On Sunday, November 12, 2023, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Josaphat Kuncewycz, the Assumption Catholic Church parishioners gathered in the parish hall for the homemade varenyky and borsch sponsored by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (Branch 135). Funds were raised to provide moral and financial support for the wounded soldier Vasyl Kurylovych and to support military efforts in the ongoing war in Ukraine . Andriy Zhyvachivskyi, a historian from Ukraine, presented a very informative and moving presentation about the Crimean Peninsula, a territory annexed by Russian troops.
“Getting to know Jesus Christ is a great adventure”, that was the topic of discussion with the youth of our parish this Sunday, following the Morning Liturgy. And after that, our own adventure began – a journey to our own New Jersey Saint, Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich. She is a native of Bayonne, N.J. who died in 1927 and was declared Blessed in 2014.
We were warmly welcomed at the convent by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, and we were all inspired by the example of the holy life of this blessed 26-year-old nun. Under the leadership of Father Ivan, Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, our group of the young adults prayed for the personal intentions, Ukraine, our country, and especially for the parishioners of the Assumption church. On the way home, we stopped at the Starbucks for some coffee and sweets. We enjoyed this trip so much that we were already planning the next one on the way back. The adventures are just beginning!
«Пізнати Ісуса Христа»-це велика пригода. Цієї Неділі, такою була тема зустрічі і обговорення з старшою групою молоді нашої парафії. А після цього почалася і наша пригода – мандрівка до єдиної блаженної, проголошеною Католицькою Церквою у штаті Нью Джерсі, Сестри Марія Тереза Дем’янович. Нас радо прийняли Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth , і всі ми надихнулися прикладом святого життя 26-річної монахині. Під проводом отця Івана, наших сестер Воплоченого Слова, усі молилися за особисті намірення, Україну, і особливо за парафіян Успенської Церкви. По дорозі додому почастувати каву і тістечка у Старбаксі. Усім так сподобалася ця духовно пізнавальна поїздка, що по дорозі назад вже планувалася наступна. Пригоди тільки починаються!
«Молодість покликана до героїзму»- у цьому сьогодні впевнилися підлітки нашої парафії, слухаючи науку на черговій зустрічі. Дивлячись на багато прикладів героїв минулого і сучасності, зрозуміли, що героєм покликаний бути кожен і кожного дня, живучи Заповідями Ісуса Христа. Доброзичливої атмосфери надало спільне приготування суш, активна участь у іграх та веселе спілкування. Чекаємо наступного разу!
“Youth is called to heroism” – this is what the teenagers of our parish realized while listening to the talk at today’s gathering. Looking at many examples of heroes of the past and present, they realized that everyone is called to be a hero by following and living the Commandments of Jesus Christ. The friendly atmosphere was even increased by the joint preparation of sushi, active participation in games and cheerful communication. We are looking forward for the next time!
On Sunday, September 24, 2023 we joyfully celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Fr. Ivan Turyk’s Ordination to the Holy Priesthood. The Church was packed with well-wishers and Fr. Ivan was joined at the Holy Altar by his longtime friend Fr. Mykola Buryadnyk from St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago, IL who offered an outstanding sermon, and Rev. Robert Hitchens, Rector of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington DC, who was the main speaker at the banquet and who read the greeting letter from Fr. Ivan’s ordaining bishop, + Stefan Soroka, Metropolitan-Archbishop Emeritus.
After the Liturgy, the beautiful Anniversary Banquet, followed at the packed hall, with almost four hundred guests. The banquet included a delightful meal prepared by the parish volunteers and very nice program. Following the dinner, the parish children, altar servers, choir “Boyan”, Assumption Catholic School, Sodality girls and Sisters Servants of the Lord the Virgin of Matará entertained the guests with a beautiful concert. The highlight of the Banquet (and there were many) was Fr. Ivan’s parents Vasyl and Olga Turyk, who arrived from Ukraine, addressing the parish with a special greeting. Looking out on the crowd, you could see the tearful expression on many faces that showed the love and appreciation they have for their son.
Vitaliy Kutnyy, President/CEO from Chicago and representatives of Selfreliance Federal Credit Union’s New Jersey branch office joined the parishioners at the Liturgy and the banquet and presented a check of $5,000 for the Assumption Parish on the occasion of their Pastor’s celebration.
Fr. Ivan then came to the podium and thanked those who organized the event and his brother priests for their continued friendship and priestly fraternity. He continued with humble comments including knowing that even though all parish gathered to celebrate his anniversary, but it is really Jesus the Great High Priest who was honored, for he is the one who called Father to the Holy Priesthood and brought all together.
The children were separated into groups according to their age and each group also participated in a Culinary activities. Group 3 spent the afternoon preparing baked ziti, while groups 1 and 2 made yummy cereal treats. In arts and crafts, groups made personal paintings of Jesus, 3 – D crosses that light up, and the last group painted frames with a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Great second day and we’ll continue to help our parish children to share their values and faith in God.
