Over 60 youth, young adult leaders, volunteers, and clergy from the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma and beyond gathered together on December 8-10, 2017 at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School and St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Emmanuel Youth Rally that was held in the city for the first time. The theme of the rally was “God with Us” and was centered on the preparation for the celebration of the feast of the Nativity of our Lord.
The youth event was organized and attended by most of the Eparchial Youth Committee members under the leadership of Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, the committee’s director and pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH and St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH; Fr. Joseph Matlak, co-director of the committee, administrator of St. Basil the Great Ukrainian Catholic Mission in Charlotte, NC, and coordinator of the rally as well as the following committee members: Deacon Myron Spak of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, PA; Subdeacon Joseph Zappernick of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH; Mr. Joseph Levy of St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA; Mr. Michael Levy of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, OH; and Mr. Nathaniel Lischak and Alex Lischak of St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH. Fr. Matthew Schroeder, pastor of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Garner, NC was likewise able to participate in the rally on December 9.
On Saturday, December 9 – the solemn feast of the Maternity of St. Anne – Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Anne Catholic Church and he was aided at the altar by Deacon Matthew Hanes of St. Basil the Great Ukrainian Catholic Mission in Charlotte, NC and Deacon Myron Spak. On Sunday, December 10, the committee members visited the community of St. Basil Ukrainian Catholic Mission in Charlotte, having participated in the Divine Liturgy, presided over by Fr. Joseph Matlak and concelebrated by Deacon Matthew Hanes and Deacon Myron Spak.
In addition to the Eucharistic celebration, fun and engaging presentations and games as well as the food, the rally participants had an opportunity to partake in the Holy Mystery of Reconciliation made available by Fr. Joseph Matlak, Fr. Matthew Schroeder, and Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak. The Emmanuel Youth Rally was a wonderful, prayerful, and engaging event for the youth of the eparchy and beyond and it provided an opportunity for the youth as well as adults to experience the presence of the Lord in their lives in the spirit of the Ukrainian Catholic faith and fellowship.