The St. Ann Society of Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption in Perth Amboy sponsored a Women’s Evening of Prayer on May 7, 2019. Catholic women from the surrounding communities joined together with Assumption parishioners who participated with fervent and prayerful song in a Moleben to the Blessed Mother of God with responses sung alternately in both English and Ukrainian. The homilist for the evening was Very Rev. John Seniw, pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Northampton, PA., who offered his meditation on Blessed are the poor of heart: The life of Mary.
The members of Altar Rosary Societies, Ladies Guilds, and Sisterhoods of numerous Roman Catholic parishes joined with Assumption parishioners in contemplation of how Mary’s life is a reflection of what her Divine Son teaches in each of The Beatitudes. For those who were not familiar with the Theotokos of the Eastern Church, Father’s informative homily explained how, in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Bohoroditsya is revered and not worshipped, as many misinformed Protestant Christians believe. He also explained the Marian dogmas as proclaimed in Church Councils, including the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. At the conclusion, Fr. Ivan Turyk, pastor of Assumption Church and spiritual advisor of St. Ann Society, underscored the homily and added the visual component by pointing to the mosaic icon of the Mother of God, Oranta, who wears a handkerchief in her belt which reminds us of how she is always ready to dry our tears.
The Marian hymns for the evening, Immaculate Mary , a Roman Catholic favorite, and Always Protect Us (O Spomahay Nas) the Ukrainian Catholic selection, were sung by all in attendance, providing a unified manifestation of faith, reflective of the Universality of the Church. Following the Moleben, visitors were guests of St. Ann Society who provided a light buffet. The joint breaking of bread and fellowship with neighboring parishes reinforced a mutual love for Mary, her Divine Son, and respect for each other’s traditions.