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"SvjatoslavІ believe that this eparchy is going to become one of the most dynamic out of all our eparchies around the world. And here, in the West of America, it will be able to melt the hearts of even those who, perhaps, have lost the connection with their Church, and could help a lot of people with different nationalities to newly reveal the presence of God among us. We have so much to tell the world". His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the UGCC.

Two recent missionary activities of our western North Dakota parishes

The Eparchy of St. Nicholas parishes of western North Dakota recently participated in two separate events celebrating the Divine Liturgy, explaining our apostolic tradition, and teaching about the apostles and fathers of the Church to groups of Catholic students.

In March, the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, invited Fr. Martin Nagy, along with the choirs from St. John the Baptist (Belfield) and St. Demetrius (Fairfield), to address a university class studying the Cappadocian Fathers. Bismarck is in the middle of the state; it’s the capital city. The event included a lecture on theosis by Fr. Martin in the campus chapel, followed by the Divine Liturgy. Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic students from UMary assisted with cantoring during the Divine Liturgy.

Then during Thomas week, St. John the Baptist hosted 150 seventh-grade through ninth-grade students with their teachers, who wanted to learn more about the suffering and the relief efforts in Ukraine, and about the Eastern lung* of the Catholic Church. Students hailed from distant St. Mary's Academy in Bismarck and from nearby Trinity Catholic High School in Dickinson. The students had participated in a Parable of the Talents project for their religion classes. Their projects brought the parable to life as students used their creativity to raise funds, which they donated to our Ukrainian parishes’ humanitarian relief for Ukraine.

Arriving during Pascha time, students learned about pysanky eggs and how to joyfully proclaim “Christ is risen!” and prayed and sang the Divine Liturgy with parishioners. For most students, this was their first encounter with the Eastern Catholic Church, but three students talked about great grandparents and other connections to Ukrainian traditions and faith. Teachers and staff were excited about the event and even created a holy card especially for the day with a print of an icon (written by Fr. Martin) and the prayer of St. Ephrem on the back.

Both events were enriching and enjoyed by all, with a request for more such visits in the future.

*St. John Paul II used the phrase “breathe with two lungs” in his Encyclical letter That they may be one (Ut Unum Sint) in 1995. From paragraph 54 of that Encyclical, we read: “The other event which I am pleased to recall is the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus' (988–1988). The Catholic Church, and this Apostolic See in particular, desired to take part in the Jubilee celebrations and also sought to emphasize that the Baptism conferred on Saint Vladimir in Kyiv was a key event in the evangelization of the world. The great Slav nations of Eastern Europe owe their faith to this event, as do the peoples living beyond the Ural Mountains and as far as Alaska. In this perspective an expression which I have frequently employed finds its deepest meaning: the Church must breathe with her two lungs! In the first millennium of the history of Christianity, this expression refers primarily to the relationship between Byzantium and Rome. From the time of the Baptism of Rus' it comes to have an even wider application: evangelization spread to a much vaster area, so that it now includes the entire Church.”

The information provided by students of Mission Institute Anthony Holt

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