WASHINGTON – Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and commentator, who has spent most of her career writing about the historic developments in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and Russia, was honored with the 2017 Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation Award for her work and its effect on Ukraine.
NEW YORK – The Ukrainian Museum’s benefit event “Fall for Art: Soirée & Art Auction” on September 30 was a resounding success, as more than 150 friends and supporters of the museum attended the event and many of the guests participated in the lively auction of fine artwork.
Board member Alla Leshko worked tirelessly on organizing this special event with the invaluable support of her husband, Prof. Jaroslaw Leshko, former president of the board of trustees, and Daria Merhle. In addition to obtaining donations of artwork for the auction, they handled many of the complex details involved in organizing such an elegant affair. Ms. Leshko made it clear, however, that “it couldn’t have been done without the steadfast assistance of other board members and museum staff, and the numerous volunteers who contributed in so many ways.”
BOSTON – More than 150 supporters of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) of Lviv gathered in Boston’s Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church after the last liturgy on Sunday, September 24, for a special concert of sacred and secular music by the 22 voices of the Yevshan Ukrainian Vocal Ensemble drawn from the greater Hartford Connecticut area under the direction of Alexander Kuzma and under the auspices of the Boston Friends of UCU.
MIAMI – The highlight of the Christmas season for many families in Florida and out-of-state visitors is the annual Christmas pageant in Disney World in Orlando. The park turns into a fantasy world of Christmas experiences through colorful costuming, lighting extravaganzas and musical programs. The Candlelight Processional is the highlight of the festivities: a parade of Disney characters, a choir of 300-plus singing the most beloved American carols and spectacular fireworks afterwards. Miami’s choir of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church was invited by Disneyworld to try out for the Candlelight Processional. After submitting a video of several carols to the auditioning committee, choir director Donna Maksymowich-Waskiewicz announced several weeks later that the choir was selected to be part of the Disney Choir and perform in the concert. The choir was pleased to accept the invitation since there was competition from other choirs.
COHOES, N.Y. – On a gloomy, windswept afternoon commensurate with the sentiment of this solemn occasion, over 150 people gathered at a small memorial park on Pulaski Street in Cohoes, to remember a tragedy that took the lives of millions of their countrymen 85 years ago: the Stalin-orchestrated Famine-Genocide in Ukraine known as the Holodomor. With U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and New York State Assemblyman John MacDonald in attendance, the ceremony on Sunday, November 5, began with a requiem service performed by clergy of three Capital District churches: Father Vladimir Marusceac of Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Cohoes, Father Vasyl Dovgan of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Troy and Deacon Thomas Gutch of St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Watervliet. The service was followed by the recitation of a poem – dedicated to the over 7 million victims of Stalin’s regime who were intentionally starved to death in Ukraine to break the independent will of the Ukrainian people – by sisters Ksenia and Solomiya Valihunda.
OTTAWA – The Ottawa screening of the award-winning feature documentary film “Recovery Room,” organized by the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) Ottawa-Gatineau branch, was held at the City of Ottawa Centrepointe Theater Archives on October 19. Opening remarks were given by UNF branch co-president Melania Buba. The film’s producers, Yurij Luhovy and Zorianna Hrycenko from Montreal, also spoke. Mr. Luhovy described some of the many challenges Adriana Luhova, the film’s director, had in filming in the operating room in Kyiv, and the challenges he had in editing the hours of remarkable film footage and interviews that she shot. Ms. Hrycenko mentioned that the documentary helps bring public attention to the ongoing war, and that the film reinforces the efforts of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian World Congress, the Canadian government and many community organizations in trying to help Ukraine.
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The 78th annual convention of the League of Ukrainian Catholics (LUC), held under the slogan “Diakonia – Serving One’s Neighbor, Serving Christ,” was hosted at the Genetti Best Western Hotel on October 6-8. The convention was hosted by the North Anthracite Council of the LUC and was attended by clergy, laypersons and monastics. Also joining the convention delegates were Bishop John Bura, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, who is based in Washington, and Bishop Andriy Rabiy, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia. The convention reflected the pastoral program “vibrant parish,” approved by the 2011 Synod of Bishops.
CENTRALIA, Pa. – Only a few structures still stand in what was Centralia, a town in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania. Even fewer are visible through the tree cover from the top of an adjacent mountain overlooking what was once a thriving community. The most notable and recognizable structure is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, whose bright blue domes rise out of the foliage on the side of the mountain. Though all but seven of the town’s residents relocated because of the ongoing fire in the anthracite coal mine below its surface, the church continues to serve a successful and thriving parish.
HILLSIDE, N.J. – New York Yankees legend and 57-year resident of Hillside, N.J., Phil Rizzuto (a.k.a. The Scooter), would have been 100 years old on September 25. Sixty years ago, in 1957, Rizzuto was one of the early benefactors of the building fund of Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hillside – despite having no ties to the parish other than being a resident of the town. To honor Rizzuto and to show appreciation of his past generosity, on Sunday, September 24, the Hillside parish offered the liturgy intentions for him. Immediately after the liturgy, Ann Pettigrew, president of the Hillside Historical Society, gave a captivating speech about Rizzuto’s storied life and her own personal accounts of having known the baseball great and his wife, Cora, very well. She also brought several memorabilia to church from the Phil Rizzuto Exhibit collection housed in the Woodruff House of the Hillside Historical Society, of which Rizzuto was an active and dedicated member.
PARMA, Ohio – On Sunday, September 17, St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, joyfully continued the tradition of welcoming new altar boys at the altar. Following special prayers and vesting in their robes, they were presented with icons from the parish’s senior chapter of the Ukrainian Orthodox League, as well as certificates of recognition of their first day as altar servers. Pictured above (from left) are: Landon Mroczka, Kyrylo Mahlay and Tyler Widmor. Graduating altar servers were honored for their years of service with plaques of recognition.