Byzantine Catholic Church in America: News of the East

Parma's Byzantine Catholics Share the Spirit

PARMA, OH -- (Horizons 8/1/1999) -- Byzantine Catholics of the Eparchy of Parma reached out to the local communities and shared the spirit of Byzantine faith and Slavic culture on Sunday June 27.

Events for Byzantine Spirit Day at the Cathedral Center began with the Divine Liturgy and continued with an ethnic foods lunch prepared and served by Verba’s Catering.Musical entertainment during the lunch was by the folk band, Javorina. 

PANELISTS explain how they serve the church. (from left) Deacon Bob Kelly, Greg Loya, Dr. John Petrus, Sharon Mech, Dorothy Papke, Rita Basalla, Father John Kachuba, Pat Lesnick, Chris Pullella and Pat Kascala

This group, formed in 1998, performs a wide spectrum of Slovak folkloric music. They also perform music of Central and Eastern Europe, including Rusin, Ukrainian and Roma selections. The group has performed in various regions of Slovakia, including Puls, Sarisan, Zemplin, Valaliky and Malibu.

Another cultural feature of the day was the art exhibit and lecture by Mikulas Klimcak. Born in Humenne, eastern Slovakia, he studied painting and drawing at the Technical University in Bratislava., then the Prague School of Applied Arts in 1948. As a pioneer in Slovakia of modern fresco painting, mosaics, stained glass, graffiti, tapestries and other architectural techniques, he has made significant contributions to the arts.Of special note are his prints, oils, tapestries and icons dedicated to the honor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. Klimcak’s lecture recounted his experiences as an artist of religious themes under the atheistic communist regime of the Soviet Union. Listeners gained a clearer understanding of how difficult it was for a dedicated Christian to live in that political milieu.


Ten panelists offered their reflections on how they serve the church. Representing the many ways that people contribute to the church’s mission were: Chris Pullella, parish youth advisor; Patricia Kascala, lay pastoral associate; Rita Basalla, family fellowship; Deacon Bob Kelly, seminarian; Greg Loya, Eastern Christian Formation instructor; Pat Lesnick, St. Joseph Parish outreach, AOK Club; Dorothy Papke, director of St. Mary Hospitality House; Dr. John Petrus, diaconal candidate; Sharon Mech, cantor; Bill Krukemeyer, Serra Club; and Father John Kachuba, director of the eparchy’s Office of Religious Education. Each panelist gave brief highlights of how they use their time and talents in service of the church. The presentations and following question and answer session were a graphic illustration of the richness of the ways in which people can contribute to the church’s whole mission.


Taking place throughout the day were activities for young children that included crafts, face-painting and Robbie the Clown making balloon figures as well as a Dino Jump on the cathedral’s front lawn. There were also cake raffles, money raffles and a bake sale.Concluding the day’s program was the Moleben to the Holy Spirit led by Bishop Basil Schott.


During the homily the bishop spoke of the mystery of the Holy Spirit received at baptism. Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit brings faith, hope and love to the Christian. It is also through the Spirit, the bishop said, that people can know Christ, the shepherd.Bishop Schott then noted that one of the current year’s themes in the millennium preparation is love, while another is the holy mystery of penance. Reconciliation requires love, he said, and a willingness to forgive. This forgiveness must extend to fellow parishioners, to one’s neighborhood, the whole country and even to other regions of the world such as Eastern Europe. After forgiveness and reconciliation comes sharing the Spirit with someone who has been away from the church. One does this by example, by a kind word or a word of encouragement. All of these are openings for the workings of God’s grace.


The annual Byzantine Spirit Day provides a day of fun, education, food and prayer for members of the eparchy’s parishes to interact with one another. It is also a tool for evangelization, welcoming others to share the cultural and spiritual heritage of Byzantine Catholic Christianity.


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Horizons is the official publication of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma.  For subscription information visit their website at  -  The Byzantine Catholic Church in America Home Page

Last Modified on 08/12/1999.