Metropolitan Lawrence – Annual Levee 2016
February 8, 2016
St. Anne’s Parish and ЦЕНТРАЛЯ - the Ukrainian Catholic Council hosted an amazing event for this year’s annual Metropolitan’s New Year Levee in honour of the Archbishop of Winnipeg, Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, OSBM.
The event started with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Anne church in the North Kildonan district of Winnipeg. The parish was joined by many other parishioners from around the city that chose to attend the Divine Liturgy at which Metropolitan Lawrence presided. The Knights of Columbus and the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood provided a very colourful and regal honour guard to escort the Archbishop into and out of the church and during the Liturgy itself.
Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy and sisters, as well as the Knights, the Brotherhood members and their spouses were invited to a special gathering in the parish’s upper level reception hall. This gave an opportunity for the Metropolitan to be greeted by some of the individuals with whom he closely collaborates in providing pastoral care in the Archeparchy. Not all the clergy or women religious from around Manitoba could attend, but St. Anne’s Parish Priest, Fr. Mark Gnutel made everyone feel welcome and all had an opportunity to convey their sentiments of appreciation and best wishes to Metropolitan Lawrence. One of the highlights of the gathering was when one of the oldest priests in the Archeparchy, Rt. Rev. Eugene Rudachek showed up bearing gifts and greetings for the Metropolitan.
Following the hour-long reception the honour guard led the Metropolitan to the parish’s main hall below the church where hundreds of representatives from most parishes around the Archeparchy and many other guests had gathered. The premises were brightly decorated as were the many tables that filled the hall to capacity. As the entourage entered the great hall and made its way to the head table, one of St. Anne’s choirs sang the appropriate Mnohaya Lita (God grant you many years). After an opening blessing given by Metropolitan Lawrence, the choir sang a few seasonal selections – a Christmas carol and a “shchedrivka” song traditionally sung at the feast of Theophany.
The host of the program was parish council chairperson, David Mazur. A group of children from the parish catechism program performed a group greeting and at the end were the first to receive a special Jubilee of Mercy holy card specially printed for the Metropolitan to distribute this year.
A beautiful luncheon that offered something for everyone was enjoyed by all – especially the incredible desserts.
The annual event had an additional festive spirit as Metropolitan Lawrence’s 65th birthday was also being celebrated.*
The Metropolitan spoke to the gathering, expressing his gratitude for their participation in the days events, but also their dedication over the past year. His theme for his homily as well as the levee address focused on the changing situation of the Church and Archeparchy in particular. The changes both demand and facilitate a need for a whole new way of cooperation among the clergy and between the parishes. Sharing the responsibilities and opportunities to live the mission of the Church in our day and within the unique circumstances of the Church in Manitoba. He stressed that the goal, more than ever, is oneness. It is part of our human nature perhaps to want to shine out and be successful. However, today this must shift more toward making the united efforts of the whole successful. Today’s event shows the beauty of celebrating together. Those gathered came from many different parishes and this must be the spirit to support each other and collaborate with other parishes, even non Ukrainian Catholic parishes, for the advancement of the essential mission of the Church. The Metropolitan stayed on to meet each and every individual that came forward, to hear their greeting, often to chat a bit, and to give them the Jubilee Icon card of the Mother of God – the Door of Mercy.
Fr. Mark Gnutel closed the event with his own observations and thank you to all who had collaborated in making this year’s levee one of the most successful in recent years.
* FYI. Reaching 65 doesn’t raise questions of retirement as it might for most people… Although we often use the term “retire” for clergy, ordained priests never really retire per se, but they do resign from the pastoral responsibility of actively holding an office within the Church. Furthermore, the canonical age for obligatory resignation from office for a bishop or any priest is 75 (cf. CCEO c. 210 and c. 297). The superior to whom the resignation is submitted may choose not to accept the resignation for pastoral reasons and for a certain period of time or indefinitely.
Very Rev. Michael Kwiatkowski