As you can see, there is no stop in our parish calendar this summer. Just two weeks ago we completed 4 weeks school camp and now started the parish Bible Summer Camp and that is good thing. The first day started out at our school hall with Fr. Ivan leading twenty-eight children in prayer to Almighty God. Then a day was filled with variety of fun activities that included a visit to Assumption Church where our parishioner Mrs. Melanie Fedynyshyn gave a church tour to our campers who were eager to learn about their faith and strengthen relationships with one another. Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará taught three groups of children about the Holy Eucharist, St. Tarcisius the patron saint of all altar servers, played Bingo and various games outside. The students made crafts, played soccer with Father, made bracelets and had snacks/ lunch together. Culinary groups 1 and 2 had a delicious time making and eating dirt today. Of course the dirt was made of pudding and oreos with a little whipped cream. Everyone topped off their dirt with a gummy worm. The 3rd group ventured into the world of baking funfetti cake. This amazing spiritual experience is an incredible gift to the children of our parish and it could not be given without the help our parish volunteers, the Assumption Catholic School teachers, Sisters and Father. Our parish continues to grow and deepen in our commitment to make disciples of Jesus, increase our prayer, build community, and reflect genuine love to one another.
Congratulation to 30 youngsters, who have come to the Divine Liturgy this Sunday morning to receive Jesus’ body and blood in their lives in a very special way. As your Pastor, I am very proud of you for studying and learning about Jesus to prepare for this day and that you have said yes to Jesus’ sacramental grace and love. Thanks to Sr. Veronica, Sr. Trijtsi, Sr. Svitanku for preparing parish children and Mrs. Kukuruza, 2nd grade teacher for preparing ACS school students for this joyful day. May God bless you always.
It’s been over a year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Perth Amboy, NJ of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, has all this time been trying to help those who are wounded, bleeding and injured by Russian bombs and bullets.
A few months ago, after making a report to the parish about an ambulance purchased in March, Fr. Ivan Turyk was approached by parishioners Bohdan and Halyna Jasinski (Medical Career Institute, NY) who offered a donation of $15,000 to purchase another ambulance. The vehicle was purchased in Italy by the their charitable donation and recently handed over to the Ukrainian Military Brigade A4576.
The ambulance is already being used in the front lines, transporting wounded to the military hospital in Dnipro and saving the lives of those who are giving their all to save the lives behind them.
The purchase of the ambulance was a collaborative effort of people from three countries – the USA, Italy and Ukraine. We are very grateful to Bishop Hryhoriy Komar, Auxiliary Bishop of Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy in Ukraine, for the logistics of the process and for providing a driver. We are especially thankful to Fr. Vasyl Verbitskyy from Ferrara, Italy for the actual purchase and a smooth transfer of the vehicle from Italy to Ukraine.
Thanks to all volunteers in Italy and in Ukraine who packed the ambulance with medical supplies and additional critical equipment before it was sent to the front line. The recently purchased ambulance is literally a lifeline for many defenders of Ukraine.
Thank you all, for your solidarity, and may God bless you and your families for standing up with Ukraine.
By: Katherine Massopust
PERTH AMBOY – On Tuesdays in May, the Moleben to the Most Blessed Mother of God is celebrated at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption. The Moleben is a devotion to Mary. On one Tuesday in May, it has become a modern tradition to invite members from other local churches and parishes to attend the Moleben and celebrate the devotion to Mary together at The Women’s Evening of Prayer. This event was put on hiatus for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year the event resumed on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, and over 100 people attended the service.
The Sister Servants of the Lord and Virgin of Matara, Perth Amboy, NJ sang the Opening Hymn, “Immaculate Mary,” in Ukrainian. Very Rev. Ivan Turyk, Pastor of Assumption Parish led the Moleben service which was sung in both English and Ukrainian. The Gospel was Lk: 1,39-49.56: which is when Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth.
Rev. Ivan Turyk introduced The Rev. Archpriest Michael Hutsko, Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Mount Carmel, PA and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Centralia, PA. Archpriest Hutsko drove three hours to get to Perth Amboy.
Archpriest Hutsko gave the Homily titled: “Mary: Mother, Intercessor, Protector.”
“This morning, I saw the post on Facebook, and I saw the picture of me as a young man and wondered how many people would expect to see a young man and see an older priest. When I came here and saw all the Jersey plates, I realized (like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) “I’m not in Kansas anymore.” When I was asked to give the homily, the threefold role of Mary: the devotion states: Mother of Our Christ God; Mother of Eternal Love; Mother of Divine Grace; Immaculately Conceived… All the challenges we face in our daily lives – every one of us here this evening is one of these things or more – the human condition. Mary was entrusted to the Apostle John (when Jesus was on the cross). Mary is portrayed in prayer. I can remit three instances:
1.) The Feast of Protection of the Mother of God: On October 1, every year since the year 911, when our church first celebrated the Feast of Protection of the Mother of God. The people of Constantinople gathered in church and prayed to the Blessed Mother to protect them and their city. The church had a relic of Mary in it. Mary appeared in the center of the church with her arms open. She took her veil off and spread I her arms symbolizing to the people that she was an intercessor protecting them. The city was saved. The heavenly protection of Mary is in all of our hearts.
