Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Join us for the Eparchy of Parma's 50th Anniversary Celebration!

Please join us this weekend for the Eparchy of Parma's 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Parma, Ohio. This Friday and Saturday event is a wonderful opportunity to gather together, meet people from other parishes, and pray together as a Church for our Church.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation of the Eastern Churches, as well as several other bishops from Europe will be traveling to the United States to join us for this celebration!

Here is the link to the event page. (When you go to the page, click on the various links on the left side for more information.)

Please also pray for us as we run the Boys and Girls Camp that will be held at the Cathedral on Wednesday through Saturday, in conjunction with the event, and pray for all of the participants. Thank you!

Monday, June 10, 2019

"It's great to give everything"


Last week, four of us took a trip to Philadelphia to attend the enthronement of the new leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States, Metropolitan Borys. We also participated in a day-long gathering for clergy and religious. It was a very beautiful and powerful experience. We were moved by the huge number of bishops and other clergy present, by the beautiful singing, and by the wonderful people we met--including a few monastics from Europe, from whom we received wisdom and advice. Here is a link to more photos.

We were especially moved by the remarks of Metropolitan Borys at the end of the enthronement liturgy. His words gave us so much hope in the midst of a Church that is struggling. His words, as well as the words of Patriarch Sviatoslav during a conference for the clergy and religious, empowered us to persevere in striving to be holy and to "give everything." Metropolitan Borys surprised us by singling out Mother Iliana as an example. His words were so powerful that we want to share them with all of you. Please consider watching this video clip of his remarks. Also, here is a link to a video of the enthronement liturgy, starting with the Gospel. If you are unable to watch the video clip, below is a portion of his remarks, including a translation of a part of the remarks that was given in Ukrainian.


"We're going to go together, really receiving in our hearts the gift of the Holy Spirit, because I can't do much and you can't do much...but if we come like we've come this time--together, and open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, we will see amazing things happening, miracles happening.

"We've seen our Church that was supposed to be dead. A totalitarian regime was trying to kill it; it had limitless resources, it had a nuclear arsenal. And this Church is alive. There are bishops here--Vladyka Ihor, for example, the metropolitan of Lviv--who became a priest in the underground. What hope did he have that things could change? Not too much, right?

With two Studite monks from Ukraine
"Today there are young Sisters here. Maty (Mother) Iliana, could you stand up? I want you to look at this young woman. There is nobody that is more free, nobody that has more courage, nobody that is more counter-cultural, nobody that is more non-conformist, than a young woman in the 21st Century who says, 'You know what? I pledge my whole life to God. And I promise poverty, chastity and obedience,' in a time when everybody says, 'Money, money, money, sex, sex, sex, and power.' This is the kind of witness we have amongst us.

Dear brothers and sisters, we, as children of this Church, do not have the right not to be witnesses. You don't have this right. If you have tasted how good the Lord is, go forward and witness. Help the Church to be renewed, as His Beatitude (Patriarch Sviatoslav) encouraged us. It just takes a few people who believe profoundly and are ready to give everything. It's great to give everything."

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Holy Spirit



Happy Feast of Pentecost! Today Bishop John joined us to celebrate this great feast that completes that Paschal Mystery! The Holy Spirit is an incredible gift that allows us to have God living within us. He is "everywhere present and filling all things," as we pray in the "Heavenly King" prayer. Below is a poem that was written by one of the nuns. Each stanza refers to one of the four classical elements of the world: earth, wind, water and fire.

The Holy Spirit

From the barren earth life was made to sprout
as You hovered over the waters, ready to nest.
Man was made of the dust of the earth and Your breath.

“His glorious rest is not enough,” we heard. “Take for yourself and eat.”
Blow!—that what is defiled may be swept clean and filled
and the fragrance of its perfumes may fill this house.

From the mountain Your rivers flow to the depths of Man.
A bubbling fountain leaps up somewhere in his darkness
where deep cries to deep at Your thunder.

