The Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma (USA) held a Lenten Lock-In Retreat for its Youth

Thursday, 03 March 2016, 14:39
February 27-28, 2016 St. Anne’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, Ohio (U.S.A.) of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma hosted an annual Lenten Lock-In Retreat for the eparchial youth. This year's theme of spiritual renewal was “Fighting the good fight of faith.”

Over 55 youth, young adults, youth leaders, chaperones, clergy and a consecrated person from the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma gathered together under the headship of its shepherd, Bishop Bohdan Danylo, at St. Anne’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH on February 27-28, 2016 for the 7th annual “Lock-In” Youth Retreat with the theme “Fighting the good fight of faith.” The retreat, planned by the Eparchial Youth Committee under the leadership of Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, pastor of St. Anne’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH and Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH and coordinated by Deacon Myron Spak from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA was an opportunity for the eparchy’s young people to pray, reflect, meet others and take time to focus on their spiritual journey to Pascha.

The retreat began with a service project at the Assumption Village and Marian Living Center in North Lima, OH.  The Assumption Village and Marian Living Center is a Catholic long-term nursing facility that provides assisted living and nursing home care services for seniors at all levels of health and independence.  Tom McGiffin, the home’s Spiritual Care Director, welcomed the group, introduced the staff, and explained mission statement.  The youth were able to meet and greet many of the seniors, share stories, play card games, and sing songs with the residents. Fr. Lubomir Zhybak commented that the young people shared their youthful vigor with the elderly and they in turn shared their wisdom with the youth; in the end result, everyone shared Christ with each other.

Renée Shumay of Saint Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, Solon, OH and of the New Catholic Generation YouTube channel provided an interactive presentation focused on her journey to holiness and the Christian experience from the youth perspective.  Renée played jocular clips and vignettes from her YouTube channel that highlighted the challenges and situations that young Catholics experience.  Fr. Jason Charron, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA and of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Ukrainian Catholic Church in Wheeling, WV encouraged the young people to ‘fight the good fight of faith’ in their lives by choosing to live out the Gospel, when confronted with social pressures. Miron Kerul-Kmec, Jr., a young iconographer originally from Slovakia, provided a testimony on how perseverance and dedication to his craft helped him achieve a personal and spiritual goal.  Alex Lischak, an actively involved young person from St. Anne’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH, provided a heartfelt and poignant presentation explaining the ‘fight of faith,’ reviewing the mission and the challenges.  A clergy “Question and Answer” session was also provided and was met with humor, candor, and catechetical lessons.   

On Saturday night, the vigil of Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, the retreat participants took part in a moving Great Vespers service led by Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak with the youth cantoring under the guidance of Fr. Joseph Matlak, Assistant Pastor of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of Josaphat in Parma, OH. The youth were also given an opportunity to participate in the Mystery of Repentance. Fr. Bryan Eyman, Pastor of St. Athanasius the Great Byzantine Catholic Church in Indianapolis, IN, provided a poignant and stirring Examination of Conscience, helping the retreatants to focus and prepare for confession. Bishop Bohdan and several priests from various parishes were present and accessible for the Mystery of Repentance, including Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, Fr. Jason Charron, Fr. Joseph Matlak and Fr. Bryan Eyman.

On Sunday, the youth participated in the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Anne’s Church, presided over by Bishop Bohdan Danylo and concelebrated by Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, Fr. Bryan Eyman, Deacon Myron Spak, Deacon Tom Bury of St. Anne’s Church in Austintown, OH and Deacon Gregory Loya of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, OH. Bishop Bohdan delivered an inspiring homily, inviting everyone not to be afraid to take up his cross and follow Christ on His life-giving path, and thanked all of the volunteers that helped to plan and run the retreat.

Many helped to make the event a tremendous success. Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, Deacon Tom Bury and the parishioners of St. Anne’s Church provided a warm welcome for all of the retreatants and volunteers.  Dave and Debbie Patoray worked tirelessly to prepare all the meals for the attendants. Motria Stachur and Biagio Oriti handled all aspects of registration, Alex Lischak served as Master of Ceremonies, Joseph Levy and Michael Levy provided audio/visual support, Bohdan Mykhailiv coordinated evening activities, and several others provided assistance with event operations.

The 2016 “Lock-In” Retreat was a wonderful, prayerful, and engaging event for our youth.  We pray for God’s continual blessings on the youth and the volunteers of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, OH!  The next eparchial youth Lock-In Retreat will take place March 18-19, 2017 at St. Anne’s Church in Austintown, OH.

Department of Information of the UGCC

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