Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Every life has a purpose

This year we again organized the Eparchy of Parma's ByzanTEEN trip to the March for Life, which took place on Monday.  We were blessed to share the experience with a great group of teens from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania, along with a few seminarians studying at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh.  We also met up and marched with teens from North Carolina and priests from various states.  Among the hundreds of thousands of people marching to the Supreme Court that day, our group could be heard singing Marian hymns and marching behind a large "ByzanTEENS for Life" banner.  Bishop John joined us and gave us his blessing after we sang a few last Marian hymns at the Supreme Court Building.

The theme that continued to reoccur throughout the trip was, "Every life has a purpose."  On the way to DC we watched and discussed the movie Simon Birch on the bus, a movie about a teen boy who was very small due to birth defects, but who felt that God had created him that way for a reason and that he would one day be a hero.  We also talked about vocations and visited the Eastern Catholic vocations fair at the Ukrainian Catholic Shrine.  The teens came up with questions together in their groups to ask the priests, deacons, monks and nuns that they would meet there.  This gave them an opportunity to learn about some of the vocations in the Church and to think about what purpose God might have in mind for their lives.  Following the vocations fair, we visited the Blessed John Paul II Shrine right next door for the Sisters of Life "You and Me" exhibit.  This multi-media exhibit followed the lives of six different people who had to make difficult decisions and found freedom and joy in making the self-sacrificing decision (such as choosing life for his or her baby).  It was a very powerful exhibit that caused us to think about our decisions and the reasons why things happen the way they do.  It also taught us how much God loves us, not for what we can do but for who we are.  We reminded the teens that we were going to the March for Life to tell the world that life is beautiful and that God has given every human being a purpose.  We also asked them to think and pray during the trip about what particular purpose that God has given them.

Meeting the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light at the Vocation Fair
We are grateful to Epiphany Byzantine Catholic parish in Annandale, Virginia, for hosting us for a delicious dinner on Sunday night, and to Holy Transfiguration Melkite parish in McLean, Virginia, for hosting us overnight.  Compline prayed that night in their beautiful chapel was absolutely heavenly!  (Those teens can really sing!)  We were fortunate enough to receive tickets to the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the DC Armory on Monday morning, and enjoyed praying with 10,000 other young people and cheering for Bishop John as he was announced among the concelebrating bishops.  Our cheer was heard on EWTN, along with our singing of Marian hymns as we marched by the EWTN camera.  We thank all who helped to make this trip possible!

Conor and his sister Sr. Brigid (Sisters of Life) and Sr. Julie and her brother Steven


  1. I just wanted to share a event that is happening this summer that some of your young adults may want to join us at: Unity 2012 in Pinawa, Manitoba, Canada. We are hoping to get the information out to as many Byzantine Catholics as we can. You can find all the information on Unity 2012 at:

    Unity 2012: Into The Wild
    August 16-19, 2012

    Mission Statement:
    Unity 2012 is a Ukrainian Catholic national gathering of young adults to further understand, embrace and celebrate our faith through prayer, education and fellowship.

    UNITY 2012 Theme: Into the Wild
    Through keynotes, prayer, personal witnesses and workshops we will be exploring the theme, Into the Wild. The theme is inspired in part by our surroundings. We are gathering at Wilderness Edge Retreat Center, which is surrounded by awe inspiring wilderness. As Christians, we also must venture out into the wilderness; one that is both a challenge and an adventure. What is ‘wilder’ than setting out on a path with Jesus Christ as his disciple?
    Please e-mail me if you would like more information for your group! We would love to have you join us!

  2. We heard you all chanting beautiful Marian hymns as you neared the Supreme Ct., but we were unable to make our way through the crowd to your group. Lord willing, next year we'll meet up with you all at the Rally prior to the March. God bless!
    Patricia & family in Morgantown

  3. Hi Sr. Julie & Jessie!! I wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog and hearing what you are both us to! I am teaching fifth grade PSR at St. Hilary Parish in Fairlawn and we're studying vocations, mainly holy orders and matrimony (since 5th grade is the year to learn in-depth about sacraments), but I thought it would be really awesome to see if either of you would be willing to come in and share about your vocation and how to made the decision to become nuns! I talked a little bit about you both tonight during PSR and thought it would be awesome if you would witness to the kiddos about religious life. They all seemed amazed that someone young would live a religious life--I think most of them have only ever seen older nuns and/or priests, brothers, deacons, etc...If either (or both) of you are available any Monday night until May, the fifth graders would love to pick your brains and hear your story :)


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