Although we don’t target their specific demographics, with their distinct attributes and traits, our parishioners are as abundant as the number of grains in a wheat sheaf of a typical Ukrainian field. Our parishioners come from every part of Ukraine, though for the most part from Western regions. Some are newly arrived immigrants; some are born or naturalized U.S. citizens. We are students and teachers, lawyers and doctors, engineers and technicians, health care and government workers, police officers and fire fighters, accountants and financial specialists, artists and designers, and different types of self-employed and business owners. Some serve our country and in all branches of the US military. All of us without exception have unique and plentiful talents and skills. We have passions and emotions. We like and dislike. We can be judgmental; we may like gossip. We have good sense of humor, and we can laugh and ridicule ourselves. We may glance at others while at church, and we may even judge others how they behave or what kind of clothes they wear. We are humans after all.
Yet, despite our differences, our parishioners are as packed, as close to each other as the seeds in a typical Ukrainian sunflower. Like sunflowers that always turn their heads toward the sun, we seek the light. We believe in and fear God. We support our church’s mission; we love our country and the origin we came from. We love our culture, traditions, history. We love our original Ukrainian food. And just like sunflowers that absolutely refuse to give up on the sun, our parishioners refuse to give up on our pierogies. That is why that signature dish of ours is served every Sunday in our church Hall and at every Ukrainian festival. There are approximately 500 of our adult registered parishioners at our church, but there are thousands of us during our major holidays, festivals, and all those who believe in God, our mission, servitude, goodness, light, they too are and can become our active parishioners.
OUR Current Church and Our Parishioners
OUR PARISHIONERS HISTORY AND AMBITIONS
Church of Community Builders
It may have been during his visit to Philadelphia on September 21, 1976 that our revered Cardinal and Archbishop Josyf Slipyj uttered that the community of united people can create miracles. Our community of unified people has always possessed the strength Josyf Slipyj called for. Taking the Cardinal’s words into consideration that community needs to serve both the church and the people in that community, and not someone’s self-ambitions and needs, they certainly tried to live up to the Cardinal’s expectations. In fact, as soon as they acquired the 16-acre land on 1013 Fox Chase road, they decided they would dedicate themselves to both, building their church and creating an affectionate community.
As of 1975 the newly purchased 16-acre property’s two buildings needed a complete reconstruction. By 1979, however, the parishioners managed to rebuild one building and turned it into the chapel for 125 people. They did not stop on building just a church to pray in for they understood that their chapel, their church would only be as strong as their people. They needed more than a chapel—more so than the chapel, they needed people, a community to light that church with life, not just candles and electricity. Not surprisingly as early as June 11, 1978, they developed a 10-year plan to expand, to turn their premises into a community. In their plan, they outlined specific projects that their premises must include.
- Church (some envisioned the new church as the St. Michael Golden Dome Monastery in Kyiv, which they wanted to be dedicated to 1000 years of Christianization of Ukraine).
- Church Hall
- Retirement Home
- Residence for the Priest and office for Paraphialna Rada
- Apartment building for Housekeeper
- Parking Lot for cars and for walking paths
For the complete, original plan of this ambitious project, please see the complete brochure on the right.
Our parishioners clearly were visionaries. They had beliefs, aspirations, good will. The twenty first century Mykhailivka parishioners’ dreams may be different, but dream they must, and not simply for themselves but to inspire future generations to believe, to hope, to dream. That is exactly how people can create miracles, and that is exactly what Josyf Slipyj may have had in mind when he said that community of people can create miracles.