Mike Cherwonogrodzky, Welland, ON.
Super. Miraculous. Amazing. Fantastic. Incredible. These are some of the words that could describe the Mass, or Divine Liturgy, that was celebrated at St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in Welland, Ontario on Sunday, October 1, 2023. The service was presided by Most Reverend Bohdan J. Danylo, Bishop of St. Josaphat Eparchy in Parma, Ohio. The Church Feast Day, Mother of God Protection, is celebrated on Oct. 1.
The Divine Liturgy was the highlight of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church Singing Conference, or SingCon, held at St. Michael Church from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. St. Michael Parish Administrator, Fr. Jerry Lazoryk, made the various arrangements for the conference. Over 60 cantors from across Canada and the U.S. took part in the conference. They practiced the various services and hymns of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The cantors were led by The Cantor of Cantors, Ilya Galadza of St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brampton, ON.
It has been said, “When you sing in church, you pray twice.” This was true when all the cantors sang the hymns of the Divine Liturgy. The female and male cantors alike sang like the voices of angels. One priest has said that, in the Ukrainian Divine Liturgy, the cantor is equally important as the priest.
When Volodymyr the Great, Grand Prince of Kyiv, was deciding what religion he should follow, he sent out emissaries to the major religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The emissaries reported that when they were at St. Sophia Byzantine Christian Church in Constantinople, “We did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth.” The same could be said about the service at St. Michael Church.
The SingCon was a memorable weekend for cantors and St. Michael parishioners. With the Russian war still raging in Ukraine, it was good to turn one’s thoughts toward spiritual matters.