Thursday, September 9, 2010

More than one new beginning this month

September marks the beginning of the school year, our Church’s liturgical year and a return to regular schedules after the summer. This is also a good time to re-evaluate our spiritual goals.

Make frequent and regular participation in church services a goal. Mark feast days on your calendar) (see liturgical calendar on the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada website). If one falls on a workday, aim to attend an evening service. If this is not feasible, celebrate in your home, the “domestic church.”

We can live our faith through daily prayers. Create an icon corner in your home where religious images, Holy Books, photos of departed family members and lit candles lift thoughts towards worship. On a feast day, pray the tropar that pertains to that feast and reflect on its deep theological meaning (see tropars in The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology of Worship available online at the Sheptytsky Institute).

As a wife and mother of six children, a grandmother to four, and school teacher, I’ve learned that even in large families, iti’s possible to maintain a regular liturgical life. Active participation in feast-day rituals enriches our faith and helps root children in theirs.

This month also heralds the first edition of
Soul Food. This bulletin aims to support you in the challenges of living a faith-based life in modern times. Each issue will explore a spiritual theme at a community, family and individual level. Free copies will be available at parishes and by email subscription.

What do you think about Soul Food? Your comments and questions are most welcome as we’d like to make it relevant to your daily life and spiritual needs. Feel free to contact me by email or phone 905-459-8888. --Iryna Galadza

Iryna Galadza is Director of the Toronto Eparchy Catechetical Resource Centre, a teacher, mother, grandmother, and wife of Mitred Archpriest Roman Galadza, pastor of St. Elias Church, in Brampton, Ontario.

First feast day in Church calendar celebrates Mary

The Birth of the Mother of God, celebrated on Sept. 8 (Gregorian ) or Sept. 21 (Julian) is the first major feast day of our Church’s liturgical year.

The great significance of the liturgical year’s first feast becomes apparent when we meditate on the fact that Mary’s birth is the beginning of salvation. She is going to carry God in her womb. It is her cooperation with God that enables Him to become man and that makes us more like God and brings us closer to Him.

In a hymn, on the feast day, we sing: “Your Nativity, O Mother of God has made joy known to all the world, for from you dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God. He abolished the curse and by making death of no effect, He bestowed on us eternal life.”

Like all feast days, this one is celebrated with three services: Vespers (Vechirnia), Matins (Utrennia), and Divine Liturgy (Sluzhba Bozha). Consider attending a service and reading the feast day’s tropar (hymn) at home (see source for tropars above).

At home, in the “domestic church,” place an icon of the Mother of God in your prayer corner. Children can be told the story of Mary, colour icons to distribute to women named after her, or choose to remember her at dinner with a birthday cake.

For more information on this feast day, click here.

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