Pastoral visits to the parishes of North Dakota by Bishop Benedikt Aleksiychuk

“Where there is a bishop, there is a Church”

(II Vatican Council)

            When we talk about the Church, its integral vital element is the visit of the bishop of his parishes.  It was on August 5-10, 2020 that the canonical visitation of His Eminence Bishop Benedikt Aleksiychuk, Bishop of the Eparchy of St. Nicholas with a seat in Chicago, parishes of St. Demetrius (Fairfield), St. John the Baptist (Belfield), St. Michael the Archangel (Minot) and Sts.  App.  Peter and Paul (Wilton).

                    The filed parishes are located in the state of North Dakota. In these parishes, 99 percent use English. Ukrainian is remembered mostly by the ancients, but the love for God and for their Church was passed on to the new generation. The first emigrants from Ukraine arrived here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.   They mainly came from Ternopil region (Boryshkivtsi, Trubchyn, and Bilivtsi) and from Lviv region from Bezbrody (near Brody). At one time the church of St. Josaphat (Gorgam area )was built here, where Ukrainians settled on farms;  church of st.  Demetrius (the area was called Ukraine by Ukrainians), this church is preserved and functioning today, on the old place, where there used to be a church, today there is a cemetery.   Church of St.  John the Baptist (the new church was consecrated in 1966) is in Belfield;  in the same town is also the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Sts.  App.  Peter and Paul (inactive).


            The visit of Bishop Benedict coincided with the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the life of the administrator of the parishes of St. Demetrius and St. John the Baptist, Fr.  Myroslav Dumych. These days in the parish of St.  Demetrius Leonard Kordonovy, a devoted deacon and a zealous assistant to the priest, celebrated his 33rd year of deacon service.

            The daily Episcopal Divine Liturgy and Vespers consecrated this time of parishes, gave new breath to the development of these communities.  Many parishioners used this time of the bishop's stay in the parishes in their spiritual life as a time of spiritual retreats.

            On the first day of the visit (August 6), the bishop prayed the Divine Liturgy with the service of the administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in Belfield and Deacon Leonard Kordonovy. After the Liturgy, the first fruits were consecrated.  During this day the bishop, accompanied by Fr.  Myroslav and parishioners (Tony Holt and his wife Katrine) visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Belfield, a place of incredible beauty.

            On the second day of the visit (August 7), the bishop together with Fr.  Myroslav and Deacon Leonard visited the resting place of the first emigrants from Ukraine in the cemeteries of St. Demetrius, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, St. Josaphat and the Orthodox cemetery of St.  Peter and Paul.

            On August 8, the Episcopal Divine Liturgy took place in the parish of St.  Demetrius, where the bishop was solemnly greeted by the Knights of Columbus and the youth of the parish (Americans with a Ukrainian soul).  After praying the Liturgy, the bishop thanked Deacon Leonard and his wife LaVern Kordonovy for their zealous service to the Ukrainian Catholic Church.  Then the parishioners had a festive dinner in the church garden on the occasion of the visit of Bishop Benedict and the anniversary of Fr.  Myroslav. 

            On this day, before the Vespers in the parish of St. John the Baptist, His Eminence Bishop Benedict and Father Administrator Myroslav gave the children the Sacrament of Penance for the first time in their lives.

            On Sunday, August 9, the bishop, together with Fr.  Myroslav served the Divine Liturgy in the parish of St. John the Baptist, at which the children received the Solemn Communion.
We thank God for this wonderful time with our bishop, who shared the joy of our holiday and filled us and our parishioners with God's blessing with his presence !!!

          Mrs. Olga Dumych

         For more pictures, follow this link: Photo-gallery

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