to their younger teammates (their own kids!). Today the UHL has over 50 players (male and female) playing Sunday nights in April, May and June. Many are families with multiple players including 5 Demchuk’s, 5 Ewanchyna’s, 4 Sakundiak’s, 4 Patrician’s and 4 Josephs to name a few!
These players are all playing for fun. The thrill of playing with their son, daughter or dad has become the driving force behind the UHL. One year, three generations of Demchuk’s were on the ice at the same time. Players range in skill from novice to some playing in the WHL and even one for Women’s Team Canada.
The UHL has a “Cossack Kup” that was donated by the church J many years ago (various pots and pans spot-welded together) to form its own trophy equivalent to the Stanley Cup.
Every season, the players also “Pay Per Goal” to donate to charities and or people in need. The UHL is proud to say they have raised over $11,000 to date from its players and have donated it to charity, select parishioners in need of medical assistance, and to the Hike for Life Foundation.
Thank you to Ron (Bobyn) for submitting this article & photos! Who knew that St. Stephen’s has its own NHL … UHL!
Laurie Kindrachuk, editor
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org cell 403-614-5581
♫The bus arrives… we’re ready to go! It’s a chilly day… with a bit of snow.♫
The occasion was the Knights of Columbus, Alberta and N.W.T. Annual State Convention, being held in Edmonton, the last weekend of April. The K of C Convention always begins with a Mass on the evening before the actual meetings and this year Bishop David was invited to celebrate the Ukrainian Rite Liturgy, and all in the English language.
St. Stephen’s choir was invited to sing the responses, the invitation was accepted, and 35 singers answered the call. Interestingly, three of the pastors assisting Bishop David had all served in our St. Stephen’s Parish at one time.
The bus trip was a very quick one, leaving Calgary just after lunch on April 28th and back in Calgary just before midnight that same day and left many of the choir passengers wondering aloud …”What just happened?”
As we reflect, we smile as we say that our music ministry has sung the world over … be it The Middle East, Eastern Europe, the South Pacific and the provinces of B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and of course Alberta. The experiences and memories linger always….each unique, each special. This trip to Edmonton was no different. As we boarded the bus in Calgary, we were introduced to our bus driver…Myron…a Ukrainian man who prays at the Assumption BVM church. What are the chances? We immediately feel in very good hands and at peace. (And we made a good friend.)
Arriving at the Edmonton Westin, the venue for this Convention, we were met in the foyer and greeted by none other than Fr. Rendy, Fr. Slawko, Fr. Peter and Bishop David. What a surprise! We were overwhelmed by their welcome and their love.
The Westin Ballroom was retrofitted with chairs and a make-shift altar that really did transform the space into a church. We took our places as liturgy was about to begin. The room was filled with Knights and guests, mostly non-Ukrainian. A brief explanation was made about the Ukrainian Rite Liturgy and the congregation was invited to sing the responses with the choir as best as they could…and they did… and now it was our turn to be overwhelmed. The worshippers sang with their hearts and it was beautiful. It mattered not the language or the rite, it was the celebration of the Eucharist that was the focus. In his very brief homily, Bishop sincerely and graciously acknowledged the invite by the K of C. His significant message to everyone attending was simply stated … ”Like the myrrh-bearing women… go and spread the good news… do not be afraid!”
And soon our formal involvement had ended. It was an amazing festive atmosphere as we stopped to take pictures with priests, Sister Laura and friends… and even with Pope Francis (he looked so real).
We left the venue walking on air and our return bus trip was an opportunity to bond further and to share, to sing and to celebrate. When we disembarked in Calgary, our minds buzzed with many cherished memories and our hearts were filled with humble gratitude.
One could ask, why would the choir accept this invitation? The answer would be very simple. We were inspired to travel to Edmonton to sing the liturgy with Bishop David in an effort “to spread the good news!” And we did!
We are so grateful to Bill Lewchuk, a good friend and a local K of C member, for orchestrating all the details of this trip and to all the Knights for their never-ending support and for their service to God and community. We are grateful to our choir director who always encourages us to do, and to be. And we are grateful to God for a wonderful opportunity.
Thank you Pat Ochitwa for sharing your musings of this exciting trip!
Stan K thanks for the photos!
Here are things that are posted for our parish from our parish. Find out about the most current events, the newest news, the latest church rumours (not gossip, just positive rumours) and more.
Weekend Divine Liturgy Times