Monday, February 27, 2023

Join us on March 23rd for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete!

Our monastic community will be praying the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete on the evening of Thursday, March 23rd, 2023, at St. Joseph's Byzantine Catholic Parish in Brecksville, Ohio, and we'd love for you to join us. 

This service is one of the favorites of the entire year for many (if not all) of the nuns. We make hundreds of prostrations as we go through the canon for the day, singing through salvation history which culminates with Christ. It's a beautiful time to repent of our sins and experience God's abundant mercy. We will also read the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt and have the opportunity to venerate her relic. She's such a wonderful Saint to ask to be with us as we strive to repent more and more fully. If she can do it, we can! 

The opportunity for the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession) will be available during the service. 

All are invited to come for part or all of the Canon, even if you are not physically able to participate in the prostrations. The duration of the Canon is approximately 3.5 hours. 

A meatless, dairy-less Lenten potluck will be held in St. Joseph's Hall from 5:00-5:45 p.m. The Canon will begin in the church at 6:00 p.m. 

To RSVP for the potluck and/or Canon, please call or text Carrie Hotaling from St. Joseph's Parish at 440-836-2674.  

With any other questions, please contact the monastery at 440-834-0290.

Monday, February 20, 2023

The Great Fast has begun!

"Tossed about by the waves of sin, I am drowning in the deep waters of despair; but I hasten to the ocean of your love; save me, O Lord." (from the Canon of Matins on Clean Monday)

As we begin the Great Fast today, we'd like to share a great resource that we hope you'll find enriching over the coming months. 

There are several upcoming webinars from God With Us Online. There are lots of really great topics in the coming months: "Orthodoxy and Life" with Father Josiah Trenham, "For the Life of the World" and "The Incarnation and the Cross" with Father David Anderson, "Dedication to Fellowship" with Father Michael O'Loughlin and Mother Natalia, "The Didache" with Father Christiaan Kappes, and "The Pauline World" with Father Daniel Dozier. Visit the link above for more information on the webinars and their dates. God With Us Online also has an amazing library of past webinars that you can check out. 

In addition, God With Us Online also has Bible study videos on the Sunday Gospels and daily reflections for families to pray with here

We hope that this resource will enrich your experience of the Great Fast this year, and that you'll be able to be immersed in the beauty of this season in your parishes and homes.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Fr. John Kachuba's Last Homily

Bright Monday Procession, 2022
The last line of the Psalms can sum up Fr. John Kachuba's last day on earth: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (Ps 150:6). With many of his final breaths, which were labored, Fr. John praised the Lord in the Divine Liturgy at our monastery yesterday morning. After returning to his home, he fell asleep in the Lord. 

His final Divine Liturgy was very appropriately for Meatfare Sunday--The Sunday of the Last Judgment. We were moved by his simple and insightful homily about the sheep and the goats--the differences in the ways that they are either led or driven by the shepherd. Fr. John "accidentally" left his printed script behind, which we don't remember him ever doing (this was no accident on God's part), and we typed it up to share with you below. We can honor him by taking this message to heart. [Note the very appropriate bracketed sentence that was not included in his printed script but was added by him spontaneously.]

Fr. John (75) was a retired archpriest of our eparchy who was one of the priests who regularly served us by celebrating the Divine Liturgy in our chapel. Even his sometimes gruff exterior couldn't hide his tender love for us. He was well-loved in the eparchy because of his closeness to the people. 

At least once Fr. John told us, "We celibates need to pray for each other (for those living and deceased), because we are the family that we have." Please join us in praying for this brother and father of our celibate family.

Fr. John was out of breath during the Liturgy but assured us he would be seeing his doctor on Monday. He told Mother Cecilia that he would let her know if he could still celebrate Forgiveness Vespers at the monastery the following Sunday (which he had volunteered to do), depending on what the doctor said. He was found at home beside his car at 2:30 in the afternoon, after he did not show up for a planned lunch. Celebrating the Divine Liturgy was his final act on earth, and with strained breaths he praised the Lord.

