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September 10, 2011 | Visits(2329)
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St. Nicholas Church Festival and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Exhibit

St. Nicholas Church Festival and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Exhibit

On the Feast of the Nativity, The Byzantine Church joyfully sings out the powerful proclamation of “Snami Boh – God is With Us”.  We find it so easy to announce this fact as our Lord is born as a baby in the cave at Bethlehem.  However, as true Christians, how do we as individuals live this fact in our daily life?  As an extension of this - within our own family, and beyond that, as a member of a church parish family?

St. Nicholas Church, Barberton, is a community that has recently had the wonderful opportunity to discover how “God is With Us” as a parish family. 

This was first evident when the parish, under the guidance of pastor Fr. Miron Kerul’-Kmec  prayerfully accepted the invitation of Bishop Kudrick to host the exhibit of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “A Voice Crying out on the Airwaves”, “A Prophet for Our Time”.

Created and developed by the Bishop Emil J. Mihalik Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center, Eparchy of Parma, the exhibit was unveiled at the Cathedral Center in 2010.  From there, it traveled to the cathedral of the Passaic Eparchy, and then to the city of Manhattan.  St. Nicholas was to be the next destination for this repository of information.

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Illinois is sponsoring the petition for the Cause of Canonization of Archbishop Sheen.  Currently the Vatican has recognized his holiness by bestowing upon his name the title of “Servant of God”; a Roman Catholic term connoting the first step in the path to sainthood.

The date of September 10, 2011 was chosen as the day to open the exhibit at St. Nicholas.  Certainly we knew that only if “God is With Us” would we be able to prepare for, and fulfill our promise to be a worthy host parish.   Bishop John was invited to be our honored guest and the keynote speaker.  He formally opened the exhibit with a 2:00pm ribbon cutting ceremony.  The St. George Cultural Center served as the site for this event.  Once inside the building, the St. Nicholas choir greeted those in attendance with two musical selections.  Next, the crowd gathered in the media room for an informative and poignant speech given by Bishop John.  This was followed by a video documentary on the life of Archbishop Sheen.

In his talk, the bishop explained the order of steps required by the church in the path to canonization.  Then, he went on to speak of the important aspects of Sheen’s life, among other causes,  focusing on the missionary life the bishop so dearly loved, especially where leprosy was concerned.  Another noteworthy aspect of his life was the unwavering confidence with which he preached on the conversion of the sinful, and conversion of the heart, to then be able to proclaim the truth of the gospel message, as the path to heaven.  After hearing Bishop John’s speech,  and watching  the documentary,  one could not help but stand in awe and deep admiration of the great holiness of Archbishop Sheen.

Coupled with the exhibit, the parish prepared a festival of Slavic food to satisfy the lunch and dinnertime needs of our guests.  Rounding out the day’s activities were tours of our church, children’s games, and music by the Uptown Down Band, a Rhythm and Blues band of one of our parishoners.

Throughout the planning process and execution of this wonderful event, the parish family came to know the truth that “God is With Us”.  The working of the Holy Spirit became evident by the way this event served to encourage community among the parishoners, encouraging each to contribute according to their ability and talent.  Truly, hosting this exhibit provided multiple benefits to the parish of St. Nicholas fostering fellowship and community with each other, our neighbors, and all the wonderful people who visited with us on this day.


By James Senderak






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