Слава Богу за Все! Glory be to God for ALL His many blessings!
His Grace Bishop Ilarion is presently making his second visit to Winnipeg as the Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan Throne of the UOCC over this “Thanksgiving Day” holiday long week-end.
Vladyka arrived later on Thursday Oct 7th. On Friday Oct 8th, His Grace spent most of the day at the Office of the Consistory, receiving visitors who had made prior arrangements to meet with him, as well as continuing to familiarize himself with the operations of the Office of the Consistory, including meeting with Ms. Jennifer Parks, the Office of the Consistory’s new finance officer / office coordinator.
Saturday October 9th was a special day in the life of the God-loving parish of All Saints, located in Transcona (formerly a separate city on the eastern edge of Winnipeg, and now part of the City of Winnipeg.) The Transcona parish, like all of our parishes across Canada, has been dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the resulting shutdowns in parish life and activity. His Grace, Vladyka Ilarion, determined that he would visit this parish and seek to encourage the faithful members in their continuing service to God’s Holy Church.
Vladyka Ilarion has blessed me to temporarily serve as the priest-in-charge of the Transcona parish, and along with the parish council we prepared for Vladyka’s visit. Notwithstanding the Covid restrictions and limitations, the parish prepared for Vladyka’s visit, and the liturgy was served by His Grace, Bishop Ilarion, serving a “regular” divine liturgy, assisted by one priest, and one deacon – the Rev. Fr. Deacon Vasyl’ Kobrii. In his moving sermon, Vladyka emphasized that the Eucharist service (the divine liturgy,) is a thanksgiving service because the very word “eucharist” (from the Greek,) means to give thanks. And we are called to and indeed blessed to live in a country that celebrates thanksgiving as a national holiday!
At the end of the divine liturgy, (see photos,) Vladyka Ilarion was able to present to the parish, and to the local Ukrainian Womens’ Association of Canada (branch at the parish,) certificates of being granting the “St. Andrew, the Apostle, Centennial Award,” on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the UOCC.
A delicious (and “socially distanced,”) brunch and fellowship followed in the adjacent parish hall – the first such gathering in more than a year and a half, which was truly a cause for rejoicing at being able to do so.
A most interesting programme followed the brunch-fellowship. Mr. Emil Kowal, the parish council chairman, spoke briefly and welcomed Bishop Ilarion to Transcona, and invited Vladyka to speak. By the Grace of God, Vladyka’s further moving, inspiring Arch-pastoral words invited a “question and answer dialogue” as amongst the bishop and gathered members of the Transcona parish. This exchange lasted for over an hour and a half with many thoughts, questions and concerns expressed and with Vladyka Ilarion responding with the utmost of care and concern, and seeking to encourage and instills hope for the future of this parish of All Saints, ever reminding us all that it is prayer and in turn an active sacramental life that sustains us. Vladyka made a special point of drawing attention once again to the call that he has issued to our whole Church – to pray the Akathist to Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ every Wednesday.
There was and is … much to be thankful for in Transcona, and may we all be blessed with a profound and deep “attitude of gratitude,” not only on this week-end, but every day and every moment of our lives, knowing always that …
з нами Бог, God (is) with us!
(Fr.) Taras Udod,
The photos that accompany this post were all taken (by a parish council member at Transcona, and retired professional photographer,) on Saturday Oct 9th.
A Blessed Thanksgiving Day to everyone, and a safe and healthy “conclusion” of this holiday week-end!