On Sunday, November 14, 2010 I visited the Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church of Toronto to attend the Holy Mass, which they call the “Great Matins” which starts at 8:30 a. m. The Holy Eucharist Church is located at 515 Broadview Avenue, in Toronto. I decided to visit this Catholic Church because after calling several churches to find out if I could visit to do my visitation report, this Church seemed to be more interesting because it was the only Eucharist Catholic Church nearby my grandparents’ house.
This beautiful church sits atop the Don Valley and overlooks a beautiful park. Father Volodymyr Krivoglavyi, who is a Parish priest, leads the Mass. He is assisted by Father Josaphat Korchinski who is the assistant priest. The Deacons of the Holy Eucharist Church are, Paul del Junco, Peter Filipowhich, and Charles Hutchison. The Holy Eucharist Church is an outstanding example of traditional and contemporary church designs. I chose to visit the Holy Eucharist Church because I was interested in learning more about the Catholic religion.
The Catholic religion intrigued me the most from any other religion because I wanted to experience what the difference is when it comes to how Masses are held in a Catholic Church compared to the Friday prayer “Jumaa” for Muslims. I decided to go visit the church early so that I can make some observation about how the church looked from the outside and the inside. As well as to notice how people entered the church and how they were greeted. As I arrived I noticed people setting up tables in the parking lot.
This was being done because as a community they sell religious items, such as frames, crosses, necklaces and food to raise money for events that the church does. This was quite interesting because the community was coming together to help raise funds for a good cause, and were dedicated in their practices. The people I talked to before entering the church were very friendly and interesting. Even though not all of them could speak in English properly they were quite friendly and were able to understand most of what I was saying. I interviewed the Parish priest for a few minutes because he was really busy and did not have too much time.
The Parish priest, Father Krivoglavyi was of Ukrainian descent and in my interview I noticed that Father Krivoglavyi was not that great in speaking in English. In the brief time I had I asked the Father about some things that I did not understand or found interesting. I was not able to get much detail from the interview so I also did some research online. There were many architecturally interesting details about the Church both externally and internally. The narthex or vestibule is the first part of the church; one enters this part through three doors. The Churches interior is quite unique, when it comes to the Nave.
There is a hierarchical plan in the in the way icons are to be arranged in the Church. Upon entering the church through the narthex I noticed the dome, which is the highest point of the Church. In my brief interview with the Father, I asked some questions about some of the things that I did not understand and according to Father Volodymyr Krivoglavyi, “the dome is reserved for our Lord. ” As I walked around I noticed on the front wall, above the sanctuary, is the figure of Mary, who is the mother of God. When I asked Father Krivoglavyi, “What does the figure of Mary symbolize? He responded saying, “My son, Mary is the Mother of God, and she is the link between the creator and his creation. She symbolizes the bond between us and our Lord. ” To the side of the Church next to the sanctuary there are icons of the angels, apostles and saints. Before the icon screen, also known as the “Iconostasis,” there are two Candelabra. In my interview with Father Krivoglavyi, I asked him about the significance of the Candelabra and he told me briefly about how God guided the Hebrews to the promise land and they symbolize the light of Christ.
Father Krivoglavyi explained that, “These two candelabra remind us that we, too, have a promised land — the kingdom of Heaven. Just as God guided the Jews to their promised land, so today He guides us to ours through the teachings of the Gospel and the grace of the sacraments. ” The sanctuary and the nave are separated by the Iconostasis. And this is symbolic to the temple veil in the Old Testament, which separated the Holy Holies from the remainder of the Temple. As I observed the Iconostasis I noticed that on the screen there are religious pictures of Christ, Mary and other saints.
When I asked what the pictures meant and why they were they placed on the screen, Father Krivoglavyi said, “These pictures are here because all of them invite the faithful to worship. ” On the Icon screen I noticed that there were these doors. These doors are known as “The Royal Doors” and are called “Royal” because of the fact that “Christ the King is carried through them in the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist. ” The Father quoted the Bible saying “No one comes to the Father, but through me” (John 14:6). He explained that, “these Royal Doors remind us that Christ alone is the door leading to communion ith the Father. ” As I went further in to the church I noticed that on the four columns of the Nave there were depictions of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are called the “Four Gospel Writers” and according to Father Krivoglavyi, “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the pillars of Christianity. ” This is because “their writings have spread the Gospel of Jesus to the four ends of the earth. ” At the Mass the people of God are called together, with a priest presiding and acting in the person of Christ, and they celebrate the memorial of the Lord. Seeing all these people attend the Holy Mass was quite astonishing.
The Mass is made up of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word ended with the “homily,” after the Gospel had been proclaimed and the Liturgy of the Eucharis began with the “Creed,” which are also known as the Prayers of the Faithful. In my interview with Father Krivoglavyi I asked him why people go to Church to attend the Holy Mass. He told me that, “People come to the Church to attend the Holy Mass, because they celebrate the Eucharist. They celebrate the Eucharist because at the Last Supper our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood.
