Guest readers enhance afternoon presentation at cathedral
As the days of Pascha drew to a close, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Munhall, Pa. provided a joyous gathering space for the Pittsburgh Byzantine Catholic Archieparchial Choir’s program of seasonal songs and readings May 1 – the final Sunday of the 2016 paschal season. Archbishop William and Cathedral Rector Father Dennis Bogda welcomed the faithful and friends in attendance for the 7th such presentation by the PBCAC, under the direction of Darlene Fejka. Special guest readers were Very Rev. Robert Pipta, Rector of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, and priests of the Eparchy of Mukachevo (Ukraine) Very Rev. Vasyl Polyak and Rev. Oleh Seremchuk.
The Mukachevo fathers were joined in song near the conclusion of the program by fellow clergy Rev. Vasyl Banyk and Rev. Mykhaylo Shykyndia as the four offered a sublime rendition of the paschal irmos, “Svitisja, Svitisja Novy Jerusalime.” A special feature of the mid-afternoon assembly was participation by the audience, made possible in part thanks to the distribution of program booklets which contained musical notation for many of the songs presented, encouraging all in attendance to lift their voices in song with the Choir. And that, they did – from the opening hymn “Sohlasno Zaspivajme/Let Us Join and Sing Together” to the closing hymn, the most popular melody of “Christos Voskrese/Christ is Risen from the Dead.”
A hospitality reception with light fare and refreshments in the lower level of the Cathedral followed the program. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and greet program participants, choir members, and other clergy in attendance, including Archeparchy’s Protosyncellus Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich, who also acted as official photographer for the festivities.
Accompanying the four Mukachevo fathers were their families – wives and children – who enjoyed socializing as they also honed their English conversational skills. Father Vasyl Polyak, who will be entering his third year of service in the Archeparchy, is pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Northern Cambria and administrator of SS. Peter & Paul Church in Patton, both in Pennsylvania, and also serves as Protopresbyter of the Johnstown Protopresbytery. Fathers Banyk, Seremchuk and Shykyndia assist in several Pittsburgh area churches as they await parish assignments.
Two additional priests of the Eparchy of Mukachevo, Father Vasyl Symyon (serving St. Mary, Weirton, W.Va. and St. John the Baptist, Avella, Pa.) and Father Mykhaylo Farynets (serving Infant of Prague, Boardman and St. Nicholas, Youngstown, both in Ohio) were unable to participate in the choir event.
The thirty-plus members of Archieparchial Choir thank Archbishop William for his continued patronage and support of their ministry, as well as Father Dennis and the Cathedral parish, Father Robert Pipta, the Mukachevo fathers, and all who attended the 2016 Paschal Recital.