Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church Visits ACS

While Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk was in the United States for the Blessing of the Holodomor Monument in Washington, DC, and events at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia, His Beatitude expressed a desire to visit schools in the Archeparchy of Philadelphia.
Traveling with Archbishop Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, His Beatitude visited Assumption Catholic School (Perth Amboy, NJ), the largest of the schools in the archeparchy, on Wednesday afternoon, November 11.  When His Beatitude entered the auditorium, all 170 students thunderously greeted him with “Slava Isusu Chrestu!”.  While students in traditional Ukrainian dress presented His Beatitude with traditional bread and salt, others greeted him in three languages: Ukrainian, English, and Spanish.  Father Ivan Turyk, pastor, led everyone in prayer and members of the Junior Drama, Senior Drama, and Glee Clubs (under the direction of Mrs. Melanie Lawrence) presented the mission and 52-year history of the school in word and song.
After thanking the students for a wonderful program prepared on his behalf, His Beatitude Sviatoslav entertained questions from the students (again in three languages).  And what a variety of questions!  Students were interested in knowing about his calling to priesthood, favorite food and sports, the current tragic situation in Ukraine, the symbolism of his staff, qualities of a leader, whether he would pray for a sick relative, and even whether he knows Pope Francis.  His Beatitude answered all of their questions with patience and good humor. They were amazed when he told them that he does have a close relationship with Pope Francis.
In closing, Principal Szpyhulsky thanked the Patriarch for making the time to visit with the students, and promised to continue the school’s tradition of honoring the words written above the entrance to the school:  To know, to love, and to serve God.  The Patriarch’s historic visit motivated both students and teachers to work towards becoming true Christian leaders in the 21st century.