2.) St. Sophia’s Church: In the Capital City of Ukraine, Kyiv, in the Church of St. Sophia, there are frescos, icons, of Jesus, the apostles, saints throughout the ages. Behind the altar, there is a mosaic of the Most Holy Mother of God. As you gaze at her, you can see her motherly care of her hands extended. She is the intercessor on our behalf for the safety of her people. The mosaic is known as the Indestructible Wall. The belief is as long as that wall stands, Ukraine will never be defeated by its enemies. Ever since this was known, enemies have tried to damage the wall. During the (Communist) Revolution, there was an attempt to shoot that wall – the bullets bounced off that wall. She is the wall who protects us against the devil himself. She is the indestructible agent of the power of God. As we pray, our prayers will be answered. She will pray for us as our protector. Hundreds of thousands of people prayed the rosary and prayed for the corrupt (communist) government to be overthrown – and it was.
3.) Mystery Solved: Archpriest Hutsko explained that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Centralia PA is built in a mining town. In 1962 there was an underground mine fire. Forty years ago (1983 – years after the residents were evacuated and money was allotted for the residents to relocate), we were asked by the government if the church should stay or leave. Archbishop Sulyk spoke with the people and asked them what they thought. He prayed to Mary. He said to drill some holes by the church. There was no coal found underneath the church. They said the church stands on solid rock. Hutsko stated this blue domed church stands on top of a mountain and the presence of God is here. Bells ring during the liturgy which calls all the people here to come worship and pray. A stone wall surrounds the property. In 2015 Patriarch Sviatoslav came for a visit. We went to church and prayed. He saw the icon of Our Lady (icon of the Mother of God of Pochaiv). We had found it in the closet and put it on an altar for veneration. Patriarch Sviatoslav saw the icon and stated that the church must become a place for prayer and pilgrimage to pray before this icon. I wondered why. Mystery Solved – I was reading the book: At the Foot of the Cross: Lessons from Ukraine an Interview with Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. In the book, Archbishop Sviatoslav states: “I was thirteen years old. I visited the monastery in Pochaiv on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Because of the feast, the miraculous icon of eh Mother of God of Pochaiv was brought down and people were allowed to come venerate it. I was waiting to see the icon and I was praying. I was praying, “Mother of God, I want to be a priest. I know it is impossible; I know that everybody will say that I’m crazy. But for you, nothing is impossible. I approached the icon and kissed it.”” – Mystery Solved! The icon is still on display in the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary. It is funny how God works. Mary has so many names and is revered in many ways. The best way to refer to her is as the God-bearer. We are all called to be God-bearers – not as she did but carrying her in heart and sorrow. The sovereign redeemer – His will and all called to God – will bring Christ and the word of the divine.”
Two hymns were sung by all: “Always Protect Us,” in both Ukrainian and English, and Immaculate Mary in English. Fr Ivan said, “Mary was a doer. She always listens, always intercedes on behalf of us. She is the Holy Theotokos.” He thanked Archpriest Hutsko for coming despite the long trip and giving the homily. He thanked The St. Ann’s Society and President Melanie Fedynyshyn, for coordinating the event and providing refreshments. He also thanked parishioner John Baginsky for making the program.
At the reception under the church, President of the St. Ann’s Society Melanie Fedynychyn spoke, “I sent letters to 19 different parishes.” There were participants from Ukrainian Assumption Church, St. John Paul II Parish, Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, St. James Church (Woodbridge), and other churches.
Mrs. Fedynychyn spoke how Ukrainian Assumption Church was founded over 100 years ago in 1908 on Wayne Street, Perth Amboy when the grandparents of many of today’s parishioners were teenagers and immigrated from Ukraine. She explained that every local catholic church had an organization for women and for girls (sodalities). “Once a year in May, the Blessed Mother was crowned in Waters Stadium. The bleachers on both the home and visiting side were packed. I had to walk from my home on Kennedy Street because it was so overcrowded. But, little by little there were less and less sodalities, so around ten years ago, I thought that all the women in the catholic community could gather together for the Moleben. We celebrate the Moleben every Tuesday in May, and you are welcome to come.”
The evening ended with refreshments and fellowship with all the participants.
The Annual Easter dinner at Assumption Parish in Perth Amboy, NJ started right after the Divine Liturgy in our school hall. Tables covered with festive colors were filled with over two hundred people enjoying a delicious dinner and fellowship. A sincere thank you to the kitchen volunteers for preparing the delicious Sviachene meal and to our parish Sisters for a very entertaining music program. Homemade desserts were also available, so many participants could indulge in the sweets they gave up for Lent.