Students Visit Ukrainian-Greek Church
Nearly 300 students from a Roman Catholic high school in South Bend, Ind., took a spiritual field trip recently to St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Ind., where Fr. George (Yuri) Kuzara, C.PP.S., is in ministry.
Nearly 300 students from a Roman Catholic high school in South Bend, Ind., took a spiritual field trip recently to St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Ind.
There, they watched, participated and learned as Fr. George (Yuri) Kuzara, C.PP.S., offered the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom.
Fr. Yuri, a Missionary of the Precious Blood, has biritual faculties for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. He brings to the Precious Blood Community a unique view of Precious Blood spirituality, as seen through the lens of the Eastern Church.
The sophomore theology students, from St. Joseph Roman Catholic High School, traveled to Mishawaka on February 13-14, 150 students per day, along with their teachers. They filled the 100-year-old church, eager and open to learn about the spiritual, theological and liturgical tradition of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church.
It was a unique experience for most, as all but one of the students said it was their first visit to a Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church. Each day began with an explanation of what the students would experience, along with instructions on how to prepare for and receive Holy
Communion, venerate icons, stand attentively throughout the service, and sing along to the petitions throughout the liturgy.
There was a strong emphasis on how liturgy literally means “work of the people,” and how it is essential that everyone participate, both verbally and non-verbally, through their singing, posture, and attentiveness. Also emphasized was the preparation, spiritual and physical, that goes into the celebration of the Divine Liturgy—from the midnight fast to the service of Proskomedia, the sense of preparedness and worthiness to approach our Lord and Savior in the Mystery of the Eucharist. The students were receptive to this information, and were very engaged throughout the Divine Liturgy as they joined the cantors and parishioners of Saint Michael in singing through the service heartfully and prayerfully, according to Matthew Kenenitz, a subdeacon, diaconal candidate and cantor from St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church in Chicago, who helped facilitate the event.
Following the Divine Liturgy, there was a question-and-answer session moderated by Fr. Yuri, Matthew Kenenitz, and Brett Perkins, parishioner and coordinator for these retreat days. Questions ranged from the set-up of the temple, to the Mysteries of Christian initiation, to differences between the Christian East and West, to “where are the Stations of the Cross,” to “why do you use so much smoke (incense)?”
“It was an amazing experience to see the minds of young Catholics working to piece together what they learned in class in combination to what they observed and experienced while at Saint Michael’s parish,” Kenenitz wrote. “Their observations and questions allowed for theologically and spiritually rich answers to tie together elements of church history, fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and even discussion of secular history and its effect on the Church. We also discussed the importance of the term catholic, how it means universal, and that there are many Churches that comprise the Catholic Church."