We are a parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA - Rightful member of Assembly of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. If you have not been to church for some time or if you are a newcomer to Orthodoxy, please feel welcome to come pray with us. Our Community and Church doors are open for you and your family. Our Divine Liturgy Services are at 9:30am on Sunday and at 9:00am Weekdays. We have Sunday School and a social hour with coffee and snacks in our Church hall after services.
The family that prays together, stays together.
The family that stays together is a strong family.
The parish family of Sts. Peter and Paul in Palos Park has come together to pray and celebrate a special occasion. There was a lot to celebrate. God has granted this small community on the south side Chicago Land to serve Him and His people for 110 years.
Another chapter. Another decade!
The parish has started a second decade of life in a second century of its ministry.
Not many parish communities have been blessed to live over a century.
The celebrations started with Saturday eveningvespers. As the sun was setting down, brushing its still summery warm rays off of the cross on the church dome as well as the crowns of pine trees near by, the parishioners and guests one after another were coming up the steps of the forty-year old church temple of the hundred and ten year old parish community. Chicago Deanery clergy along with His Eminence Archbishop Daniel led the Great Vespers. The flickering flame of beeswax candles, the sweet smell of incense, chanting of vesperal hymns was the spiritually uplifting aura of the evening service. The culmination of the vesperswas the Holy Sacrament of Chismation administered by Archbishop Daniel to Jeanne Patricia Maack, who has been worshiping with us for over three years. Through Holy Sacrament of Christmation she was received into the Holy Orthodox Church. As His Eminence Archbishop Daniel addressed the congregation complete stillness took over the temple as everyone with anticipation was expecting something extraordinary. It did happened. His Eminence surprised everyone as He presented to the attendees of the vesperal service a chance to venerate the very relics of Sts. Peter and Paul, he brought over from Rome. Even greater surprise followed as His Eminence announced that He would like to gift the relics to the parish family. Hard to explain the emotion that overtook the members of the parish family as with tears of joy and humbleness they were approaching the Holy relics of their patron saints for veneration.
After Vespers, parish family and guests gathered at the Church hall for the memorial night. Enjoying snacks and drinks, attendees reminiscent about the good old days. A video was shown covering a century of Parish ministry prepared by parish photographer - Donna Nevels. Huge collection of photos depicting parish history, nearly Assam led by Mike Gbur, was available for viewing.
On the next day, Sunday, as the bright morning sun was lighting up the fiery golden and red crowns of already turning towards fall trees, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel accompanied by seminarians Yaroslav Bilohab and Myroslav Mykytyuk and a team of parish subdeacons with altar servers arrived at the Church temple.
His Eminence was greeted by a bunch of eager to see Him children. Of course group hug with Archbishop followed. Sandra Hladky - parish council president with Anatoly Bilyk - Parish council secretary greeted Archbishop Daniel with Bread (Korovai) and flowers. Parish priest, Fr. Vasyl Sendeha welcomed His Eminence and asked to lead us in the Divine Liturgy.
Before the Liturgy started two readers of our parish, Elias and his son Peter Gordan were elevated to the order of subdeacons by His Eminence. The number of subdeacons in our parish has grown again. We are blessed with nine subdeacons now. The Liturgy was extraordinary with altar filled with clergy and altar servers.
The choir’s joyful singing carried on the celebration under the leadership of Subdeacon George Cepynsky. The Gospel was read from Luke 5:1-11 about fishers of men. Then the time came for the Bishop’s word. Everyone was carefully listening as their spiritual shepherd preached about the reality of this world. His words were real, thought provoking. He spoke about how contemporary world is failing in all of the virtues. He encouraged us to preach the Gospel with our lives. Each and everyone of us is called to be the fisherman of human souls for Christ. His Eminence passed an actual fishing pole and bait around the church as he explained what are the actual tools for fishing for souls in our environment. The fishing pole does need to be used by each and every one of us if we want those people who surround us in our daily life to rejoice in the faith we rejoice. That fishing pole needs to be used to the best of our abilities if we want this community under the patronage of Sts. Peter and Paul to continue to grow and minister to the generations to come. With inspirational words of encouragement, His Grace Daniel was exhorting us to ponder upon the true values in life, the right choices we should make if we want others to come to Christ. He was exhorting us to make the right choices boldly. The virtues ought to be practiced with great diligence among each other if we want to bring others to Christ. Archbishop’s heartwarming words of encouragement, touched the souls of many.
