Who We Are
One need not be ethnically Ukrainian to join our parish. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is a church that comes from the Ukrainian people, but is for the entire human race.
The mission of Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Parish is to promote the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth according to the tradition of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Chicago’s Ukrainian Catholics established their first parish, St. Nicholas, in 1905. They eventually built a magnificent church, now a cathedral, at Rice Street and Oakley Blvd. in 1911. These pioneers represented the “first wave” of immigrants from Ukraine, those who arrived prior to World War I. Most came from rural backgrounds with little or no formal education, and a weak sense of ethno-national identity.
Why our parish?
- to grow in our relationship with Christ through the liturgy and through personal prayer
- to hold in highest reverence both Scripture and the Tradition of the Church
- to foster stewardship within our church community
- to be a center of mutual support and caring
- to live in a way that speaks to the world of the Gospel
- to invite others to become members of, and to participate in the life of the Church
- to actively teach and uphold the sanctity of life
- to reach out to the poor and those in need within our parish, our community, our world
- to support Catholic Education
- to support the spiritual formation of our youth, the future of the Church
- to support family life and values
- to act responsibly regarding the world God has entrusted to us
The Best is yet to come
Our mandate from Christ and our hierarchy is to proclaim the Good News and to have as our goal the “Holiness of a united people of God”. For as he reminds us, the parish is the place where Christian holiness most often germinates, grows and matures. Therefore we with the entire Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church are called to spiritual renewal striving for holiness under the guidance of our Bishop as father and teacher of the faith.
To make this goal a reality every parish needs to come to know Christ more perfectly through the reading and studying of the Word of God (Holy Scriptures). Secondly, we are called to attend and participate іn the Divine Liturgy where we partake of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian lives, as often as each of us can. Thirdly we are called to diakonia, serving in love our parishioners, neighbors and all in need, which is the vocation and task of each Christian without exception.
The parish community is led by our Bishop as head and father. Under the care and in cooperation with their pastor members of the parish serve one another according to the gifts which they received from the Lord. The parish council and all those in church leadership must realize that theirs is first of all a service to God and neighbor. Much needed in the parish are leaders of catechesis, brotherhoods and sisterhoods, youth organizations and prayer groups and those who perform charitable works.
To become a holy parish we must be aware that we are an icon of the unity of the Persons of the Holy Trinity and that cherishing and fostering unity is essential in the parish and in the entire Church. We are also called to pray and work for the restoration of unity of all the churches of the Kyivan tradition. We must therefore “…not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).
Finally to be a vibrant parish we are called by Christ and our Bishops to reach outside our church communities to carry Christ’s teaching into the world, to transform the world with the Spirit of Christ. We are taught that we are to be ready to bear witness to Christ not only with our life, but also in word. That these initiatives be implemented and our parishes grow in vibrancy, depends on each and every one of us, for we are all responsible for the renewal of our parish communities. All of us need to be “living stones” making the Church present where we live. Let us therefore open the doors of our hearts and homes to Christ, allowing His Holy Spirit to transform us, purify us and strengthen us in God’s love. Through the motherly protection of the Most Holy Mother of God and the intercession and aid of our Ukrainian saints and blessed martyrs, we shall certainly make headway, if we take to heart the teachings of our Patriarch and Bishop. Then we will truly say, “THE BEST IS YET TO COME”.
Christ continues to bless us abundantly, and as many have stated over the years, our parish “the little parish with a big heart” continues to grow and be nourished by our Lord. The Immaculate Mother of God continues to intercede, protected and watch over us. We thank God for the committed priests who have served all these past years. Thanks be to God for the gift of our faith, our Ukrainian heritage and for the fact that we are part of the Kyivan Church, the Church of Martyrs who have survived persecution, opression and suppression and continue to grow and flourish. I thank God for all of you, my dearly beloved parishioners, Ukrainian and American speaking members of our beloved parish family. We truly have been blessed abundantly.