115th Anniversary at St. Peter and Paul Parish, Carnegie PA
The 115th anniversary of Saints Peter and Paul parish in Carnegie, PA took place over the weekend of November 3-4th. It was a very joyous occasion with a full schedule of activities. Long before the events began, parishioner Dr. Steven Sivulich began holding a 50/50 raffle at every coffee hour. His goal was to use the proceeds of the raffle to cover every member of the parish family at the banquet celebration. With his tireless efforts and the generosity of the parishioners, who often donated their winnings back to the funds, the parish was able to put on a full banquet without charging for tickets.
On Saturday, November 3rd, an Heirarchal Divine Liturgy was served by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Fr. John Charest, pastor, Fr. Steven Repa, pastor emeritus, Fr. Timothy Thomson of McKees Rocks, Fr. Mark Swindel of Arnold, Fr. John Haluszczak of Southside Pittsburgh, Fr. Robert Popichak of Slickvile, and Fr. Deacon Evan O’Neil of Carnegie. His Eminence was first greeted by the children of the parish who gave flowers and received blessings. Following the children’s greeting, His Eminence was greeted with bread and salt and words of thanks for his visit and continued prayers for the health of the parish. Fr. John Charest gave the final greeting during which he mentioned how blessed the parish is and how they extend their blessings to the surrounding community. His Eminence apologized for the absence of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel and asked the faithful to keep him in our prayers as the work he is doing is monumental for the life of the church in Ukraine and will glorify God in many ways.
At the start of Divine Liturgy, His Eminence tonsured Stephen Sawchuck Jr. to the rank of reader. After Reader Stephen was vested in a cassock and sticharion, His Eminence took a moment and charged Reader Steven to be reading the scriptures daily and to study their meaning if there are things unclear to him. He also addressed the faithful and reminded them that, they too, should involve themselves with the reading of Holy Scripture on a regular basis and that as witnesses of this tonsure, they are to pray for Reader Steven so that his efforts glorify God.
The Liturgy continued with a melodious back and forth conversation between the deacon and the choir, led by Cindy Mycyk. After reading the Holy Gospel, His Eminence spoke to the faithful and encouraged them to continue their work in our Lord’s vineyard and to prepare the next generation for the same dedication and hard work. As the Liturgy progressed, His Eminence prayed the Litany for the Departed, remembering all the departed priests and deacons who had served at the altar in Carnegie, and all the founders, benefactors, and members of the parish family.
After the conclusion of Liturgy, His Eminence awarded Sherri Walewski and Alice Sivulich the UOC’s centennial award for outstanding service within the church. Both recipients give endlessly of their time and offer a great deal of support to their fellow parishioners as well as their community. They have been and are active in several of the church’s organizations and are always ready and willing to help when called upon. After the awards were bestowed and the choir rang out with “Many Years” for them, the faithful gathered for a small meal in the parish hall. When they were sustained, they made their way to the parish cemetery where His Eminence prayed a panahyda service for all the deceased members of the Saints Peter and Paul parish family. Though the wind was biting and His Eminence still walking with a cane, he made his way to a few of the graves across the cemetery to say prayers and help make the departeds’ memories to be eternal.
Late in the afternoon the parish family gathered at a local restaurant for the banquet feast celebrating 115 years as a parish. The parish president, Archon Howard E. West Jr. spoke about both what was happening in the world 115 years ago as well as the development of the parish throughout the 115 years. Pastor, Fr. John Charest, addressed the group and proclaimed that if Christ is the Cornerstone of the church then faith must be the keystone. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony closed the banquet with words of encouragement and challenge to keep this community going. After his remarks and closing prayer people made their ways home.
Later that evening, the Ukrainian Technological Society was holding their annual banquet to bestow the honor of “Ukrainian of the Year” to Ms. Daria Komichak. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the clergy of Saints Peter and Paul and some of the faithful were able to make it to this banquet to honor Daria. After opening the festivities with a prayer, a 5 course meal was served and the committee presented the “Ukrainian of the Year” award to Daria. The room was captivated by Daria’s life story, of her successes in school and business, of her hard work within the Ukrainian community, and her dedication to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. After Daria finished her remarks, the Ukrainian Technological Society asked His Eminence to give an update and explanation on the work being done for unification of Orthodoxy in Ukraine. After declining to speak, so as not to take away any attention from the guest of honor, His Eminence finally gave in to the pleading and gave both a brief history of how things got to the state they are in as well as an update on the progress that is being made and even an insight into what the next steps will be. Though an impromptu talk, the audience was fully attentive and very much appreciated the information. The night concluded with live music into the evening.
The next day, Sunday, November 4th, provided another opportunity for the faithful to gather at Saints Peter and Paul parish in Carnegie and celebrate Divine Liturgy with His Eminence Metropolitan Antony. Being a Sunday, only Fr. John Charest, Fr. Steve Repa, and Fr. Deacon Evan O’Neil were able to be at the altar with His Eminence. The Liturgy, though without the pomp and circumstance of a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, was prayerful and beautiful. After Liturgy His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, along with the Pittsburgh area clergy, headed to Heinz Chapel at Pittsburgh University to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine. After serving a panahyda alongside the Ukrainian Catholic Bishop, His Grace Bishop Bohdan, His Eminence addressed the crowd and, rather than give the history of the event, he told the story of a personal account he heard. The account emphasized why we must never forget the tragedy of this event. At the conclusion of the talks the clergy solemnly processed out of the chapel along with the laity who were all given a candle to light in memory of the lost lives.
After a very busy weekend the participants of the weekend’s events made their ways back home. The parish of Saints Peter and Paul looks forward to more years of working in the Lord’s vineyard. They’re currently preparing to host the 75th annual UOL Convention in 2022. May our Lord grant them peace, health, and prosperity, for many years!