Long Branch, NJ— During the annual clergy retreat held here September 21-23 at San Alfonso Retreat House, the South Anthracite Deanery clergy presented Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak and Bishop Andriy with a check in the sum of $22,500 which represented proceeds raised this year by the deanery for the support of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Since 1985 until 2019, the Annual Ukrainian Seminary Day celebration of faith, spiritual and cultural heritage has raised $987,600 and with the funds from 2020, that total since 1985 is now $1,010,100.
The year 2020 was a very different and difficult year coping with the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting safe distancing guidelines. The South Anthracite Deanery clergy and faithful were confronted with the dilemma—how to continue the tradition this year without jeopardizing the health and safety of the faithful.
The clergy under the leadership of Very Reverend Mykola Ivanov, protopresbyter of the South Anthracite Deanery, decided that this year, Sunday, July 26 would be a day of prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life since the traditional festival could not be held at Primrose.
“We decided to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 26 in St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Shenandoah, Pa., the first Eastern Catholic church founded in the United States.,” he said.
Father Ivanov explained that as we prayed for vocations, we returned to the birthplace of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States.
This year funds were raised from appeal letters that were sent to the parishes and a “Lucky Three Raffle” was also conducted. The “Lucky Three” winners were: First Prize: Ticket # 0168 Kathy Kraft – $500.00; Second Prize: Ticket # 0839 Georgine Borchick – $200.00 and Third Prize: Ticket # 0225 Mike Semanchik – $50.00.
Since 1933, when then Bishop Constantine Bohachevsky was the inspirational leader for the first Ukrainian Day for the establishment of the Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in the United States, generations of faithful gathered every year on the last Sunday in July in Lakewood Park, Barnesville, Pa. until 1983 to pray for vocations and support the seminary.
After Lakewood Park closed in 1983, without a home, there was no Ukrainian Day in 1984.
Very Reverend George Dubitsky, dean and Very Reverend Frank Patrylak, vice- dean, in response to an appeal from Metropolitan-Archbishop Stephen Sulyk in 1985, and with the support of the clergy, faithful and South Anthracite Deanery Holy Name Societies, relocated the annual event to St. Nicholas Grove, Primrose, just outside of Minersville, Pa. On Sunday, July 28, 1985 Ukrainian Seminary Day, with a new format, was once again a reality in Schuylkill County in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania.
This year despite the covid-19 pandemic, the tradition of prayer for vocations and financial support for St. Josaphat Seminary continued.
The deanery is comprised of 12 churches in the Pennsylvania counties of Schuylkill (Frackville, Maizeville, McAdoo, Middleport, Minersville, Saint Clair and Shenandoah), Luzerne (Hazleton), Northumberland (Marion Heights, Mount Carmel and Shamokin) and Columbia (Centralia).