February 24, 2022

We enter the Great Lenten Fast. Just as the hope of relief from the Pandemic began to grow, the invasion of Ukraine and threat of a larger global war has arisen. Since 1991 the faithful living in Ukraine had the joy of political and religious freedom. The occupation of parts of Lugansk and Donetsk Provinces has already cost 14,00 lives. With the threat of Communist suppression of the entire nation, the shadow of the return to the decades of gloom has returned for the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Catholic members living in the nation of Ukraine.

We pray for our members who have families in Ukraine. Especially, we pray for the families of our ten priests from Ukraine serving in the Pittsburgh Archeparchy as well as for several other priests and religious serving other churches in the United States.

The Great Fast is the season of praying, fasting and almsgiving. We certainly will remember Ukraine in our paying and fasting during the Great Fast. Also, we will take up a collection on the Third Sunday of the Fast for the Church in Ukraine. We ask our parishes to send the collection to the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. We will transfer the offering to the Eparchy of Mukachevo.

We take for granted our religious and political freedom. Although our political system is far from perfect, we are allowed to worship without interference from the government. When we are persecuted for our faith, we can draw courage from the Books of the Old Testament which are filled with stories of the suffering of the people of Israel. Even though they suffered, they remained faithful to the Lord. Their enduring faith was eventually rewarded with the restoration of their people.

We pray to the Lord that the invasion forces will withdraw. But if they do not withdraw, we pray that the Lord will give our people the spiritual strength to endure yet another persecution. It will likely be a time of suffering. We hope and pray that this oppression will be mild and short. And we pray that the Lord will restore their nation and our Church.

Most Reverend William C. Skurla
Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
66 Riverview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15214
(412) 231-4000 Phone | (412)231-1697 Fax


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angles reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. 'But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from demons.

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent