St. Mary’s events include Divine Liturgy, veneration of relics
By Josh Tng
Ukrainian Catholics in Vancouver are about to celebrate an historic occasion – the 400th anniversary of one of the oldest Ukrainian Catholic monastic orders.
“This anniversary is a special time for all members of the Order of St. Basil the Great of St. Josaphat. (It’s) the 400th anniversary of the founding of our order in Ukraine,” said Father Joseph Pidskalny, OSBM, the superior of the Basilian monastery at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Vancouver.
It was in 1617 when the future saint, Bishop Josaphat Kuncevic, together with Metropolitan Joseph Veliamin Rutsky, made substantial reforms to the monastic life of that time, said Father Pidskalny.
Together, the two clerics organized five independent monasteries, combining them into a single monastic order under one general superior. The Order of St. Basil the Great of St. Josaphat was formed, though the name is commonly shortened to read the Basilian Fathers.
“We are always reminded to be ever thankful for the spiritual treasures that have been bestowed upon each of us as members of the Order of St. Basil the Great,” wrote Father Genesio Viomar, OSBM, the order’s present general superior, via email to The B.C. Catholic.
“This celebration is to be a spiritual renewal for each member, to go forward in faith and trust in the Lord as did the members of those first monasteries that joined to form one order.”
The Basilians’ 400th celebration coincides with two other anniversaries in the Ukrainian Catholic Church: the 380th anniversary of the passing of Metropolitan Rutsky, and the 150th anniversary of the canonization of St. Josaphat.
St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church will host a celebration in honour of the anniversaries March 24-26. A three-day Lenten mission will be led by Father Gabriel Haber, OSBM, the provincial superior of the order.
“This anniversary is for us a time of reflection on what St. Josaphat and Metropolitan Rutsky were able to accomplish, bringing unity to our order,” said Father Pidskalny. “It is to be a time of personal introspection ... each of us being once again grateful for our monastic vocation.”
Father Pidskalny also took the moment to thank God for calling him to Vancouver “to serve him first and foremost as a member of the order. Two of my uncles were also members of the order. Both of them also served in Vancouver at St. Mary's Parish. I have also had the privilege of serving St. Mary's as pastor, and I am so grateful to be able to celebrate this anniversary here in Vancouver.”
“Our order has had a long and beautiful history of working together with the parishioners of St. Mary’s,” he said. “We look forward to many more years of working together.”
The celebrations will begin with a moleben, or prayer for the welfare of the living, to St. Josaphat March 24 at 7 p.m. On March 25 attendees can venerate St. Josaphat’s relics at 7 p.m. Celebrations will conclude March 26 with Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m., followed by a banquet at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Centre.
Refreshments will be served after both the moleben and the veneration of the relics. For tickets or additional information, call the St. Mary’s parish office at 604-879-5830.