PYLYPIVKA (ADVENT) PASTORAL OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC HIERARCHY OF THE U.S.A. TO OUR CLERGY, HIEROMONKS AND BROTHERS, RELIGIOUS SISTERS, SEMINARIANS AND BELOVED FAITHFUL
Glory to Jesus Christ!
“Pylypivka” or Philip’s Fast that begins on November 14th is upon us. It is a time of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are once again called to embark on a journey to welcome Emmanuel among us! In a short forty days we will celebrate the Feast of Nativity of Our Lord. At the Matins of the Nativity we will sing:
“Christ is born, let us glorify Him. Christ comes down from heaven; let us go out and meet Him. Christ lives on earth, let us exalt in joy. All you faithful sing to the Lord, for He has been glorified.”
Hirmos 1, Canon Matins of the Nativity of Our Lord.
How can we prepare ourselves to welcome God among us? How will we glorify Him? Can this Christmas season be a profound and spiritual experience for me?
In order to properly prepare to meet Christ on His feast of the Nativity, Mother Church is giving us forty days to challenge ourselves to live our Christian calling and vocation: to deepen knowledge of the Word of God, to live a life of community and personal prayer, and to perform acts of charity and mercy both in the church, and in the world. In these three points, we can describe our vocation as a Christian, as well as the vocation of the entire Church.
If every parish is called to be a place to encounter the living Christ, then Christ the Teacher must have a central place in our lives and our parish life. Now is the time to daily set aside time for reading the Sacred Scripture and to meditate upon it. We are also called to learning of Divine truth, the truths of the Christian faith and the foundations of Christian life.
Gathered together “at the breaking of the bread”, that is at the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we are mystically united among ourselves, and are also united with Christ’s sacrifice, offered to God the Father for us and by us. The Eucharist is the center of the Christian life. The parish – the community gathers for the “breaking of the bread,” that is for the Eucharistic service. The Eucharist is at the same time the culmination of the parish life and also the source of all its spiritual blessings. Let us invite a friend or neighbor to join us for the liturgical services in our parish community.
During these days, we are called both personally, and as a member of the community to pray, for oneself, and for others, to offer one’s self as a sacrifice to God, to forgive others and to ask God for forgiveness, to bless God and to be a blessing for others.
What is most important: all of us together are called to strive for holiness, to be a truly holy people. What does this mean? In parish life, every liturgical service and all of our liturgical practices and prayer life is to promote the sanctification of the time and the place where we are, and we ourselves become sanctified as well, as a gift consecrated to God. That is why during the time of preparation for coming of our Lord we should guard oneself from sin, and strive to grow in the virtue of moderation, purity of body and soul, according to one’s state in life.
We are also called to look beyond ourselves and be of service to others, especially the less fortunate among us. During the Philip Feast let us look at our community and find those who need our help and assistance. We can visit the sick, assist the poor, give food for the hungry, care for orphans, support those who suffer injustice, promote peace, and offer comfort for those grieving. We can perform all of this in our community where we live and work, as the needy live among us.
Let us start this season together! Let us pray, meditate upon the Word of God, sacrifice for one another and trust in God.
Then with joy we will be able to welcome God among us!
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainian
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States
+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM
Eparch of Stamford
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+ Bohdan J. Danylo (author)
Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia