84th annual Ukrainian Seminary Day set for Sunday
Pyrohy, polka and pysanky are just three of the many cultural traditions to be featured at an event celebrating the heritage and faith of an Eastern European country this weekend.
The 84th annual Ukrainian Seminary Day will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at St. Nicholas Picnic Grove and Hall, Route 901, Primrose. Admission and parking are free and will be held rain or shine. Adjustments will be made in the case of rain, according to the Very Rev. Archpriest Michael Hutsko, dean of the South Anthracite Deanery, and pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, Mount Carmel.
“It’s an opportunity to experience the culture and traditions as well as the faith of the Ukrainian people, many of whom emigrated to this Northeast Pennsylvania area in the late 1800s and established churches and communities and who have remained very close to their parishes who now sponsor this event to support the education of seminarians,” Hutsko said. “It’s more than just a picnic; it’s a real festival and celebration of culture and tradition of the Ukrainian people.”
This year’s event, which is sponsored by the 12 parishes of the deanery, will feature some new demonstrations such as cross-stitch, pysanky — the Ukrainian decorating of Easter eggs — and the writing of icons, Hutsko said.
“We have a woman coming who is going to demonstrate and speak about iconography, from the preparing of the wood or the canvas right through the whole process of painting an icon,” he added.
Also new this year will be the performance of a group of 12 to 15 vocalists from around Washington, D.C., who sing traditional Ukrainian music all over the country. The group, called Spiv Zhyttya, or Living in Song, will be performing about 1 p.m. and will be splitting their stage time with Kazka Ukrainian Folk Ensemble, a group of local talent who sing, perform and dance.
Mike Buryk will be returning for a second year for an exhibition on the art of Nicholas Bervinchak, as well as a presentation on the genealogy of Ukrainian ancestors in the region, Hutsko said.
Even with all the music, creative instruction and art, no one would blame you for going solely for the Ukrainian cuisine. The festival will have for sale pyrohy, holubtsi, halushki, homemade soups, cakes and pastries, as well as typical American fare, Hutsko said.
“All the food is prepared by the parishes of the deanery. It’s all homemade and each parish has a specialty and that’s what they prepare,” he said. ”For instance, my parish here in Mount Carmel is known for its pierogies, so we prepare over 450 dozen pierogies and the parish then donates it for sale at Ukrainian Day to help raise the funds. Other parishes’ specialties are halupkies, others make halushki, so it’s spread out across the 12 parishes.”
There will also be more than 50 theme basket raffles,
all made by parishes of the deanery, as well as a “sizable” number of vendors coming from the tri-state area with traditional Eastern European and Ukrainian items, such as crossstitched shirts, woodworkings, pysanky items, books and more, Hutsko said.
All profits from the celebration will benefit St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in D.C.
“Since 1985, this deanery has raised just short of $900,000 through Ukrainian Day to support the seminary,” Hutsko said. Nevertheless, he mentioned, none of the donations could be made if it weren’t for Ukrainian Day, which takes a colossal amount of time and labor to hold.
“The dedication of these lay people is very inspiring.
Their devotion to the church and to this cause through all of the years — 84 years is a long time to do this — is something that we’re all very proud of and we understand how much work it takes. It’s a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice, but everyone is fully involved and fully committed to the success of this event because they believe in supporting the seminary and the education of young men for the priesthood.”
Next up for the South Anthracite Deanery is the Call to Prayer Pilgrimage that will be held at noon Aug. 26 at Assumption BVM Church in Centralia. The event was borne out from a visit in 2015, when the head of the Ukrainian church came to the United States. He was so moved with the church in Centralia and the parishioners’ commitment to the church in the otherwise desolate community that he decided to make a pilgrimage of it.
“We bring the entire town back to life for one day,” Hutsko said.
“It’s more than just a picnic; it’s a real festival and celebration of culture and tradition of the Ukrainian people.” Very Rev. Archpriest Michael Hutsko, dean of South Anthracite Deanery and pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, Mounta Carmel
The Kazka Ukrainian Folk Ensemble will perform at 1 p.m. Sunday during the 84th annual Ukrainian Seminary Day to be held at St. Nicholas Picnic Grove, Primrose.
Anne Marie Wachter, Pottsville, front, and Aaron and Erin Wachter, Elizabethtown, check out an exhibit of works by Nicholas Bervinchak during last year’s festival.