Monday, May 23, 2016

God be with you, Jacqui!

Jacqui McNeill (formerly known as Sister Emilia) has decided to leave the monastery in order to have the opportunity to discern the possibility of marriage.  Her decision has brought her peace of heart and mind and we share in her peace as well.  Please join us in offering loving prayer and support to Jacqui as she continues to discern God’s will in her life. God bless you, Jacqui!


“I want to thank all the family and friends of the monastery for their love and prayerful support in my discernment. As I continue to ask God to lead me, I ask for your continued prayers. 
Know you continue to be held close in prayer.” 
~Jacqui

Friday, May 20, 2016

Enjoy our Spring Newsletter


We hope you enjoy our "Year of Mercy" issue of Pomegrante Blossoms! 

This issue features two beautiful reflections, from a seminarian and a priest, about their experiences of encountering God's mercy at the monastery. Also, read Mother's updates about our renovations and needs, enjoy photos from Holy Week and Pascha, mark your calendars for some upcoming events, and read about our recent discernment retreat. 

It may take a minute to load the large file. Thanks for your patience and for your continued prayers and support! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy Pentecost, and thank you to our work day volunteers!

Weeding and landscaping the newly-named "Mount Theodora!"
A great group of volunteers joined us yesterday for our spring work day. The rain let up long enough in the afternoon to accomplish some outdoor projects, and we also attacked some indoor cleaning and moving. Some volunteers also helped with projects across the street at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch. There was plenty of mud for everyone to get sufficiently dirty!

In the evening, we prayed Vespers for the Feast of Pentecost and enjoyed dinner indoors! Thank you to all who gave of their time, energy, and love yesterday, and we send our love to all on this glorious Feast of Pentecost!

"In the days of old, pride brought confusion to the tongues of the builders of the Tower of Babel, but now the diversity of tongues enlightened the minds and gave knowledge for the glory of God. Then, God punished the impious for their sin; now, Christ enlightened fishermen through His Spirit. Then, confusion of tongues was for the sake of punishment; now, there was variety so that voices could be joined in harmony for the salvation of our souls" (Vespers Aposticha Doxastikon).

Mother Gabriella finishes a project outside and Fr. Cyril carries Pentecost decorations to the chapel

Sunday, May 8, 2016

“Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me" (Isaiah 8:18).

Among the various saints we commemorate today, one is St. Emilia, the mother of ten children, five of whom are canonized saints.  Below is a reflection from our Sr. Emilia on the occasion of her feast day and Mother's Day.

Eight months ago, when I was given the name “Emilia” at my tonsure, I was in awe of the Lord’s reminder that He had named me as His many years ago, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you...” (Jeremiah 1:5). Mother Theodora chose the name Emilia because of the connection with motherhood and my love for children.  Accordingly, at my confirmation (10 years ago) and again at my tonsure; the words of Isaiah 62:2,5 were fulfilled, “You shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall give…as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” The Lord continues to speak to my heart, showing me how I am called to love in a maternal manner; showing me His great desire to love me, as my Father.  I have loved hearing and responding to the voice of Abba calling out to me, His little girl, “Emilia!” Never have I felt so loved.

After my tonsure, I looked at the calendar to see on which day my feast fell this year and whether it was in a fasting period or not (important, right?!). I was happy to see that it fell on a non-fast day. Then I looked again and laughed at God’s work…of course my first feast day as “Sr. Emilia” would fall on Mother’s Day! He truly does give us the desires of our hearts. 

This feast day, falling on Mother’s Day, is perfect because the reason I am named Emilia is due to motherhood. I chose that name for my confirmation in 8th grade in honor of my mom and the mother of St. John Paul II. Then, I was given that name again 10 years later as a byzantine monastic, at my tonsure as a rasophore nun. St. Emilia has been to me a mother who consoled me in the loss of my mom, who guided me in my love for children as a nanny, and now in my discernment of whether I am called to biological or spiritual motherhood.
 
Sr. Emilia with her mother, dad & step-mom, "Aunt" Shirley, & godmother
I celebrate today the joy of being a spiritual mother to many children. I am especially grateful to God for the children who hold a special place in my heart: my youngest siblings, as well as Matthew, Abigail, Andrew, Maria and Daeclyn Emmelia Rose. I am thankful for the mothers that God placed in my life, especially Our Lady and my mother and godmother, who have gone to be with the Lord, as well as those mothers who God gave me in place of them, to lead me in my walk closer to union with the Bridegroom: Mother Theodora, Aunt Shirley and my step-mom, Lisa.  These children and women are to me the people who lead me to be a better “mother.” Who are the women in your life who are being honored today? What children has the Lord given you? Let us thank the Lord today for all women who accept the call to be "Mom" and pray for those who desire to be biological mothers, but are unable to be. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Praying for our bishop and father at the news of his resignation

Pope Accepts Resignation of Bishop John M. Kudrick and Bishop Gerald N. Dino

May 7, 2016

PARMA, Ohio — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John M. Kudrick of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma and has named Archbishop William C. Skurla of Pittsburgh as apostolic administrator.

​Further, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald N. Dino of the Byzantine Catholic Holy Protection of Mary Eparchy of Phoenix and appointed Bishop John S. Pazak C.S.s.R., of the Eparchy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, based in Toronto, Canada as Bishop of Phoenix, while remaining administrator of the Toronto Eparchy.

