Women’s Day of Prayer: Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family
Women as Caregivers: Spiritual, Pastoral and Practical Matters
In 2004 His Grace, Most Reverend Stefan Soroka met with the superiors of the religious community of women who minister within the Philadelphia Archeparchy – the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, the Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God and the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great. At that meeting it was decided that a committee be established for the purpose of offering a day of prayer, dialogue and information to the women of the Archeparchy. Thus came about the annual Women’s Day held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Philadelphia.
The Committee established of both religious and lay women, which has become known as the Committee for the Enrichment of Women immediately began to offer women of all ages an occasion to grow spiritually and deepen their faith; to expand their social consciousness and their understanding of the social issues and problems facing today’s women and families; and to nurture their personal development through various opportunities for enrichment.
Last year, the committee began to offer the Archeparchy’s Women’s Day of Prayer regionally. Taking our show on the road the committee first went to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic, NJ and then to Presentation of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lansdale, PA. The program “Faith and the Family” was favorably received by women in both parishes and attendance was among the highest when compared to that of past Women’s Days.
Building on the success of last year this year’s Women’s Day of Prayer was held at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family in Washington, DC on Sunday, March 6, 2016. The theme “Women as Caregivers” focused upon the pastoral and practical aspects of caring for family members with special needs due to chronic illness, disability and/or advanced age and was presented within the framework of Sacred Scripture and the values and ideals of Eastern Christian Spirituality. Additionally the focus will include the importance for caregivers to be mindful of their need for self-care.
This is a very timely topic since our Pope – Francis – has designated this year as the Year of Mercy. So often and in so many ways have women heeded the Pope’s call toward being merciful to those for whom they care. This is a natural outpouring for women. In turn it is only merciful that we keep in mind self-care.
The day began with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Grace, Bishop John Bura with Reverend Robert Hitchens and Wasyl Kharuk concelebrating. After a delicious luncheon prepared by the parish men and women the program commenced with Sister Joann Sosler speaking on “Touching the Holy” sharing with the women her experience of being a hospital chaplain. Sophia Shchur then offered her presentation “May I Walk You Home? Courage, Comfort and Coping for Caregivers” in which she encouraged the women that as care-givers it is important that they remember to care for themselves.
At the close of the presentation Bishop Bura, Father Hitchens and Father Kharuk blessed the hands of the women sending them forth to bring comfort to those for whom they care.
The next presentation will be given at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Scranton, PA on Sunday, April 24, 2016.
St. Vladimir Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
430 North Seventh Avenue