Youth, young adult leaders, volunteers, and clergy from the States of Ohio and Pennsylvania of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma and beyond gathered together on October 12-13, 2019 at Crestfield Camp & Conference Center in Slippery Rock, PA for the annual Fall Youth Retreat.

Youth, clergy, chaperones, youth ministers and volunteers gathered together for the annual Fall Youth Retreat that took place on October 12-13, 2019 at Crestfield Camp and Conference Center in Slippery Rock, PA. The retreat, organized by the Eparchial Youth Committee, under the leadership of Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, the head of the committee and pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH and St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH, and Mrs. Lisa Hladio and Mrs. Vicki Freed, the coordinators of the retreat, provided an opportunity for the youth to spend time with the Lord and their fellow retreatants in the spirit of the Ukrainian Catholic faith and fellowship. The theme of the retreat this year was based on the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: “Because there is one Bread, we, who are many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one Bread” (10:17). Young people from Grades 7 to 12 enjoyed the beautiful and picturesque Western Pennsylvania surroundings while participating in prayer, confession, reflection, fun games and community building.

The retreat began with the Third Hour prayer, led by Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak and cantored by the retreatants. The youth were led in song throughout the retreat under the leadership of Mrs. Lisa Hladio. The retreatants were welcomed by the event coordinators as well as a young adult leader and the director of the youth group at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic parish in Carnegie, PA, Mr. Salvador Brambila, who presented an interactive and engaging presentation on the relevance of Christian community and the importance of the Church from the teenage perspective.

The youth had an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful autumnal campgrounds and participate in hikes and team building activities. At midday, everyone prayed the Sixth Hour, led by Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak that was followed by a delicious lunch.

The youth tackled a challenging ‘high ropes course,’ working together and encouraging each other to complete the obstacles. The youth were likewise addressed by a young adult youth minister, Mr. Michael Levy, regarding the importance of the Eucharist and the Church as community, who also addressed the challenges and difficulties of living as a Christian community in the teenage experience. Upon the conclusion of the presentation, the retreatants were able to partake in the Holy Mystery of Confession provided by Fr. Ihor Hohosha, Pastor of St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA and St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Mckees Rocks, PA as well as Fr. Jason Charron, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Ukrainian Catholic Church in Wheeling, WV that was preceded by an examination of conscience. Afterwards, the retreatants prayed the Small Compline service led by Fr. Ihor Hohosha with the assistance of Fr. Jason Charron and Deacon Myron Spak from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA and member of the Eparchial Youth Committee. The evening concluded with a campfire, singing, and fellowship.

The second day of the retreat prayerfully commenced with morning prayer, followed by breakfast. After the morning meal, the youth played an exciting “Capture the Flag” game – a Crestfield camp classic! Afterwards, everyone gathered together for the Sixth Hour prayer service and lunch.

The retreat concluded with an open-air celebration of the Divine Liturgy, presided by Fr. Michael Polosky, Protosyncellus of St. Josaphat Eparchy and Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ambridge, PA and Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Aliquippa, PA with the responses provided by the youth and chaperones under the leadership of Mrs. Lisa Hladio. During his homily, Fr. Michael expounded on the theme of the retreat, encouraging all of the youth participants to be the Church and to recognize their importance within the community of the faithful – the Mystical Body of Christ.

The Eparchial Youth Committee is likewise very grateful to the following people, who provided their help during the retreat: Mr. John Milligan, Mrs. Patricia Cheek, Mr. Ray Fedorko, Mr. Joseph Levy and some other people.

This year’s Fall Youth Retreat was a great spiritual, prayerful and engaging event for the youth that provided an opportunity for the participants to grow in holiness and a chance to have a genuine relationship with the Lord. The next retreat is planned for October 10-11, 2020 at Crestfield in Slippery Rock, PA.


Press Office of St. Josaphat Eparchy