The clergy and faithful of the Eparchy of Parma are saddened by the unexpected news of Bishop Kudrick’s resignation. He was appreciated as a prayerful leader, who loved the Church and the Eastern Catholic Tradition. Among his accomplishments, he showed great pastoral vision in trying to restore Eastern monasticism by establishing a women’s monastery in the eparchy. He also created a new pastoral plan, aimed at invigorating parishes and encouraging efforts for evangelization.

Bishop Kudrick was ordained the fourth bishop of Parma in 2002. Born in Lloydell, Pa., in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1975 for the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (Franciscan Friars, T.O.R.). He was incardinated in the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Pittsburgh in 1987, serving in Pennsylvania until his episcopal appointment to Parma. He was 68 at the time of his resignation.

Archbishop Skurla is the Metropolitan of the Byzantine Catholic Church in the United States since 2012. Born in 1956, he was ordained a priest for the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) in 1987, and was incardinated in the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys (western U.S.A.) in 1993. He was ordained bishop of the same eparchy in 2002, and appointed bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic five years later. He was named the fifth archbishop of Pittsburgh in 2012.

The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma includes 12 states in the American Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It was established in 1969. Today, it provides ministry and pastoral care to some 8,000 faithful in about 30 parishes and missions.

More information to follow.

Media contact:
Father Andrew Summerson
frasummerson@parma.org


Letter from Bishop John to the Eparchy of Parma:

In 2002, I was humbled that the Church considered me God-chosen for the office of Bishop of Parma. It has become apparent that now in 2016 the Eparchy of Parma needs leadership that I cannot provide. The Holy Father in his paternal concern for the Eparchy and for myself has allowed me to retire with the understanding that I may be asked to accept another office in the future. Until the next bishop is chosen, Metropolitan William Skurla will serve as apostolic administrator.

I thank all who collaborated with me and I assure you of my prayer, for which I’ll now have more time. I hope to offer assistance where I am able. I pray our ongoing relationship will be marked especially with mercy and forgiveness.

I look forward to joining the Eparchy in offering our support to my successor. In the last 14 years I experienced God’s presence and wonderful cooperation with Him. I am certain that will continue to ensure our deepening of discipleship and sacramental practice, an accepting of our individual vocations, and the strengthening of our parishes.

In Christ our Hope,
+Bishop John

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Girls' Camp Registration Now Open!

Teen girls ages 13-18 are invited to the 8th Annual Eparchy of Parma Girls’ Camp, June 23-26, 2016, hosted by Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in Burton, Ohio. This year’s theme is “His Mercy Endures Forever.” The camp is an event sponsored by the Eparchy of Parma Office of Vocations, which provides an opportunity for teen girls to discover different vocations in the Church and develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. More information and online registration can be found at the “For Teen Girls” tab.  Space is limited to 20 girls! Register as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.  Registration will close June 10 if not already full.

The Office of Vocations also offers a boys' camp, the Alive in Christ Ascetical Boot Camp for Guys, for boys 8-18 during the same weekend, across the street from the monastery at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch. Visit www.parma.org for more information.

Friday, April 15, 2016

"My weaknesses don't inhibit His love"

Newsletter Reflection 6 of 6

A reflection from Victoria about her entrance as a dokimos (postulant) on Sept. 30, 2015.

The days leading up to my entrance were focused on opening my heart to be receptive to the love of the Father, a grace for which I had never really asked, but badly needed. God answered those prayers through scripture and meditation, helping me to see the ways He has healed my wounds and invited me to a deeper discernment of marriage to Him. He graciously showed me how my weaknesses not only don’t inhibit His love, but are in fact endearing to Him, and how it brings Him joy to work through and in those weaknesses.

I was most struck at my entrance by Bishop John’s passionate homily. His words on trust stirred within me both an anticipation of the ways in which I would need to trust, but also encouragement that when I do trust, God will always provide. In the Gospel reading from Matthew at Vespers the night of my entrance, Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you…what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?...If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (7:7-11). This was a reminder to me of the Father’s intense love for us, so much more intense than anything we’ve ever experienced.

Because my entrance was on a feast of Our Lady—the Protection of the Mother of God—we sang many hymns to her during Vespers. In one of these hymns we sang, “O Theotokos, you cooperated with the invitation offered by the Holy Spirit.” Mary is the most prominent example of immense trust in our Bridegroom. She is a constant reminder for me that God always gives us a choice, but also that He bears so much fruit within our hearts when we make the choice to follow Him. This hymn, combined with the Gospel reading, says we must trust and believe in how much it delights Him when we say “yes” and also how much He delights in saying “yes” to us!

A few days after my entrance, I was reflecting on the Lord’s words, that we should ask of Him what we desire. My first thought was one of concern, that I may ask for the wrong things. But Christ reminded me of His love of my weaknesses and of the trust He requires of me, and He gently reminded me that even when I ask the wrong question, He will always give me the right answer. The two months [now six months!] since my entrance have already presented opportunities for trust—trust that God will bless and bring forth fruit from my sacrifices, and that He will continue to pour upon me the graces I need to keep my heart open to Him and to maintain this path of discernment.