“Remove your sandals on this Holy Ground.”
What will become of me if I consume this burning coal?
Yet where in all existence shall I flee from Your Spirit?

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Thank you to our Spring Work Day volunteers!

A great crew of volunteers joined us on Saturday, May 25, for our Spring Work Day. They helped us with many outdoor projects and indoor spring cleaning, including the repairing of a stone wall, assembly of new vegetable garden beds, weeding, tree-cutting, mulching, window-washing, and monastery and chapel cleaning. We closed the day with Vespers and a cookout. Click on the photo to see more photos from the day.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

"Who ME? Contemplative prayer?"

Contemplative prayer may sound like a complicated undertaking that's just for monks and nuns, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that it is "the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer" (2713). In this talk, Mother Cecilia helps us to start from the beginning: "What is God's purpose for us?" From this foundation, she explains what contemplative prayer actually is. She then gives tips for stirring up the flame of the Holy Spirit that is within us. We hope this talk will help your relationship with the One who loves you deeply and wants to pour Himself into you! Click here for the handout.


Talk given at St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church, Brecksville, Ohio, on March 31, 2019.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

"I will not leave you orphaned"

Happy Feast of the Ascension!

A reflection from Mother Cecilia:

A couple of weeks ago I was on my annual retreat, and I was at a retreat center where there was a beautiful path through the woods with the Stations of the Cross. On the second-to-last day of my retreat, it was finally warm enough to entice me to venture into the woods for a prayerful little walk. The sweet scent of Locust blossoms cascaded down from the trees above and mixed with the fragrance of honeysuckle, intensified by the humid air that was permeated by gentle raindrops. I glanced up at each Station as I walked along with my umbrella. Up ahead, I saw three crosses made out of trees, and when I reached them, I saw that the Station, "Jesus dies on the Cross," was nailed to the middle cross. I stopped there to pray for a few moments. Then I continued on and stopped again at the Station of the Resurrection, nailed to a very interesting tree covered in vines. There I thanked Jesus for the gift of His Resurrection and all the graces He had bestowed on me during this Paschal Season, especially for the way He had helped me to better understand the meaning of His Resurrection. I also thanked Him for the graces of my retreat. Then, I looked and saw that the path continued! As I began to follow this unknown part of the path, I wondered, "How far does it go? What is up ahead?" and my thoughts quickly turned to my own life, and I wondered, "How will I integrate into my life what I've learned on this retreat? How will I remember what happened? How will I remember what my spiritual father said to me during this retreat? Will I actually be different when I go home?"Jesus was listening to my thoughts, and He spoke clearly and gently to my heart, "I will not leave you orphaned" (Jn 14:18).

Later that day, when I met with my spiritual father and told him what happened, he said, "This is really important!" I raised my eyebrows slightly and he explained, "Do you see how you were being self-reliant? 'How will I integrate...How will I remember?' Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit 'and bring to your remembrance all that He said to you' (Jn 14: 26)! You don't have to do these things on your own!" A wave of peace flooded me. It was so helpful to be shown in a very specific situation how I was being self-reliant. I don't have to be anxious; I don't have to do anything on my own! Jesus will not leave me orphaned. I only have to surrender to Him and let Him do it.

As we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, we might naturally be sad that Jesus is "going away." But it is necessary, so that the Father may send the Holy Spirit, and the Father and the Son may "come to [us] and make [their] home with [us]" (Jn 14:23). That way, they can do everything in us! As we anticipate the Feast of Pentecost--the crowning feast of God's work of salvation--let's ask Him for the grace to see the ways that we rely on ourselves, so that we can instead turn to Him as His little children and not remain as though we are orphans.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

2 days left to register for Boys & Girls Camp; opened to 12-year-olds


There are only 2 days left to register for Boys and Girls Camp - June 19-22, in conjunction with the Eparchy of Parma's 50th Anniversary! The deadline is Friday, May 31st. Since there are still spots open, registration has been opened to 12-year-olds. See our April 12th post for more information.