April 7, 2019


At their 2018 gathering in Lviv, Ukraine, the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church declared 2019 a year to recognize Blessed Josaphata. In their 15th resolution, the Bishops announced that they were giving their blessing to "the celebration in 2019 of the 100th anniversary of the passing into eternity of the Venerable Mother Josaphata Hordashevska, the co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate".

Blessed Josaphata, who is venerated as the co-foundress of the now global order of religious Sisters, known as the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (Згромадження сестер служебниць Непорочної Діви Марії) was born 150 years ago 20 November 1869 and died 100 years ago in 7 April 1919. That is why Ukrainian Catholic parishes around the world were invited to celebrate a Divine Liturgy on April 7 to express gratitude to the Lord for the 'gift' of the example and dedication of this holy woman. His Beatitude, Sviatoslav, in a letter of greeting to the Provincial Superior of the SSMI in Ukraine, Sr. Myroslava Yakymets, SSMI, that was read on the eve of the beginning of the special year, compared Blessed Josaphata's "yes" to her call to serve the Lord with the "yes" that Mary the Mother of God expressed to the angel of the Lord that she would serve the Lord according to His Holy Will. On April 7 at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection in Kyiv, Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, CSsR, in his homily, also spoke about the person of Blessed Josaphata.... (see video, especially from 7:00 ff.)

Parishes around the Archeparchy of Winnipeg also participated in this special inspirational initiative. Many of the parishes that were able to offer one of their Sunday Eucharistic Liturgies in thanksgiving for Blessed Josaphata enjoyed the blessing of having one of the members of Blessed Josaphata's congregation of Sisters attend the special liturgy. One such parish was Holy Eucharist Parish in Winnipeg. The parish priest, Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski, spoke about the extraordinary example of Blessed Josaphata at the both the Ukrainian and English liturgies. However, at the 10:00 AM English Liturgy, Sr. Jean Zemliak, SSMI also addressed the congregation with inspirational messages from the life of Blessed Josaphata. Giving examples, she asked the faithful to take away two primary messages: 1. determination - to not give up, but seek strength in the Lord to complete the mission... and 2. service - to revive in themselves that Gospel call to serve others and maintain this as a lifelong value. Sister Jean also met everyone as they left distributing to them all holy cards and pamphlets.

Blessed Josaphata was declared as "Blessed" by Pope St. John Paul II in Lviv in 2001. We now ask the Lord that Blessed Josaphata will be recognized as "Saint Josaphata" that the whole universal Church will know of her wonderful example and will turn to her in prayer asking for God's grace through her intercession. This will be achieved one day, perhaps soon, but only by the heightened awareness of God's people and by our continuous prayer.....

Lord God, we praise and thank You
for having called your servant, Blessed Josaphata,
to uplift the hearts of the people in Ukraine,
through Evangelization, education and care of those in need.
As Co-Foundress, she was the first to live the charism
of a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate.
Her virtuous life and Evangelical witness
encouraged her Sisters to go beyond the borders,
bringing the Gospel message to all people.
May our prayers for her canonization be for Your greater glory
and the spiritual good of souls. Grant us the graces for which we humbly pray,
through her intercession. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...

A brief biography of Blessed Josaphata may be found on the Sisters Servants website [HERE]. An extensive article (Ukrainian) on the special year-long commemoration can be found on the official website of the Ukrainian Catholic Church [HERE].

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