LOS ANGELES – Father Ihor Koshyk, pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, parishioners and members of the Ukrainian community welcomed Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Chicago to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, August 5.
The parish hall was filled almost to capacity with young and old, as Father Koshyk greeted the bishop on behalf of the parish. Two Plast members and several small children presented the eparch with flowers.
Bishop Benedict was quite moved by the warm reception he received and, following a brief expression of gratitude, he blessed the food before everyone proceeded to the buffet table laden with gourmet dishes prepared specially for the occasion by Holy Name Society member Carlos Makara. During dessert and coffee, Bishop Benedict visited each table in order to acquaint himself with the guests and greet each one in person.
The following morning, Monday, August 6, Bishop Benedict and Father Koshyk celebrated divine liturgy for the great Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. The church choir sang the responses. The servers for the bishop were Roman Mykytyn and Louis Cogut. The Epistle readers were Petro Piaseckyj in Ukrainian and Walter Keske in English. The Gospel was read in Ukrainian by Bishop Benedict and in English by Father Koshyk.
Bishop Benedict’s homily focused on the example Christ gave us as Christians to constantly strive toward transforming ourselves to live a better spiritual and godly life.
Upon conclusion of the liturgy, all participants were anointed by oil, and the blessed fruit was distributed in keeping with the tradition for this feast day.
All then proceeded to the parish hall for the luncheon in honor of Bishop Benedict. Delicious Ukrainian-style fare was prepared by young parishioners Mr. Piaseckyj and Andrea Wynnyk. The delectable pastries were baked by members of St. Mary’s Sodality and wine and soft drinks were made available by the Holy Name Society.
The luncheon atmosphere was welcoming and friendly, and a number of parishioners took the opportunity to speak with Bishop Benedict privately, take pictures and receive his blessing.
The afternoon went by much too quickly, and soon it was time for Bishop Benedict to depart. Father Koshyk thanked the eparch for his visit; he also thanked all the volunteers for preparing the food and all attendees for participating in this most memorable occasion.