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Praying, Healing, Life Giving Presence
 

PARMA EPARCHY WELCOMES BASILIAN ASSOCIATES

In 1991, the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great founded the Basilian Lay Associate Program. This invitation to the laity offers adult Christians the experience of coming together with the Sisters to share in a mutually enriching and broadening relationship focused on living more fully the Gospel way of life.

The first group of Basilian Associates was initiated at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Basil, Jesus Lover of Humanity Province, located in Fox Chase Manor, PA. Although the program was located solely in the Philadelphia area, it recently expanded, taking in the Parma, OH, region where a vibrant Parma Prayer Group had gathered under the guidance of Sr. Judith Piszyk, OSBM. Sr. Judith recognized the good will and the desire for spiritual growth of these individuals and introduced them to the concept of the Basilian Associate Program. Those of the group who desired a covenant relationship with the Sisters requested membership in the Program and entered a one-year candidacy under the direction of Sr. Olga Marie Faryna, OSBM, Pastoral Minister with the Parma Eparchy and now coordinator for the newly formed Parma, Ohio Regional Basilian Associate Program.

Left to Right: Eugene Apostoluk, Sister Laura Palka, OSBM, Oksana Szepiwdycz, Sister Marina Bochnewich, OSBM, Andrew Szepiwdycz, Audrey Fedak, Sister Olga Marie Faryna, OSBM, Margaret Zysek

Throughout their year of candidacy, the prospective associates met with Sr. Olga Marie for shared reflection on scripture and the Liturgy, the praying of the Divine Office, discussion and clarification of the Basilian Associate Program Manual One in Spirit and the call to membership, the building up of relationships through prayer, community and service and a fuller understanding of St. Basil and his spirituality in the Eastern Church.

At the year’s end, five candidates—Eugene Apostoluk, Audrey Fedak, Andrew Szepiwdycz, Oksana Szepiwdycz and Margaret Zysek—felt ready to enter a covenant with the Sisters of St. Basil the Great and the date for their commitment was set for April 27, 2013.

In preparation for their evening covenant ceremony at the 5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, the Associate candidates gathered for a quiet day of prayer and reflection guided by Sr. Marina Bochnewich, OSBM, Director of the Basilian Sprituality Center, Fox Chase Manor, PA. Sr. Marina was the first coordinator and writer of the Basilian Lay Associate Program and Sister also served at one time on the Pastoral Ministry Team in the Parma Eparchy in Adult Spiritual Formation. Following the theme "Living in God's Presence", Sr. Marina led the group’s reflection on how the ebb and flow of the tide of one’s prayer and contemplation extend to the community, leading one to do service and then return to prayer and contemplation.

Before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, Rev. Claudio Melnicki, Cathedral Administrator, welcomed the Basilian Sisters and the area laity who were aspiring to profess a mutual covenant relationship in accord with the Basilian Associate Program "One in Spirit".

During his homily, Fr. Claudio commended the candidates for their decision to share in the Sisters’ mission to be the praying, healing and life-giving presence of Jesus to God’s people, and encouraged all parish members to keep them in their prayers.

After the reading of the Divine Liturgy Ambo Prayer, Sr. Laura Palka, OSBM, Director of the Basilian Associate Program, thanked Fr. Claudio for preparing the parish logistics for the day and, at Father’s request, introduced the Associate candidates and explained the Program and how it took root in the Parma Eparchy. Parishioners were also able to refer to an explanatory flyer distributed earlier. Additionally, and prior to the covenant ritual, Sr. Laura expressed Bishop John Bura’s regrets at not being able to be present and the assurance of his blessing upon the five candidates.

Sr. Laura also read a letter from Sr. Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM, Provincial Superior, who was unable to be present, but who commended the new members for their desire to be of service to the Church, to the Basilian community and to one another. "You are an inspiration to us as you juggle family, work and still have time to devote to your pledge-One in Spirit."

A letter from coordinators Sr. Rita Stremba,OSBM, and Sr. Germaine Senita,OSBM, and all the members of the Fox Chase Manor Regional was read welcoming Eugene, Audrey, Andrew, Oksana and Margaret as new members and assuring them of their prayers. As Sr. Laura had stated earlier, "Your names…will be entered into our Basilian Chronicles as the first and foundational Basilian Associates of the Parma, Ohio Regional."

At the direction of Sr. Olga Marie, the Sisters and candidates then gathered before the tetrapod to pledge their commitment, candidates to the Basilian Sisters, Sisters to the candidates, for a term of one year. The joyous singing of "Many Happy Years" ended the ceremony.

To learn more about the Basilian Associate Program, please contact:

PARMA, OHIO EPARCHY
Sr. Olga Marie Faryna,OSBM
OMFaryna@aol.com

PHILADELPHIA, PA ARCHEPARCHY
Sr. Rita Stremba,OSBM
srrita@stbasilacademy.org

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