He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again and in this way to entrust to his beloved Bride, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection. ” The Holy Mass began with the gathering of everyone in the Church. As I entered the Church through the narthex I was greeted by some greeters. And then a “cantor” or “lector” asked everyone in the “pews” to exchange greetings, and to acknowledge that we all have come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
When the Catholics were entering the Church, they used Holy Water which was provided by each entrance. Everyone dipped their right hand into the water and made the sign of the cross. According to the Father this ritual is done because it symbolizes the holy event of baptism where Catholics were baptized by Holy water. When the Mass started everyone stood up, and the Mass began with a choir that opened the Mass with hymns. As the singing of the hymns started the congregation also joined in and people around me began singing.
There were people that were quite enthusiastic and some people that were not as enthusiastic when singing the hymns. The priest asked the congregation to join him making the sign of the cross and he says, “May the Lord be with you,” and everyone in the congregation responded by saying “also with you. ” After this the priest began praying the opening prayer and in the prayer the priest was asking Christ to grant the people good health and spirit. In this prayer I noticed that the congregation said “Amen” at the end of the opening prayer.
I found this to be interesting because in the Muslim religion when the Imam says the prayer, the congregation also replies by saying “Ameen” which is similar to saying “Amen. ” After the congregation said “Amen” everyone sat down, and the assistant priest stood up and began the Liturgy of the Word with readings from a scripture. He began reading from the Gospel about stories of times of Christ and about the time after Christ. Between the readings that the priest was doing he also did some chants which I kind of did not understand that much, due to the fact that the priest was not that good in speaking in English.
Father Krivoglavyi stood up and invited the congregation to take part in another singing where they sang a song. I noticed that in this song the congregation and the choir sang alternately, and that not everyone was singing this time. The priest finished his readings by saying, “Praise be to the Lord and Jesus Christ,” everyone sat back down after this. The Parish priest continued on after talking about the meaning of life and the significance of marriage. I found this to be quite interesting because he talked about why God brought us into this world and what the meaning is of us being in this world.
As well as about how the afterlife is important and that many of us believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Father Krivoglavyi also went on talking about how “marriage is a sacred bond between two people” and that marriage is important in life and that it should be done with intent to prevent sins and to bring forth children into this world. Father Krivoglavyi continued by talking about judgement day and, from what I understood, there is a place in the afterlife for everyone.
Due to his stingy English I was not able to fully understand everything that was being said in the prayers and I got lost near the end. When I looked around I noticed that the congregation was quite reserved and was interested in what the Priest was saying. The children that attended were not as quite like the adults which I found to be normal. The Parish priest was very enthusiastic when he was talking about life and marriage, and was getting the attention of the people when he was talking. After the Parish priest, Father Krivoglavyi, finished everyone was silent and together the ongregation stood up and the priest began another prayer which is called the “Eucharistic prayer” where he says, “I believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… ” After this I noticed that a few people got up and grabbed the Holy water and a drink, which I believe was wine, and with several children headed towards the Altar where they handed the bread and wine to the assistant priest. After receiving the Holy water and wine the assistant priest poured them into a golden cup. From doing extra research I found out that this is called the communion which is the actual reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
The importance of this sacrament is that without this “it would be very difficult to resist grave temptations and avoid grievous sin. ” After receiving communion there everyone was silent and from what I observed I believe they meditated. After the communion was distributed the priest, deacons and the assistant priest returned the “holy” cup to the altar. The choir began to sing again, and Father Krivoglavyi took a piece of bread and ate it, then he took the “holy” cup and drank from it. Following the singing from the choir the priest invited the people to pray and concluded the mass.
At the end there were some announcements made about the events that the church will be holding in the near future, and the people making these announcements also asked the congregation to donate money to help the poor and needy. After this everyone stood up and went to the assistant priest to receive a piece of bread and blessings from the priest. I noticed that the assistant priest praised people by raising the piece of bread over the forehead of the people and saying “for Jesus Christ” then he gives it to the person. The mass ends with the solemn blessing of the congregation.
From what I experienced by attending this mass the central message of this religion I believe is that one should seek salvation through faith and by doing good work. As well as one should fear God for he is the one that brought us in this world and that there is a place for everyone in the afterlife. After attending this Mass, I came to a conclusion that the Catholic religion is quite similar to many other religions in the way that some of the prayers are done. Through this visitation I realized that there are not that many differences between the Catholic religion and Islam.
Both religions believe in an afterlife as well as having the fear of God. In Islam after the Imam says a prayer the congregation says “Ameen” which is similar to what I noticed from this mass. Here the congregation said “Amen” after the priest recited prayers. The religious traditions are also similar because in both religions there are prayers said, announcements are made, people join together when praying and pray as one. Therefore my visitation of a Catholic Church was really interesting and beneficial because I was able to get a better grasp of how the rituals are performed and how the central message is similar to other religions.