As the Divine Liturgy continued, spiritually uplifted children once again adorned the Liturgy with their angelic voices singing the “Otche Nash,” the prayer of Our Father and Holy Eucharist Hymns. It is an overwhelming feeling of joy, to hear our youngest parishioners so eagerly and in such piety exclaim their prayers to Our God the Father. I can almost hear their voices still resounding inside the temple.
After the dismissal, His Eminence Daniel recognized the following parishioners of our parish: Mrs. Noreen Neswick, Mr. Michael Gbur, Sub-deacon George Cepynsky, Mrs. Donna Nevels, Sub-deacon James Nevels, Sub-deacon Dennis Rehr, Sub-deacon Jeremy Oryhon, Mr. Anatol Bilyk, Mr. Richard Ganske by presenting them with the 100th Anniversary medals of UOC of USA. Those medals of St Andrew the founder of Christ Church in Ukraine were presented to them for years of hard work by serving on different committees, volunteering their time and labor for the benefit of our parish.
With the conclusion of award ceremony, all of the present in the temple went outside to process around the Church. The procession would stop on the four sides of the Church and the Gospel was read by His Eminence. After each reading of the Gospel, the Archbishop blessed with Holy water the temple and the congregation. The procession ended with a group picture on the steps of the Church temple. We surely were making history for the next generations to see.
The joyous celebration continued in the church hall with an anniversary banquet. The church hall was beautifully decorated in white, blue and yellow colors. Slideshow prepared by Donna Nevels was shown depicting the latest ten years of church life. The honorary guests and priest from neighboring parishes took turns in expressing their greetings. Representative from Selfreliance Ukrainian Credit Union Mr. Roman Ytskovskyy, presented a generous gift on the occasion of 110th Anniversary.
Delicious dinner was catered by Tradicia Polish Fusion Cuisine. Cake in the shape of a hundred and ten was cut up and served to all of the attendants. It was truly a great day. We completed another chapter in the life of the parish. Our parish community has entered into a second decade of the second century of serving God and His people. Let’s continue to make history by worshiping, working and celebrating together.
Remaining in the love of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ,
This year, our Annual Church School Camp took place on Thursday and Friday of August 1 and August 2. Forty thee children took part in the event.
The theme of the Camp was Blast off into God’s Galaxy. Children had an opportunity to learn about Christian virtues as planets in God’s galaxy with its center of course – Sun as Son of God Jesus Christ.
The Camp started with the morning Prayers and introductory lesson on main Christian Virtues followed by launching of a giant water rocket into the skies.
The kids had a great time of fun and learning about God and His Church, thanks to organizers of the Camp, as well as teenagers, parent helpers and support of our generous donors. This year as never before we had people generously contribute to the needs of the camp.
Special thanks to the organizers of the camp; Pat Wolsko, Janet Milton, Debbie & Larrie Pierog, Karen Larson & PM Olenka. They have done a terrific job of preparing and leading the annual Church School Camp.
This year, they have done something different. They have revamped the whole program. They had children to work in smaller groups on different activities. From thought-provoking making of a poster on one of the virtues to quite story time reinforced by craft, fellowship games enjoyed by every age group, and of course water balloon toss and ice cream social. On the second day of the camp, children had a guest speaker/performer with Biblical theme Magic show.
Little kids with their parents were welcomed to take a part in the camp. It looked like little guys had a great time enjoying some of the activities with the older kids and some with their parents and their peers. We had children of Sunday School and Saturday school as well as some children from the area. Kids enjoyed each other’s company by praying together, doing crafts, playing educational games, making and baking their own pizzas for lunch, assembling their very own sandwiches, learning and having fun. It is important to note, that this is the third year that the children of both schools participated at the camp and there was no need to translate things into Ukrainian.
Educational games, which were fun to play, taught kids about the importance of gathering together for a common goal. Children saw the great benefits of staying together in unity to pray, to work and to have fun.