Fr. John's Last Homily:

Are you a sheep or are you a goat? Are you on the right hand or the left hand of our Lord? We refer to Jesus many times as the Shepherd and we are the sheep who follow Him, in other words He leads us. When you went to the Holy Land did you happen to see any sheep with a shepherd, or any goats? A shepherd gets the attention of the sheep and they follow him when he wants to lead them to better pastures. Goats are driven from the rear, and they go where they want to go. They wander from one thing to another, and they might not be going to the best places. So, are we following the Shepherd and go where He goes, or are we going our own way? He tells the righteous in the Gospel today and is telling us that when we feed the poor, when we welcome strangers or when we visit the sick, what are we doing, we are conforming to Christ's law, the law of love, to love God and love our neighbor. He tells us today when we do all these things for the least ones, we are doing them for Him. I have no doubt that you are the sheep, the followers of the Bridegroom, and you do all these things as members of the monastery. But are there times when you as an individual may want to wander in another direction? Maybe only in thought? I know I try to follow Christ, but there are times that I wander in other directions and need to be herded from behind as a goat is. We are being given a great opportunity during this upcoming Lent. [*It may be our last opportunity; we don't know what the future holds for us.] Fasting and caring we can become better sheep, better followers of Christ. We can better love Christ and those He puts in our lives. If we don't do this, He warns us what will happen--and we hear about the final judgement. All of us need to take heed of this warning, and during this Lent become better sheep.

*Sentence not included in typed script but spontaneously added

Saturday, February 4, 2023

God be with you, Bishop Milan

Helping with the fire at Girls Camp
On Sunday, the Eparchy of Parma bids farewell to Bishop Milan Lach, SJ, who has been serving our eparchy for the past 5.5 years. He will begin his new ministry in the Eparchy of Bratislava, Slovakia.

We are so grateful for these years of care, zeal, sacrifice and love for our monastery and the flock of the Eparchy of Parma. Bishop Milan completed for us the process of canonically establishing our monastery, which Bishop John Kudrick had begun. He tonsured several of us as rasophore and stavrophore nuns. He visited the monastery regularly to give us conferences and to pray with us. He delighted in attending youth activities, especially ones that involved a campfire! At the Eparchy's Family Camp and sometimes for the Mariapoch Pilgrimage, he would camp out on the grounds of the shrine along with the families. He told us that when he first came to our eparchy he was shocked by the small turnout at the Mariapoch Pilgrimage and other events, but the Lord told Him, "This is My Church," and after that he realized that numbers don't matter. He was content to be with his flock and to zealously serve them. 

Please keep Bishop Milan in your prayers as he begins his new ministry and faces the challenges of the Church and culture in Slovakia. Please also pray for our new Apostolic Administrator Bishop Kurt Burnette, who is laden with the care of four eparchies: three in the U.S. and one in Canada. May God provide for our Byzantine Ruthenian Church here in North America as well as in Europe, healing our spiritual ills and helping us to be witnesses of the love of God to a broken world.

Our monastery's canonical establishment

Mother Iliana's life profession

The life profession of Mother Natalia & Mother Petra

The blessing of our new poustinias

The tonsure of Sr. Onuphria


Save the Date: the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete and Bridegroom Matins


Glory to Jesus Christ!

As the Great Fast is quickly approaching, we'd like to invite you to a couple of specific opportunities to pray with us in the coming months, so please save these dates. We'd also be very glad if you would invite your friends and family to pray these services with us. 

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete:

Join us for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete on the evening of Thursday, March 23rd, 2023. Keep an eye out for an announcement with more details, including the location as well as a schedule for the evening. 

The hundreds of prostrations in this service unite our body and soul as we repent of our sins and experience God’s mercy. We will also listen to the life of St. Mary of Egypt and venerate her relic. 

The opportunity for the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession) will hopefully be available. 

All are invited to come for part or all of the Canon, even if you are not physically able to participate in the prostrations. The duration of the Canon is approximately 3.5 hours. 

Please keep an eye out for a further post with more details as well as the opportunity to RSVP. 

Bridegroom Matins on Great and Holy Wednesday

We invite you to join us for Bridegroom Matins, our patronal commemoration, on Great & Holy Wednesday, April 5th, at 8:00 a.m. in our monastery chapel.

The readings and hymns of this service rouse the heart to conversion and vigilance for the coming of the Bridegroom and offer strength to His Bride the Church as we journey with Him in His passion. 

A light breakfast will follow.

Please keep an eye out for the opportunity to RSVP for this event as well. 

Other Opportunities:

We'll be praying the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts on Clean Monday and on Wednesdays and Fridays of the Great Fast in our monastery chapel. Please check the Liturgy and Events Schedule tab above for times and updates to confirm we're able to have it at the monastery.