Sunday, July 2, 2017

"He must increase, I must decrease"--Highlights of Girls Camp 2017

What a blessing! God's providence was so manifest during Girls Camp, June 22-26, here at the monastery. Rain may have "messed up" the schedule and flooded the tents, but the Holy Spirit was clearly pouring out upon the girls and us!

A record number of teen girls (30) traveled from seven different states (Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia) for the camp, sponsored by the Eparchy of Parma Office of Vocations. The girls listened to talks on the theme, "He must increase, I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30), engaged in small group discussions, spent time in quiet reflection, participated in the Mystery of Holy Repentance, prayed many of the daily liturgical services of the Church with us, and enjoyed other activities, such as a "nun obstacle course!"

A unique event during this year's camp was a trip to our cathedral in Parma on our eparchy's patronal feast (the Nativity of St. John the Baptist) for the ordination of Fr. Cyril Pinchak to the priesthood. In God's beautiful providence, the day before the ordination, Fr. Cyril unexpectedly walked in the door of the monastery just as we were about to tell the girls about him and what they would experience at the ordination! Fr. Cyril did a much better job than we would have, and the girls were able to meet him in person.

Girls Camp began in 2009 and is meant to catechize teen girls about the various vocations in the Church and to help them encounter God in a deeper way and to grow in their relationship with Him. It seems that the the purpose of the camp is truly being fulfilled, by God's grace. We are so overwhelmed by all of the graces that He poured out during the camp, that we want to share some of them through the words of a few of the girls:

"I felt a great sense of peace and joy that I had never felt before in my entire life" (Isabella Way; Tucson, Ariz.).

"[Girls Camp] deepened [my relationship with Jesus Christ] a lot. I feel like now I can just talk to Him, as if I was talking to a friend" (Bella Popp; Cleveland, Ohio).

"I feel closer to Him in everything I do now and like I can talk freely to Him about anything. It's just really amazing!" (Maria Hartung; Springfield, Ohio).

"[Girls Camp] made [my relationship with Jesus Christ] stronger and 'surfaced' it. I've always sort of known that God was there but I just started realizing that He was there for me" (Dominica Lupia; Seven Hills, Ohio).

"I have received so many special graces these past few days" (Anonymous).

"It feels as if a door was opened for me to walk through and experience Jesus in a more raw and pure way" (Anonymous).

"[My favorite part was] meeting all of the nuns, seeing how happy they are, loving, and just feeling the love of God radiate off them; [also,] all the talks leading back to Jesus. [Girls Camp] reminded me that Jesus is really all I need in life, the only thing that can fill my heart" (Eva Mangels; Tucson, Ariz.).

Enjoy more photos from the camp!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Welcome, Bishop Milan!

We are very happy to welcome Bishop Milan Lach as the newly appointed administrator of our eparchy! This photo is from his visit to our eparchy in December of 2013. Here is a video that we took of some remarks he gave at the end of a Liturgy during that visit.

Our eparchy published the following information about Bishop Milan:

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Milan Lach, SJ, auxiliary bishop of Presov, Slovakia, as apostolic administrator of the Eparchy of Parma.

The appointment relieves Archbishop William C. Skurla of Pittsburgh from the pastoral governance of Parma. He had served as apostolic administrator since Bishop Emeritus John Kudrick resigned May 7, 2016.

Bishop Lach was born in Kezmarok, Slovakia, Nov. 18, 1973. He was ordained a priest of the Society of Jesus (commonly known as the Jesuits) July 1, 2001, and was ordained to the episcopacy to serve as auxiliary bishop of Presov June 1, 2013. Bishop Lach is fluent in English, among several languages.

The 43-year-old Byzantine Catholic Jesuit is the first European-born bishop to be appointed to oversee the Eparchy of Parma since its founding in 1969.

Please see over the next few days and weeks for updates and additional information on the appointment.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pray for our Girls Camp!

We're almost ready for Girls Camp! Please pray for the 30 teenage girls who will arrive on Thursday afternoon and camp out until Sunday on the monastery grounds. Pray for open hearts as the girls pray with us, listen to talks, engage in discussion groups, participate in the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession), and more. We will also have plenty of fun!

Half of the girls are new this year, and more than half are from states other than Ohio (Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia). Please also pray for the boys who are participating in Boys Camp across the street at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch.

Our theme this year, for both of the camps, is "He must increase, I must decrease" (Jn 3:30). Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

We offer our love and prayers today to all of our fathers, biological and spiritual!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our favorite saints

Happy Sunday of All Saints! In the Byzantine Tradition, we commemorate all the saints on the Sunday after Pentecost. It is the Holy Spirit who makes us into saints. We at Christ the Bridegroom Monastery love the saints so much; they are our constant inspiration for saying “yes” to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Their widely varying stories and gifts show us that we each have a unique path of holiness. They also teach us that holiness is not about doing everything perfectly, but about union with God through the acceptance of His will and His love. They encourage us to respond to God’s love whole-heartedly, holding nothing of ourselves back from Him.

Here are some of our favorite saints, of both the Eastern and Western Traditions. Many of these saints have sought us out and made known their intercession for us. If you see a name you have never heard and that strikes your interest, perhaps you could do a little research on the life of this saint and make a new friend!      

Mother Theodora
Bl. Theodore Romzha
St. John Paul II
St. Peter
St. Mary of Egypt
St. John Chrysostom
St. Gregory of Nyssa

Mother Cecilia
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
St. Julie Billiart
St. Clare of Assisi
Bl. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich
St. Faustina

Mother Gabriella
St. Gabriel
Servant of God Fulton Sheen
St. Teresa of Avila
Servant of God Catherine Doherty
St. Dorotheos of Gaza
St. Catherine of Siena

Sr. Iliana
St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
St. Philip Neri
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
The Prophet Elijah
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

Sr. Natalia
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Bl. Theodore Romzha
The Apostle Nathanel
St. Mary Magdalene
St. Mary of Egypt

Sara Lynn
St. Thomas More
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
St. André Bessette
Servant of God Dorothy Day
St. Joseph
St. Julian of Norwich

Monday, June 5, 2017

"Through the Spirit..."

Happy Feast of Pentecost! All this week we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, and we can also reflect on the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. Here are some beautiful words from St. Basil to help us:

"As clear, transparent substances become very bright when sunlight falls on them and shine with a new radiance, so also souls in whom the Spirit dwells, and who are enlightened by the Spirit, become spiritual themselves and a source of grace for others.

From the Spirit comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of the mysteries of faith, insight into the hidden meaning of Scripture, and other special gifts. Through the Spirit we become citizens of heaven, we enter into eternal happiness, and abide in God. Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God...."

--St. Basil, "On the Holy Spirit"

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thank you to our spring work day volunteers!

Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who helped us at our spring work day on Saturday, May 13! Click on the photo to see more photos from the day. (However, these photos only show a fragment of our many awesome volunteers!)

We had such a beautiful, fun and productive day. Trees were cut down, bushes trimmed, flower beds weeded, a frame for the herb garden was built, windows washed, grass weed-wacked, the chapel sign received a first coat of new paint, gravel spread, the light post repaired, the chapel cleaned, and more! We couldn't have accomplished all of this work on our own!

We also enjoyed lunch at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch with the shrine volunteers. Many volunteers also stayed for Great Vespers for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, celebrated by our chaplain, Fr. Dennis, and enjoyed a cookout/potluck. We thank God for the beautiful weather and for the gift of your generous hearts.