TOMS RIVER, N.J. – A large and enthusiastic congregation of parishioners and guests of St. Stephen Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toms River, N.J., welcomed Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak, who leads the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States.
Archbishop Borys served the pontifical divine liturgy, blessed the new bell tower and attended the Prosfora celebration in the parish Community Center on Sunday, January 19.
During his homily, Metropolitan Borys came down into the crowded assembly, directly communicated with the people, and asked leading questions about their faith, family and concerns. He encouraged them to help build their local parish and to promote the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Following the liturgy, Metropolitan Borys was welcomed to the Prosfora celebration in the parish Community Center with songs by the parish Youth Group and the St. Stephen Choir, vocal entertainment by the Ukrainian duo Philadelphia and a traditional Prosfora meal.
The visit by Metropolitan Borys to St. Stephen Church was a huge success. His presence at the divine liturgy and Prosfora was very well received by the congregation. The metropolitan’s message delivered at the Prosfora was sincere, heartfelt and inspirational. People were overheard saying that the new metropolitan is “the real deal,” spiritual, sincere and humble, with a clear vision for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the U.S.A.
St. Stephen is the first Ukrainian Catholic Church to be built in New Jersey’s Ocean County. The church is located at 1344 White Oak Bottom Road, Toms River, NJ 08755; rectory phone, 732-505-6053; website, www.ststephenchurch.us. The pastor is the Rev. Volodymyr Popyk. Divine liturgy is celebrated on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m. (English) and 10:30 a.m. (Ukrainian).