On Sunday, May 21st, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel returned to the Western PA/Eastern OH area to celebrate another milestone for the family of one of his clerics. Having just baptized Fr. Mykola Zomchak’s daughter, Katherine on May 13, 2023 and serving Liturgy with his flock in Youngstown the following day, His Eminence was in Carnegie, at another St.s Peter and Paul parish to hear the first confession of Fr. John Charest’s son, Sebastian.
His Eminence was greeted in the vestibule of the church with a beautiful bread that decorated with sunflower and wheat embellishments. The group of four children who would be making their first confession listened as Archbishop Daniel explained the Ukrainian custom of greeting someone with bread. The significance of him explaining our traditions to another generation was not lost on the adults as we all work hard to pass on our Ukrainian heritage as it is being persecuted overseas.
Once in the church, Fr. John greeted Archbishop Daniel, reminding His Eminence of how long he’s known Sebastian and that the special bond he feels with him because of how long they’ve known each other. As Archbishop was going to comment on the character of Fr. John prior to seminary, he was interrupted by the blushing priest who was thankful to leave the past in the past. This jovial introduction was the beginning of many smiles to come throughout the day.
As Liturgy began we got to sing, “Christ is risen” for the last Sunday of this Paschal Season. At the reading of the Gospel, Deacon Evan was surrounded by the children who made their first confession, Eleeza and Mila Antolich, Alexander Reiterovych, and Sebastian Charest along with other children from the parish. While the reading was a longer one, all of the children did well holding their candles and paying attention. After the Gospel reading, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel spoke to his flock about spiritual blindness and the blindness that we can get if we’re not exposed to things outside of our norm. He spoke about the days of blindness in the Soviet Union but that when there was an opportunity to look for Christ, he took it and his spiritual blindness was lifted and continues to draw nearer to our Lord every day since his first experience of church.
By the end of Liturgy the packed church was still smiling as the choir sang “Many Years” to His Eminence and then to the First Confession class. Fr. John greeted His Eminence and congratulated him on the 15th anniversary of his episcopate and Archbishop Daniel briefly spoke to the parish about what a blessing it has been to serve in the capacity of a bishop for 15 years now.
When Archbishop made his way to the church hall for the luncheon he stopped by people waiting to get into St.s Peter and Paul’s, “St. Martin’s Closet” and distributed flowers to the waiting people who, though unknowledgeable about just who was giving them flowers, were smiling ear to ear because of the gesture. After greeting parishioners in the hall and getting much needed coffee, His Eminence got to tour “St. Martin’s Closet” to see the efforts made for the Carnegie community through St.s Peter and Paul parishioners.
Archbishop Daniel left church hall with many hugs and giving his blessing to the faithful so that he would be able to make it to St. Vladimir Cemetery in Southside for the 11 year memorial service for His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine of blessed memory. The parish of Carnegie is eager to have Archbishop Daniel return as they celebrate their 120th anniversary in November but are encouraged that they’ll see him plenty of times beforehand at All Saints Camp, the 76th annual UOL Convention, or any time he may be at a close by parish.
Photos by Subdeacon Maksym Zhuravchyk