One of the fun activities was making their own lunch. The new talents were discovered, as the kids formed the dough, spread the sauce, made and designed their own pizzas. It was truly a delight to see them having fun working with dough and then munching on their creations in a circle of friends. New friendships have been made.
The Camp ended with an ice-cream social and traditional water balloon toss and me getting soaked. Kids do keep the custom of making their priest soaking wet at the end of the water balloon toss. Everyone left for home with great memories of a time well spent together with friends from the parish family.
All of the participants, including children, teenage helpers and adult leaders had a great time. We encourage parents, grandparents to save the date for next year’s Parish School Camp and find time to bring the kids over for a few days of learning fun. We are planning to have the camp on August 6 and 7, 2020. There are thinking of having an overnight sleepover at the hall for those parents and children, who would be interested. We, as parents always try to provide and choose the best things for our children to spend time during summer. Those parents, who sent their kids to Church School Camp this year, have made a right choice.
This winter has been quite unusual with jumping temperature from fifties to below zero in Fahrenheit and with little to no snow at all. At first it seemed like we were going to have the Nativity of Jesus Christ without snow at all. This would be the first time since I remember myself. However, snow did fell; we had white Christmas on the third day of Nativity.
This Year’s calendar was quite unique as well. Christmas and New Year both fell on a Sunday. The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ fell on a Saturday. Therefore, parishioners and friends of our parish had no reason not to come and celebrate all together the feast of the Feasts. Even though the temperature was bitterly cold, the temple of Sts. Peter and Paul was overfilled with worshipers, standing room only. The magnificent choir beautified the services with its singing of Festal Divine Liturgy followed by joyous caroling. The service was spiritually uplifting. Nicely decorated temple, burning candles, chatter of wrestles kids all added up to the glorious celebration. After the Divine Liturgy, faithful and guests of Sts. Peter and Paul enjoyed delicious banquet in honor of the Newborn King. Children of Sunday school were visited by St. Nicholas, who couldn’t do it in December due to his very busy schedule and weather conditions. The story of St. Nicholas was read by children to the delight of the filled church hall.
The second day of Nativity, the Synoxis of the Mother of God, was celebrated on the following day, Sunday. The celebration continued with the Divine Liturgy and more caroling.
On the third day of Nativity we were blessed with a visit of His Eminence Archbishop-Elect Daniel - Vice-Chairman and President of the Consistory; Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy. His Eminence Daniel accompanied by Fr. Ivan Lymar, pastor of St. Volodimer Cathedral in Chicago and me led us in the Divine Liturgy, honoring St. Stephen protomartyr. After the Divine Liturgy everyone was invite to carol at the rectory and to enjoy provided luncheon. Attending parishioners and guests had the opportunity to venerate the actual relics of St. Stephen, which were brought by Vladyka Daniel. His Eminence, preached to us about first martyr Stephen and what it really means to be the real follower of Christ, who is willing to sacrifice his life for Christ. He spoke of love which made St. Stephen be able to do what he has done, to preach Christ through His life until the very last breath. Real examples of living in the love of Christ were shared by his Eminence. If those people were capable of spreading Christ’s love thorough their actions of compassion, so we too can share Christ’s love with the others by being Christ to those who are in need.
I had this wonderful opportunity to witness the power of Christ’s love in action, as his Eminence Daniel along with seminarian Ihor Protsak and my family made surprise visit to carol at a house of a homebound Josephine Hobert. You could see the tears of joy in her eyes as her first to be missed Christmas, was not missed anymore. According to her own words, she was going to miss Christmas celebration at the Church for the very first time, because of mobility issues, but the Christmas was brought to her. The true spirit of Christmas filled the house as carol after carol was song with such a joy by everyone present. All of a sudden it turned to be so warm and cozy in the house… filled with the love of the Newborn King, Jesus Christ our Lord. He was indeed among us, you could feel His presence. This feeling is hard to describe, but it felt heavenly. If this unique, awesome feeling is a pre-taste of His Heavenly Kingdom, we have a lot to look forward to.
I wish you all to have such experience this Nativity Season. We all can achieve that by simple sharing of Christ’s love with those who surround us. But first, we have to except His love by submitting our hearts to Him. Surrender to Christ’s love and He will lead you to experience the sweetness of His Heavenly Kingdom yet here on this earth.
Remaining in the love of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ,