WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The 78th annual convention of the League of Ukrainian Catholics (LUC), held under the slogan “Diakonia – Serving One’s Neighbor, Serving Christ,” was hosted at the Genetti Best Western Hotel on October 6-8. The convention was hosted by the North Anthracite Council of the LUC and was attended by clergy, laypersons and monastics.
Also joining the convention delegates were Bishop John Bura, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, who is based in Washington, and Bishop Andriy Rabiy, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia.
The convention reflected the pastoral program “vibrant parish,” approved by the 2011 Synod of Bishops.
Patriarch Sviatoslav in his letter of greeting, wrote: “Allow me to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of our Church, sincere words of gratitude to the League of Ukrainian Catholics for decades of faithful lay service to the Ukrainian Catholic community in all four of our eparchies in the U.S.A. Thank you for fostering the spirit of community and fellowship, for supporting the clergy and the hierarchy in their work, and for promoting the spirituality of our Church and education of our Byzantine tradition in North America.”
During the weekend, invited guest speakers – Bishop John, the Revs. Walter Pasicznyk, Daniel Troyan, Edward Young, Marijan Procyk (national spiritual director) and Paul Wolensky (convention spiritual director) – expounded on the role of “diakonia” and offered varied viewpoints, showing that there are many paths by which Catholics can serve their neighbors, out of the sincerity of their heart, rather than obligation.
Archpriest Troyan coordinated “An Evening in Lviv” for the delegates that included a musical tour of Ukrainian songs, sung in a country-style Slavonic, backed up by the “Supremes,” Sister-Servant style. Each table participated in the sing-a-long, with each table trying to out perform the previous ones. The big hit of the evening was the rendition of “Stary Danylo Mav Farmu” (Old MacDonald Had a Farm) with lyrics dutifully translated, complete with sound effects, by Paul and Helen Ewasko.
One of the most moving moments of the convention was the visit to St. George Orthodox Church in Taylor, Pa., where faithful witnessed the Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Blessed Mother, also known as “Kardiotissa” – the Tender Heart. Following an Akathist led by the Rev. Mark Leisure, pastor of St. George Parish, the guests witnessed the icon and the flowing of myrrh. Each visitor received a blessing and anointing by the Rev. Leisure as well as a holy card of the Kardiotissa, with a fragment of cotton, soaked with myrrh.
Sunday morning divine liturgy was celebrated by Bishop John at Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Plymouth, Pa. He was joined by the Revs. Pasicznyk, Procyk and Young, and Deacon Michael Waak. The responses were sung by the combined choirs from the churches of Ss. Peter and Paul and Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in Nanticoke, Pa., assisted by members of the League of Ukrainian Catholics.
A traditional brunch was served following the liturgy, at which the traveling Icon of Christ the Teacher and the league’s welcome banner were presented to members of the Niagara Frontier Council, the hosts of the 79th annual convention for 2018.
The League of Ukrainian Catholics was founded in 1933 under the motto “For God and Country.”
For more information, readers may visit the organization’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/lucofamerica/.