WHO ARE WE?
In the 1920’s several immigrant Ukrainian families of the Greco-Catholic Faith (Orthodox Christians in communion with Rome) settled in the east end of Toronto and began to slowly coalesce into a small community. In 1927, a Heritage School was established for their children. They met socially and congregated for worship at various locations, depending on the availability of a priest.
In 1937, with the purchase of a church building on King Street, a small but definite community of eight Ukrainian Greco-Catholic faithful was established, under the name “Sacred Heart Parish.” Beginning with the feast of Holy Pascha, the faithful gathered every Sunday at the new site to celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist.
The parish received canonical approval in 1938 by Most Rev. Kyr Ladyka, Bishop of Winnipeg. In 1948, the parish became part of the newly formed Eparchy of Toronto, under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada, Kyr Isidore Borecky. The name of the parish was officially changed to “Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church.”
The word “parish” comes from the Greek word ‘paroikia,’ which literally meant ‘neighbourhood,’ ‘district,’ or ‘group of dwellings.’ In the Roman Empire, neighbourhoods, or paroikia, were organized into provinces, provinces into dioceses (eparchies) and dioceses into prefectures. In the religious context however, the Greek word ‘paroikia’ took on a different meaning. Paroikia was the stay or sojourn of one who is not a citizen in a strange place, for example, the stay of the Israelites in Egypt at the time of exile (Exodus 19:10; 1 Peter 1:17).
Holy Eucharist Parish is a community of Christian faithful of the Byzantine Rite established in the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto, under the spiritual leadership of his Excellency, Most Rev. Bishop Stephen Chmiliar.
Holy Eucharist Parish is a COMMUNITY of God’s people, children of our Heavenly Father, “the Body of Christ,” the assembly of men, women and children on journey to the promised land — the kingdom of Heaven. By virtue of their baptism, the faithful have become citizens and heirs of the kingdom of God, living in the world. They are “parishioners”, those who sojourn together en route to the kingdom of their Heavenly Father; in the world, but not of the world.
The parish is open and welcoming to all peoples seeking commitment to Christ and salvation. All are welcome!
The parish community belongs to the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is His church, His community, the assembly of those whom He has called. “You did not chose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16). The word “church” is derived from the New Testament Greek word ekklesia, which means ‘the assembly of those who are called.’ It is Christ Who builds His Church. The parish is the assembly and union of those whom our Lord, Jesus Christ has called and continues to call through the Holy Spirit. The care of his flock is entrusted to the bishop and his priests.
OUR ROLE & VOCATION
Worship and Prayer
Every parish is called to be a community of prayer and worship; to offer praise and thankgiving to our Heavenly Father through liturgical and private prayer, through the celebration of the sacraments; to intercede for the needs of the faithful, the entire Church throughout the world, for the needs of all; and to atone for personal and communal sin. It is through worship and prayer that the community allows God to bring about the sanctification of individual believers and the entire community.
Centrality of the Eucharist
The centre and heart of all parish life is the MOST HOLY EUCHARIST. The celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. Through it we participate in everything that Christ has done, is doing, and will do for us. It is at the Divine Liturgy that God the Father molds the assembly of His children, using His two hands, the Word — Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, to create a single loaf of bread, the Body of Christ, His Church.
The Role of the Holy Spirit
“Send down Your Holy Spirit upon us . . .” (Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom). It is the Holy Spirit who gives life to the parish, who unites the members into one body and communion with Christ. It is the Holy Spirit Who annoints, teaches, guides, convicts of sin, purifies, illumines and sanctifies. He is the Treasury of blessings and the Giver of many gifts to the parish, empowering the community it to fulfills its ministry. “When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on His own, but will seak only what He hears, and will announce to you the things to come.” (John 1:13)
Devotion to Mary
In it’s spiritual journey, the parish community is accompanied by our heavenly Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. To her do we consecrate our community, our families and ourselves. We entrust all things to her, because she is the sure guide to our steps on our journey to the Kingdom of God.
Proclamation of the Gospel
The parish community is called to proclaim the Word of God to individuals, the community, and to those outside of the community. This is done through the liturgy, preaching, catechetical education for children and adults, retreats, conferences, bible study, by personal contacts and daily efforts of all members of the parish.
Holy Eucharist Church, as a parish community, is empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring to Gospel to all people, of every age. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Service and Koinonia
Rooted in Christ, the parish community is to be a living witness of love, which the Lord commanded. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:34-35)
Every individual and the parish as a whole, must seek to be a servant who waits upon the Lord. We are to be at the service of our God, open to hear His voice and ready to respond to His will; at His service and the service of our neighbour.
This service of love is to manifest itself in worship (the Service of God, Sluzhba Bozha), in spiritual joy, hospitality, concern for the sick, the elderly and those in need.
The parish community must strive to be a witness of the communal life (koinonia) that exists within the Holy Trinity. The life of the parish must reflect the life of the Holy Trinity. The Greek word koinonia means communion, sobornost, fellowship, brotherly unity, participation and sharing in or of something. The parish community is in communion with God. It participates in the life of the Most Holy Trinity, which is eternal Life. It must strive to be an icon of this unity, fellowship and sobornost that exist within God Himself.
CONSECRATION TO MARY
O Virgin Mary, most holy Sovereign Lady and Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mother of Mercy and Refuge of Sinners, we consecrate ourselves to you in a very special way. To you we entrust our life, our vocation, our family and our parish.
Today, we renew our baptismal commitment to live a life of holiness and obedience to God’s commands, united to your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, and to his beloved bride, the Church.
Strenghten us, O Virgin Mary, in the true faith; rescue us from the evil one, sustain us in all purity and righteousness, so that we may always be children of light, sealed by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Protect each of us with your prayers until the end of time, so that being saved by your help and intercession, we may give glory, praise, thanksgiving and honour for all, to the Most Holy Trinity, One God and Creator of all, now and for ever and ever. Amen.