This year, members of SS Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Berwick, Pennsylvania celebrated the centennial anniversary of the founding of their parish, which formally began on September 5, 1909 with His Grace Soter Ortynsky appointing Ilarion Yakymowych as the first resident pastor of the parish. The parish forebears actually commenced fund raising in 1907 and purchased property in 1908.
The centennial committee, under the guidance of pastor Very Rev. John Seniw, organized celebratory events beginning last January with a Divine Liturgy after which the choir of the Patronage of the Mother of God parish of McAdoo, PA led a carol fest in the church hall. In May, the parish held an open house, slide show history of the parish, and concert of liturgical music sung by the renowned Ecumen Choral of Olyphant, PA. In July, the community hosted a very successful and well-attended picnic featuring music and folk dancing at its newly renovated parish park. The Sacred Heart Society under the leadership of Shirley Fowler and Lottie Fedorco provided delicious food for these events.
Recently on October 18, His Grace Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, who offered a thoughtful homily, led the congregation and a church packed with guests in a concelebrated Divine Liturgy. Cantors John Fedorko and Joseph Roll guided the congregation in singing the traditional chant responses.
A centennial banquet at Genetti’s in Hazleton followed the liturgy with archbishop, pastor, invited clergy, parishioners, and 200 guests in attendance. Rev. Archpriest John Fields acted as master of ceremonies, and Ann Zinich, Joseph Roll, and Steven Matash, who represented three different generations of parishioners, provided reflections. Maryann Kovalewski, vice president of the Berwick Area School Board, presented a special proclamation and plaque in recognition of the outstanding educational contributions given by the parish’s parochial school during its existence from the 1940’s through the 1960’s.
Following the banquet, centennial books featuring a power-point history of the parish were distributed, a beautiful centennial quilt was raffled, and a lively dance to the music of The Shoreliners ensued. The centennial committee plans to enrich the landscape of the cemetery with additional trees, to restore and install stained glass windows from the original church building, and to purchase a computer projector for educational DVD’s with the funds raised by the various centennial events of the year.