On March 7, 2021 the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma held a virtual Lenten Lock-In Retreat for its youth via Zoom. The theme of this year’s spiritual renewal was “The Hope of the Resurrection.”
The youth, youth leaders, and clergy from the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma gathered on Sunday, March 7, 2021 – Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, according to the Gregorian calendar – in various places of the States of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina under the headship of its shepherd, Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo for the 10th youth Lock-In Retreat that this year was reduced to a two-hour virtual event, using the Zoom video platform, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of this year’s encounter was “The Hope of the Resurrection.” The event was organized by the Eparchial Youth Committee (EYC) under the leadership of Father Lubomir Zhybak, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH and St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH and coordinated by Deacon Myron Spak from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA with the assistance from Father Joseph Matlak, Co-Director of the EYC and pastor of St. Basil the Great Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Charlotte, NC, and the following EYC members: Michael Levy who attends St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA, Joseph Levy who also attends St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA, Victoria Freed who attends Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ambridge, PA, and Olena Korendii who attends Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH. The meeting provided an opportunity for the eparchy’s young people to pray, reflect, get together with others, and take time to focus on their Lenten journey to Pascha.
Several parishes, including St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Parma, OH, Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH, Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ambridge, PA, and St. Basil the Great Ukrainian Catholic Church in Charlotte, NC hosted individual in-person youth group gatherings in their parishes that joined the larger virtual Zoom meeting. This hybrid format allowed for a more dynamic dialogue and provided an opportunity for the youth to re-connect with old friends and make the new ones in the spirit of joy and Christian fellowship.
The Zoom encounter, coordinated by Deacon Myron, began with Bishop Bohdan formally welcoming the group and offering his prayers. Next, following the theme of the event, “The Hope of the Resurrection,” Father Joseph Matlak offered a personal reflection regarding the struggles of his late aunt – who was born on the Portuguese island of Madeira, but later immigrated to and died in England – and her powerful witness of hope. It was both an inspirational and personal account. Afterwards, the youth participated in a “Trivia Mania Palooza” challenge in which participants from the various parishes took part in a showdown of catechetical knowledge. The trivia game, prepared and presented by Michael Levy and Joseph Levy, was a fun and engaging experience. The teams from St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Parma, OH and St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Charlotte, NC finished in a first-place tie. It was a lively competition. The youth event ended with a heartfelt song performance by some youth from the Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH, concluding remarks by Bishop Bohdan, remarks and prayer by Father Lubomir, and a final blessing by Bishop Bohdan.
This year’s virtual Lenten youth Lock-In Retreat was a wonderful, prayerful, and engaging event for the young people whereby everyone had an opportunity to open up his or her heart to Jesus Christ, feel His love, and share it with others. The next youth Lock-In Retreat is planned for March 19-20, 2022 at the Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Parma, OH.
The next planned youth event in the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma is the Eparchial Youth Days scheduled for June 11-12, 2021 at the Cheeseman Farm in Portersville, PA.
Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma