Glory to Jesus Christ!
Most Rev. Bishop Peter, Rev. Fathers and Sisters, Dear mourning families of our deceased parishioners in the year 2020.
On behalf of our Parish of Saints Peter and Pauls Cathedral and all the parishioners, please accept our heartfelt and sincere condolences for the loss of your loved ones. Today we are gathered to honour your family members – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends. And we the parishioners also mourn and grieve together with you in this sorrowful time, we are deeply saddened by the loss to your families, and the loss to our community.
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The whole world is living through a pandemic, one we did not expect or were prepared for. The COVID-19 in 2020 changed the world, changed the way we live, brought many challenges, brought illness and death.
For the families and friends who lost their loved ones in the year 2020 were unable to honour them and bury them in the manner we are all accustomed to. We pray that God will give you the strength to endure the pain in your hearts for your great losses.
Every person who goes through illness and death asks the question: what will be left after me? How will the descendants remember my heritage, will my thoughts and dreams be needed by the next generation?
Today we are honoured to be part this memorial service, yes – we will remember our dear departed and their heritage, and we will treasure their thoughts and dreams and learn from them, we will give praise and gratitude to God for each one of these beloved people, they were truly a blessing in our lives, and we will miss them.
I quote the Great Taras Shevchenko in the words of His famous Zapovit, “Do not forget to mention me with a quiet and kind word”!
Over the past years I was blessed to work with our ageing Ukrainian community for the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria. Personally, for me I developed skills, knowledge, understanding, great appreciation, respect, and love for our first generation of people who migrated to Australia after the 2nd World War.
It has been a privilege for me to help and assist them with their needs and concerns with ageing. To listen to them, be compassionate and sympathetic to their stories about their lives, joyous moments, and moments of hardships, to understand why their hands trembled, or they shed a tear when they talked about their courageous lives.
Sometimes it is difficult to help and love an older person when they are sick, weak, dirty, or do not remember. But such people should be loved the most, because old age is not always nice for everyone. I want to emphasize the importance of respect for older people, they have their dignity which is to be respected and support them in their needs.
Each one of these people that we honour today lived their own journey and had a story to share with us. Some lived their life in a more out going way, and some in a quieter way. And each person had a kind heart and tender soul, each person laughed and cried, worked hard, lived and loved until their beautiful heart stopped beating. And their precious souls have ascended to heaven. Please accept our prayers and memories of true patriotic Ukrainians who lived their lives for the glory of God, Ukraine and their families.
We part with our beloved departed with pain, with gratitude, and with love. Their icons will remain in our church and in the community, we pray to God and thank Him for all your gifts, graces and especially for your wonderful lives.
We will remember you, mourn and grieve,
For your soul we ask for eternal peace.
Sleep, our angels, calmly and sweetly.
Eternity will take you into its own hands!
The Kingdom of Heaven and Eternal Memory!
O Mary, Mother of God,
remember us all in your prayers and do not forget us!
I conclude with words of Lesia Ukrainka,
“No, I am alive, I will live forever, I have something in my heart that does not die”!
Theresa Jaworski – 14.3.2021
This post is also available in: Ukrainian