By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
I would like to introduce you to Fr. Taras Kchik C.Ss.R.. Fr. Taras was born near Lviv in the Ukraine, but from the age of 4 years old he was raised in Toronto, Ontario. Soon after he graduated from high school, he went on a journey of discovery to the Ukraine. There he met for the first time, the Redemptorists. Enamoured with the vision of St. Alphonsus and inspired by the lives of the Redemptorists there, he professed vows with the Redemptorists in the Ukraine. He was ordained as a priest in Canada on December 6, 2013, and assigned to serve in the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in Saskatoon. Still a member of the Redemptorists in the Ukraine, he accepted a new appointment to The Welcome Home in Winnipeg. In the recent appointments of August 2015, he was also appointed as the vocation director for the Yorkton Province of Redemptorists. Fr. Taras and I talked about vocation activities in which we can work together in the new year in Winnipeg and area. No these are not new vocation director uniforms that you see in the picture here. We joined a big event in the life of St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic parish – a pyrogy making bee!
We joined an army of volunteers (pictured at left) who spent all day making 15,300 pyrogies! Lots of demand by people celebrating Christmas dinners!
I also had the opportunity to celebrate the Praznyk of St. Andrew’s Parish. I was impressed by the dedication of the youth in this parish. Some of them served the Divine Liturgy, helped St. Nicholas distribute gifts at the luncheon, then helped wrap gifts all afternoon. These gifts were distributed to children later in the week, at a big Christmas party held for families who are served by The Welcome Home.
In the picture at the right we see Fr. Len Ratushniak, pastor at St. Andrew Parish and some altar servers.
Interestingly, (or in our own humble way, dare we say – proudly) we Redemptorists are hosting a Holy Door during this Year of Mercy, in each of our units across the country! As you can read in another story on our website, a Holy Door was opened recently at St. Patrick’s Church in Toronto. On the fourth Sunday of Advent, a Holy Door was blessed at our parish of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré (pictured at left). AND – in Winnipeg, there was an opening of the Holy Door at St. Joseph parish (pictured at left and below) on Sunday the 20th of December. Bishop Lawrence Huculak, OSBM presided at a beautiful celebration in which the Holy Door was blessed during a Divine Liturgy.
During the weeks leading up to Christmas there has been lots of news about how Canada is welcoming recent newcomers. As you know, the Redemptorists in Canada have always been involved in ministry with people of various languages and cultures who are making the transition into Canada. This ministry is still evident in our missionary centres across Canada. Fr. Peter Chin C.Ss.R., for example, continues to welcome newcomers and also provides pastoral care for those who have now stayed in Canada a long time. Through the ministry of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, people are able to celebrate their Catholic faith in Cantonese, Mandarin, and in English. They are able to pass on Chinese customs and traditions to their children, grandchildren, and to the friends and neighbours who celebrate with them.
This Christmas was especially meaningful as Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai (Society of Don Bosco) who is Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, presided at the midnight Mass.
He enjoyed the fabulous meal, singing, dancing, birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday, Santa Claus who brought gifts for the children, and many more expressions of joy that were shared by the more than four hundred people who gathered for over six hours leading up to the celebration of the midnight mass. And what a celebration it was! (Thanks to O.L.M.C. parishioner Mr. John Lin for the pictures)