The Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma (USA) Held an Annual Conference for Its Clergy

Tuesday, 16 April 2019, 15:36

The clergy of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma held their annual conference on April 9-11, 2019 at the Loyola Retreat House in Clinton, Ohio (USA).

The conference, led by the eparchy’s Ordinary, Bishop Bohdan Danylo and attended by the priests and a newly ordained Deacon Sviatoslav Ditchuk (soon to be ordained a priest), ministering in the eparchy that stretches from the State of Ohio to the State of Florida, comprised a few parts. On the first day, after welcoming the participants, Bishop Bohdan updated everyone on the Vibrant Parish Program with an accent on the Word of God and Catechesis as well as talked about the upcoming Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in September of this year in Rome (Italy), the Patriarchal Sobor in August 2020 in Lviv (Ukraine), the eparchial statistics for 2018, and the Evangelization and Mission initiative undertaken by St. Josaphat Eparchy this year. In lieu of the absence of the eparchy’s Stewardship Director, Mr. John Kurey, due to personal reasons, Bishop Bohdan informed everybody about the progress in this field as well. The hierarch likewise updated the conference participants on the preparations for the upcoming enthronement of Bishop Borys Gudziak as the new Archbishop Metropolitan of Philadelphia for the Ukrainian Catholics and the initiatives connected thereto under the overarching theme “From Heart to Heart” that are to take place on June 2-9, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA under the leadership of the Head and Father of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk. St. Josaphat eparch invited everyone to attend this historic event.

After the dinner, some of the Eparchial Youth Committee (EYC) members, together with Bishop Bohdan, addressed the clergy with a lively and informative presentation on the youth ministry in the eparchy. The EYC members that put together the presentation included the head of the committee, Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, who is also the head of the eparchial Office of Children and Youth Protection, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH and St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH, Fr. Joseph Matlak, youth co-director and pastor of St. Basil the Great Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Charlotte, NC, Deacon Myron Spak from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA, Mr. Michael Levy from St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH, Mr. Joseph Levy from St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA, and Mr. Andriy Harmatiy from St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH. The presentation mainly focused on the three main youth events that the EYC organizes every year (Youth Lock-In Retreat, Eparchial Youth Days, and the Fall Youth Retreat), the upcoming World Youth Day in 2022 in Lisbon (Portugal) as well as on the need for collaboration between the EYC and the Ukrainian scouting organization in the United States. Big accent of the presentation was put on the importance of the active involvement of the eparchy’s pastors and the parents of the young people in the youth ministry as well as on the need to develop a vibrant youth ministry in the southern part of St. Josaphat Eparchy. During the presentation, Bishop Bohdan likewise encouraged the present clergy to send some young people from their parishes to the June 8 youth event in Philadelphia as part of the week-long celebrations on the occasion of Bishop Borys Gudziak’s enthronement. The first day of the conference was crowned with the celebration of the Ninth Hour in the retreat house’s chapel.

On the second day of the conference, in addition to partaking in the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts and some other liturgical celebrations, Bishop Bohdan and the clergy heard a lively and engaging presentation on Homiletics delivered by Fr. George Smiga of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, OH. In his presentation titled “Giving the Love of Christ the Last Word: Another Look at the Homily,” Fr. George, who besides being a pastor in the parish also teaches at the Cleveland diocesan seminary, shared with the participants his experience of preparing and delivering good homilies, concentrating on the Church’s scriptural, Eucharistic, conciliar, and papal traditions as well as on the art of the good story telling and a priest’s personal experiences.

The day continued with a presentation by Very Rev. Msgr. Peter Waslo, a canon lawyer from the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, on sacramental and canonical issues in the parish with the particular emphasis on the Holy Sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage.

The day was crowned with a Presbyteral Council meeting, during which the bishop and the council members discussed certain important matters happening in the eparchy and beyond that was followed by the viewing of the movie “His Beatitude,” a recently made sequel to the movie “The Case of the “Ryfy”” on the life of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj that already premiered this year in the Eparchy of St. Josaphat.

On the final day of the conference, after the celebration of the First Hour and breakfast, the participants took part in the Questions & Answers session as continuation of Msgr. Peter Waslo’s presentation on the sacramental and canonical issues in the parish.

The clergy conference ended with the presentations on various pastoral matters by Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Very Rev. Fr. Mike Polosky, eparchy’s Protosyncellus and Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ambridge, PA and Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Aliquippa, PA, Very Rev. Canon Steven Paliwoda, Eparchy’s Chancellor, Chief Financial Officer, and Pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lorain, OH, Fr. Vsevolod Shevchuk, Eparchy’s Vocation Director, Assistant to the Eparchy’s Financial Officer and pastor of Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Akron, OH and St. Nicholas Church in Canton, OH, Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, and some other priests. Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak also invited the priests and their parishioners to attend the annual all-eparchial Pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Cross in Youngstown, OH that this year will take place on September 21. At the conclusion of the conference, Bishop Bohdan wished everyone a blessed Holy Week.

Department of Information of the UGCC