ugcc.org.ua - On Sunday, March 19, 2017 – Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross – St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, Ohio of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma hosted a luncheon for the residents and staff of Youngstown’s Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. The event was the parish’s community outreach project as part of St. Anne Church’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year.
About 150 people from the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma and beyond took part on March 19, 2017 in a luncheon at St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH in honor of residents and staff of the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley in Youngstown, OH. The outreach project, planned by the parish under the leadership of its pastor, Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak and Deacon Tom Bury, was part of the church’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year that also coincided in the Ukrainian Catholic Church with the year of diakonia, dedicated to the service to one’s neighbor.
The day began with an informative presentation in the church by the staff and residents of the Rescue Mission under the leadership of its current Executive Director, Mr. Jim Echement. It was followed by the celebration of a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, presided over by Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Eparch of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma and concelebrated by Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, Fr. Bryan Eyman, pastor of St. Athanasius Byzantine Catholic Church in Indianapolis, IN, Deacon Myron Spak from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA, Deacon Trevor Fernandes from St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in Rossford, OH, and Deacon Gregory Loya from St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, OH. The Eucharistic celebration, which also concluded the annual youth lock-in retreat, traditionally held at St. Anne Church during the third Saturday and Sunday of Lent, in addition to the retreat’s participants, was likewise attended by the guests from the Rescue Mission, parishioners of St. Anne Church and Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH as well as by some other visitors. In his homily during the Liturgy, Bishop Bohdan underlined the importance of serving one’s neighbors, especially the less fortunate ones, also accentuating the fact that it was Christ through His cross, Who saved mankind and not any human wishes.
After the Liturgy, everyone was welcomed to the adjacent parish hall for the delicious luncheon, prepared by the church’s parishioners. Special gratitude is due to the following people of St. Anne’s without whom the luncheon would have not been possible: Deacon Tom Bury’s wife Charlene and their son Cole; Lillian Yasnowski and her son Paul; Brandon and Brittany Bury; Myron and Tammy Lischak and their son Alex; Brian and Fran Chadwick; Paul Nachim; Carole Elias; Carol Kalosky and Joyce Budinsky. St. Anne Church’s parishioners also collected two big barrels of various items that are in the biggest demand at the mission.
Reflecting on this special event, Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak noted: “When the Lord saved mankind, He was not waiting for men to reach out to Him, but He was the One, Who reached out to us first. It’s so easy nowadays – in fact, it’s always been – to be a Christian in word. The challenge comes, when one has to put his faith in practice. Most of the people in the world are fortunate enough to have roof over their heads and food on their table. However, there are people out there, who, for various reasons, are less fortunate than most of us are. It is namely those people, who have the same dignity as we do and whom the Lord loves with the same love as He loves us, that we have the duty to reach out to and to help. It is love and not judgment that we are called to direct to them. Hence, it is my sincere hope that through this luncheon that we held for them in our parish we were able to convey to our brothers and sisters at the Rescue Mission a message of the good news that the Lord loves them, that we love them and that the doors of our church are always open to them – not just during Lent, not just during the year of diakonia that we, Ukrainian Catholics, are celebrating these days, but always. And that’s exactly how we all would be able to fulfill our Christian vocation of love of our Lord and neighbor, responding thereby to our Lord, Who reached out to us first.”
The solemn celebration of St. Anne Church’s 50th anniversary is to take place on Sunday, June 25, 2017 – the day, when the church was blessed and dedicated by late Archbishop Ambrose Senyshyn of Philadelphia back in 1967 – with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy followed by a banquet in the parish hall.
Note: Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is a faith-based emergency shelter based in Youngstown, OH, that provides food, counseling, support services, and Christ-centered outreach for disadvantaged men, women and children regardless of background. Mr. Jim Echement is the current Executive Director of the mission.