On October 14, the church celebrates the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. On this occasion, the Ukrainian Catholic parish in the city of Newcastle celebrated its Patronal feast.
The celebration began with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which was presided over by Bishop Mykola, Eparch of Melbourne, co-celebrated by Fr. Simon Ckuj Protosykell of the Eparchy, Fr. Pavlo Berezniuk, who has been an administrator in this parish for 14 years, Fr. Andrii Mykytyuk, Syncell for Laity, Fr. Lawrence Foote OP, Fr. Ruslan Babiy and Fr. Justin McDonnell. The faithful gathered in large numbers for such a celebration with so many priests has rarely been celebrated in this small parish, as there are long distances between parishes in Australia. As Father Pavlo Berezniuk joked, “I have never seen such a solemn celebration of a parish feast in my 14 years of service in this parish.”
In his homily to the faithful, Bishop Mykola emphasized that “the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos is highly revered by our people, since from the very beginnings of Kyivan Rus. Today there are many churches dedicated to the Mother of God. In these days, when the enemy is bombing our cities and villages, this Feast has acquired a special significance. Today, we entrust our Motherland to the mighty Protection of the Mother of God, and especially our soldiers, doctors, chaplains, volunteers and all people, in the words of the festal Kondak: “Today the Virgin stands in the church and with the choir of the saints invisibly prays to God for us “.
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At the end of the Divine Liturgy, all those present prayed a memorial service – Panachyda for all the people and soldiers who died for an independent Ukraine. Afterwards, as is a long standing tradition, everyone gathered,as one Christian family, for a meal in the Parish Hall where they could sing, speak with each other and have fun. The meal began with a prayer led by Bishop Mykola. The proceedings were led by Ms. Oleksandra Boitsun.
FatherPavlo Berezniuk, administrator of the parish welcomed everyone and Miss. Lesya Bobnyuk, representative of the community of the Association of Ukrainian Communities in New South Wales greeted the Parish community from the wider Ukrainian Community in New South Wales. In turn, Bishop Mykola urged all those present to always remember in their prayers our soldiers and the Ukrainian people, who are currently suffering from war.
At the end of the celebration, everyone sang the prayer for peace in Ukraine “O God, Great and Mighty”.