A Journey of Faith
The official blog of SS Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church (Ambridge & Aliquippa parishes)
Welcome to our blog!
What is a blog, you may ask? It is a place on your website where members of the site post commentary about issues and topics that promote the mission of the group, in our case, the Church. These can be long posts or they can be very brief posts.
We will be using this forum in hope of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. There will be different bloggers, each bringing a different perspective.
We hope our words will help you to improve your understanding of what God is asking of us. We also hope that these words will better enable you to reflect on your journey to achieve everlasting life in Heaven, and spur you to actions which will have a positive impact on others in the world.
We welcome suggestions and topics you would like to see addressed. Please check back frequently for new discussions. And God bless this effort.
|Posted by [email protected] on May 31, 2015 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
I am sitting here just wondering WHY? After all these years, why did somebody recently ask me if we Ukrainian Greek-Catholics at 6th Street and Melrose Avenue in Ambridge are really Catholic? We’ve been in this country for more than a hundred years and people still question us. WHY?
YES, WE ARE Catholic and yes, we are catholic. We are both big “C” and little “c” catholics. As big “C”, we are under the Pope of Rome. In fact, we pray for him at least four times during our Divine Liturgy (the Mass). And, as the little “c”, since the word catholic means universal, our churches and parishes are open to all people, not just Ukrainians.
On the other hand, YES, WE ARE NOT Othodox, but YES, we are orthodox. This is where the big difference comes into play. The Orthodox broke away from the Catholic Church of Rome in the schism of 1054 A.D. The Ukrainian Catholic Church never official broke away although down through the years the Russian Orthodox Church has, even at times, tried to forcefully incorporate us into their church. In fact, the Ukrainian Catholic Church went underground from 1945 to 1989-90 under Stalin’s oppressive reign of communism rather than be completely annihilated. When the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed in 1595-96, the Ukrainian Catholic Church signed it so that there would be no doubt where it stood as a Catholic Church in communion with the Pope of Rome.
However, we are orthodox with the little “o”. The word orthodox means “true believers”. Ukrainian Catholics are true believers of the Triune God as noted in the original Nicene-Constantinople Creed as it is engraved on the wall in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. However, there can be a little misunderstanding when people hear this word, with the little “o”, mentioned a few times during the Divine Liturgy when referring to us as being “true believers”. Thus, we are not big “O”, but we are faithfully little “o”.
Therefore, to set things straight, we are true believing Catholics having no official ties with the Orthodox Church. However, many of our prayers and liturgical rituals are similar to the Orthodox since we originated as part of the Eastern Catholic Church rather than in the West.
Dr. Vera Krokonko
|Posted by [email protected] on December 23, 2014 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
Sitting in my office the day before Christmas Eve finding myself extremely stressed and overwhelmed. My hunch is that many of you feel the same way. I can't imagine anything further from what our Lord would want us to be experiencing as we're preparing for the great celebration of His Nativity. This time of the year should be stress and anxiety free because of the great joy we are experiencing, because of God's invasion into our world, and yet, inevitably, we put pressure, unnecessarily so, upon ourselves instead of allowing the joy of the season to consume us. I'm hoping and praying that all of us at SS. Peter & Paul in Ambridge and Aliquippa are able to, instead of feeling stress and anxiousness, to feel joy and peace.
|Posted by [email protected] on December 21, 2014 at 9:00 PM||comments (0)|
Recently we buried a young parishioner. Devin was only 20 years old. He and his family were very involved at the Parish. I taught Devin and his siblings in 5th and 6th grade CCD. All three were Alter Servers, members of the youth group, and attended many activities.
Nearly 200 people packed our small Church, a tribute to his kind heart and generous personality. The pews dripped with grief trying to comprehend the loss of a good young man. As I watch, I couldn’t help but wonder if people would lean on or even remember one of the most basic but difficult teachings of our Faith.
Devin is not dead.
Yes his body has expired. We can’t interact with him the way we used to. But Devin is not dead. The Lord, our God saw to that through his crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, Devin can now become an important element of our everyday faith. He watches over, tries to inspire, and can be that little voice whispering advice into your ear. These angels can be turned to for guidance and intercession. For example:
Are your drifting away from your spouse or family and are not sure what to do? Ask Devin.
Feeling lonely and lost? Ask Devin.
Not sure if you found that one person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with? Ask Devin.
Angry, bitter, depressed? Ask Devin.
Do you want to reconcile with someone from your past? Ask Devin.
Angels play an important role in the work of God and we can better handle this difficult world if we employ them. Recently, Pope Francis addressed the role of guardian angels during one of his homilies. He reminded everyone to engage them, say hi to them in the morning and good night to them in the evening.
The most challenging part of engaging our angels is discerning the response. How do we know what the answer is? Prayer, reflection, getting away to a quiet spot is just a few things you can try. The important this is to try. You may find the experience can move you closer to God.
|Posted by [email protected] on December 21, 2014 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
If you follow the Pontiff, you will quickly realize that he has many passions. One of them is caring for the ‘poorest of the poor’. Who is he referring too? In every country, city, and town, you have people living below the poverty level. Many are homeless, with little food, and medicine.
You can divide these people into two groups. The first group of impoverished live in places surrounded by people who aren’t in poverty. Individuals, communities, and governments all are capable of helping them directly. The second group of impoverished live among and are surrounded by countless others who are also impoverished. Their Governments and communities can do little or choose to do little to help them. It is this group who we refer to as ‘the poorest of the poor’. Calcutta, Haiti, and Liberia are just a few examples.
For those of us who have stability, the Lord calls on us to help these souls. We will address this issue in our blog throughout the year. We all need to raise our awareness, attention, and support. It starts with reflection and prayer. Listen carefully to the Epistle and Gospel readings, the homilies, the messages of Pope Francis. Such action can produce tremendous results.
Glory be to Jesus Christ
|Posted by [email protected] on November 25, 2014 at 10:35 PM||comments (0)|
When thinking about what to post for the first time on our parish’s website blog, I was thinking about a homily that I gave several weeks ago. As usual, you’re not always sure whether the words that the Lord gives you on a particular Sunday morning hit home to the faithful as much as you would hope they would. But shortly after this particular Sunday, I was approached by a parishioner saying that the past Sunday’s homily really hit home for them. They had to remind me of my message but when they did it all came back to me. He and I thought it would be good words to share on our new blog. The title of my homily that morning was, “why I stay Ukrainian Catholic”. Like many in the pew, I was born into this church and grew up here. But those certainly are not the reasons why I stayed. In college especially, I attended Roman Rite churches. I’ve been exposed to most other Christian and Non-Christian faiths. While these have always been very positive experiences for me, as I grew in my spirituality, it has become more and more obvious to me that I stay because this is where I belong. Spending quiet time in one of our churches and to lose yourself in prayer with the icons and the stained glass windows depicting holy saints and martyrs who have gone before us attract me to their way of life and therefore, to a Christian way of life. More and more I realize that it is within this church and this rite that I have found my spiritual voice. I am nourished constantly through the mysteries, through the beautiful services, through the Liturgical year of the church. This, in short, is why I have “blossomed” where I was planted. I wonder if my experience is similar to those of other Christians. In that, I did not always appreciate my father’s faith when I was young but I have grown not just to appreciate it but to value it and to a spiritual sense, need it. I would welcome other opinions or thoughts on this matter.