SOUTH BOUND BROOK, N.J. – Following the hierarchical divine liturgy celebrated by Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. (UOC-U.S.A.) on Sunday, February 10, nearly 100 parishioners and visitors filled Pokrova Sisterhood Social Hall, adjacent to St. Andrew Memorial Church, to enjoy the soups prepared by the Ukrainian Orthodox League (UOL) chapter of the St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary. The Souper Bowl Sunday event raised nearly $1,600 for soup kitchens in Ukraine, under the patronage of the St. Andrew Society. Other chapters of the UOL held similar events on February 3.
The seminarians had spent many hours in the kitchen chopping vegetables, frying meatballs, shredding cabbage and stirring hot bubbly boiling pots. With pride in their work, the young men happily donned aprons and got ready to serve the delicious broths. After the prayer, Metropolitan Antony, prime hierarch of the UOC-U.S.A., led the way by tasting a bit of each soup offered. Ladles clanked as bowls were filled with hot red borsch, creamy green pea soup, lusciously fragrant mushroom soup, rich “kapusniak” (cabbage soup), thick Italian soup with meatballs, and salty “solyanka.” The laughter and chatter in the room soon quieted down as everyone got busy enjoying bowl after bowl of soup.
Various informative brochures and flyers were placed on the tables to educate readers about the sad situations faced by many in Ukraine. The lonely eyes of the residents of the Mariupol Elderly Care Center portrayed on the brochures forlornly gazed up at the guests as they indulged in the ample supply of hot soup.
Archbishop Daniel presented a brief overview about the St. Andrew Society and how it benefits the most marginalized in society. He told of his personal experiences, often delivering funds, coal, food and medical supplies to the elderly who find themselves in desperate circumstances.
Archbishop Daniel’s sermon that morning was about being generous and giving, listeners realized this was a chance to make a difference. People enthusiastically reached deep into their pockets and contributed well above the suggested donation amount. They realized that while they sat in a warm room, safely surrounded by their friends and family, enjoying bowl after bowl of hot soup, that there were people in Ukraine, who were lonely, cold, scared and hungry.
Subdeacon Yurii Bobko, president of the St. Sophia Seminary’s UOL Chapter, thanked everyone for their generous donations, which totaled about $1,600. In gratitude for everyone’s generosity, the seminarians sang Christmas carols for the gathering.
The seminarians thanked everyone who contributed to the success of the St. Sophia Seminary UOL chapter’s Souper Bowl Sunday campaign, noting that the funds collected will relieve many burdens and warm not only bodies, but, hearts.
Readers can find additional information about the St. Sophia Seminary and its UOL chapter’s activities by visiting the seminary’s website, http://stsuots.org.