Ukrainian Catholics worship together, determined to keep age-old liturgy alive
MOUNT ANGEL, OREGON — A shady drive, lined with mossy Douglas fir trees, leads to the Goff family farm, with its century-old farmhouse and groves of filberts.
On the last Sunday in August the afternoon scene included the glint of the altar servers’ gold robes, chairs arranged under birches, masked worshippers patiently waiting and clutches of children making the most of the last moments before the liturgy began.
Father Richard Janowicz stood in prayer at a makeshift altar.
The priest, longtime pastor of Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Springfield, made the trip to the Goff farm to celebrate a Mass with the Andrey Sheptytsky Ukrainian Catholic Apostolate of Portland. This was the group’s first anniversary.
After the Mass, Father Janowicz described the apostolate as being a little like the hopeful, would-be founders of a mission that doesn’t yet exist. “They have a great dedication to keeping the prayer life and to grow, despite the many challenges of this past year,” he said.
The apostolate includes people like Nada Holovcuk, who worshipped in Ukrainian-rite churches in Bosnia as a child.
“When you go to a service you grew up with, it’s close to your heart,” she said.