April 18, 2019


His Grace Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, the Archbishop of Winnipeg, always chooses one of the parish churches of the Archeparchy at which he celebrates the Holy Thursday Divine Liturgy together with special services that usually include: vespers, the blessing of the Chrism oil and the 'washing of feet'. This year, Fr. Djura Maljik and the parishioners of St. Andrew parish in Winnipeg's 'Point Douglas' neighbourhood offered to host the event.

It is on this day that the Church celebrates the institution of both the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist and the Mystery of the Priesthood. So, it is natural that the whole local Church - clergy, religious and lay faithful - are invited and encouraged to join together with their local Bishop to celebrate these awesome mysteries (Sacraments). Leading the services was Metropolitan Lawrence, but he was joined by Metropolitan-emeritus Most Rev. Stefan Soroka (who has now retired to the Winnipeg area) and dozens of clergy as well as religious Sisters and many other Faithful that came to participate in the truly special day.

The many priests, deacons and subdeacons, all vested in red, were an impressive sight and encouraging witness as they all came to concelebrate with their bishop and fraternally renew their vocation to Sacred Orders. Several members of the congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate were also present, helping to lead the singing and to be present for this all-Archeparchial event.

During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Lawrence also consecrated an urn of Chrism oil (Myron) that will be distributed to all the parish priests throughout Manitoba and is used for the Mystery of Chrismation (Sacrament of Confirmation) when the Sacraments of Initiation are administered. One colourful and dramatic aspect of the Holy Thursday services is the tradition of the "washing of feet" at which the bishop washes the feet of his priests as the Lord Jesus washed the feet of His Apostles at the "Last Supper'. Metropolitan Lawrence designated 12 priests that would act as the Apostles during a dramatic reading of the Gospel of St. John (13:1-17). [Sometimes, this also takes place in the parish setting where the pastor washes the feet of those involved in various parish ministries and parish council or randomly chosen individuals from the congregation.] The underlying message in the ceremony is that followers of Christ are to imitate the example of Jesus Himself, Who "did not come to be served, but to serve", and "you also ought to wash one another's feet". After the first 11 priests had their feet washed by Metropolitan Lawrence, he came to Fr. Djura Maljik, parish priest of St. Andrew's Parish, he had the role of the Apostle Peter. Fr. Djura played his role with heart, first refusing to allow his feet to be washed, then acquiescing to the request.

Those leading the singing, a mixture of Sisters and Cantors from various parishes, led with confidence and yet in a manner that allowed everyone to sing along with them. Following the ceremonies in the Church the ladies of the parish, under the direction of MaryAnn Klasz, graciously not only invited the Clergy and Sisters for lunch, as is the usual custom, but they invited everyone down for a wonderful, albeit Lenten, lunch of tuna, macaroni, salads and fruit. Metropolitan drew attention to the fact that MaryAnn Klasz, a long time cook at the Metropolitan's Residence, was celebrating that very day her birthday. A gift was presented to her and everyone joined in "Mnohaya Lita".

The clergy, in particular, but certainly everyone else as well, returned to their home parishes to prepare for the Matins service of the reading of the 12 Passion Gospel accounts later that evening and the many services that would follow... through to the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday.

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