Friday, May 11, 2012

Reflections on the Shroud (replica) - Passaic, NJ

Reflections on the Shroud (replica)


Fr. Dudkevych proclaims the Gospel.

Fr. Troyan talked about the Shroud

Mid morning on Saturday, March 3, 2012, an authentic Vatican replica of the Shroud of Turin arrived at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Passaic, NJ where it was placed on exhibit through March 17, 2012.

Fr. Andriy Dudkevych, pastor, received the Shroud, and with several parishioners, carried the Shroud into the church where it has been centrally placed at the Amvon, in front of the Royal Doors.

Before the Saturday evening Divine Liturgy, Fr. Andriy along with Fr. George Worschak and five altar servers, processed into church. The priests approached the Shroud, the altar servers removed the cloth covering the Shroud and Fr. Andriy intoned “Noble Joseph” and together with the congregation, prostrated three times before the image of the Crucified Christ. Fr. Andriy and Fr. George entered the sanctuary and began the Divine Liturgy.

Following the Divine Liturgy, the parishioners filed up to the Shroud, kneeling before it and kissing the wounds, venerating the holy image of Our Lord.

The Exhibit was open to the public during the scheduled times. The parish prepared a weeks worth of activity in the form of services for parishioner participation over the two week period of the exhibit.

The parish Prayer Group gathered on Monday’s for the recitation of the Rosary. They also prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy. Tuesdays found the faithful gathered for the praying of the Akathist to the Passion of Christ.

On Wednesday, Fr. Andriy led the people in the Stations of the Cross, followed by the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. Fr. Ivan Turyk, pastor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin parish in Perth Amboy, NJ concelebrated with Fr. Andriy and Fr. George Worschak. Following the Liturgy Fr. Ivan asked all the people to come forward to the front pews as he was presenting history and facts related to the Shroud of Turin. Fr. Ivan, speaking in Ukrainian, related the history behind the Shroud and the correlation to the facts in the Gospels as the people listened intently as he pointed out the main features of the Shroud – the wounds, the crossed hands, the marks left by the nails in the hands and feet – all very visible on the Shroud.

On Thursday evening, a Moleben to the Passion of Christ was sung. Sr. Kathleen Hutsko, SSMI, Provincial Superior along with several Sisters from Sloatsburg, NY joined the parishioners in prayer. On Friday the Divine Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts with Sorokousty was celebrated.

Daily, from noon to three, the church was opened to visitors. Many came from surrounding parishes. Some came from as far away as Whitehouse Station, NJ. Each signed the “visitors” book. On Saturday afternoon a visitor came in, signed the visitor’s book and introduced himself as a former parishioner of the parish of SS Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, Jersey City, NJ. He said that his family left Jersey City when he was rather young, moving into the Passaic area where they registered and attended a local Roman Catholic parish. After standing in the church for awhile and approaching the Shroud, he commented that he now knows that he is meant to be here and asked to become a parishioner. Sunday morning Liturgy found him seated in the first pew.

Other visitors related that they are accustomed to seeing reproductions of the Shroud and were amazed at the size of the Replica of the Shroud. Many spent hours before the Image of Our Lord in deep prayer and adoration, others returned day after day to avail themselves of the grace and privilege of being so up close to this Holy Image. Many asked questions about the Icons and the services and all felt that they were in “heaven” and did not want to leave. Fr. Andriy also placed our parish Shroud on Exhibit, so that people could visually relate to the Shroud and the events of that Good Friday.

Others inquired as to when we celebrate Liturgy as they would like to attend and participate. Families brought their children, friends brought their neighbors, clergy and religious from neighboring towns came and spent time in prayer.

On Sunday, March 11, the mid point of the Great Fast and the Veneration of the Cross, the children from the Sunday catechism class were brought into church to learn about the Shroud of Turin and were given time to explore the figure before them. The younger children from the first and second grades, preparing for their First Solemn communion also were brought to the Shroud to view the Image of Christ and touch the site of the wounds and kiss the Holy Face of Jesus.

On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, Fr. Dan Troyan arrived at the parish to speak to the school children about the Shroud. It was arranged by Sr. Ann that the children would come in groups, the lower grades before lunch and two groups of the upper classes after lunch to listen to Fr. Dan give the history and facts of the Shroud. One student (Christopher Peltyshyn) was home sick, however he asked his grandfather, who was caring for him, to bring him to church so he could hear Fr. Dan speak about the Shroud along with his classmates. At the conclusion of the talk, Fr. Dan prayed with the children and blessed them. They all had an opportunity to come forward and examine the Shroud, touch it and some took photos. In the evening following the Akathist, Fr. Dan spoke to the parishioners in English, providing the same history and facts. Sr. Ephrosenia Lucavi, Econome for the Sisters Servants, visiting from Rome, came with Sr. Eliane, Sr. Tekla and Sr. Tharasia, to pray the Akathist and sit in on the talk. The people gathered were very intent and edified by what was presented.

On Wednesday a group of about 50 students from Paramus Catholic High School arrived by bus with their Religious Education Director, Amy Shay, to view the Shroud. They were met by Helen Fedoriw, parish secretary and Natalie Warchola as they entered the Church. They were brought forward and seated before the Shroud. Helen welcomed them and thanked them for coming and proceeded to speak to them on the history and facts of the Shroud. The students were inquisitive, asking questions and responding to questions placed before them. After the presentation they were invited to come forward to the Shroud, examine it closely, to touch and experience what visitors to Turin do not experience. Helen distributed packets of information on the Shroud, on our Church and our Rite. At the end of the presentation, the students were invited by Natalie Warchola to the church basement to see our parish museum, and then afterwards they returned to their school.

Also on Wednesday, a gentlemen from Bedminster, NJ phoned the parish office and asked if would be able for him and his family to visit after hours as he was unable to come earlier. As soon as his children returned home from school, he got them in the car and drove to Passaic, NJ arriving approximate 4:15 pm. He was given a chance to venerate the Shroud with his family (wife and two sons) and then was given a tour of the church and our museum.

Saturday, March 17 began with morning Divine Liturgy, followed by the recitation of the Rosary. At the end of the prayers, Fr. Andriy began to prepare the Shroud for its “leaving”. He took our parish Shroud (Plaschynetsia) and placed it on the Authentic replica, praying and asking for blessings on our church and our people. Removing our shroud, Fr. Andriy proceeded to venerate the Shroud with prostrations and singing “Noble Joseph”. In closing, the altar boys took the Shroud cover and placed it over the Holy Image of Our Lord, preparing it to be taken away.

The parish of St. Nicholas was blessed to have been the home to the Shroud of Turin during these days of the Great Fast. Over four hundred and fifty people passed through our doors to venerate Our Lord in a way not always possible; to pray in the presence of His Image, to meditate on the “Icon of Holy Saturday” as it was described by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Turin, Italy in 2010. We are deeply grateful to Archbishop Stefan Soroka for granting us this privilege and we are thankful for the grace bestowed upon St. Nicholas parish.

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