Syracuse’s Ukrainian Catholic community celebrates joyful trifecta

Submitted by Patricia A. Burak

The Ukrainian Catholic “hromada” (community) in Syracuse, New York, came together to celebrate a trifecta of joyful events November 17, 2017. The Very Rev. Mitered Archpriest Volodymyr Piso was honored for his 45 years of faithful service in the priesthood, which includes 20 years in the Stamford Eparchy and almost 8 years at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Syracuse after ordination as a priest in Ukraine in 1973. He was also recognized by the parish on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Reverend Mykhaylo Dosyak, pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church not only inspired and orchestrated the celebrations of both the retirement and birthday of Father Piso, but also enjoyed recognition of his own birthday and 20 years of faithful service as a Byzantine Rite Catholic priest.

    The formal celebrations began at 4 p.m. in the church, with a presentation of special gifts: the Mitra, which was a gift from the priests of the Deanery; new blessed vestments from St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Parish; and a Ukrainian hand-decorated cross, which was a gift from Andy and Ted Melnyk, in memory of their parents, +Oksana and +Theodor Melnyk.

   The Divine Liturgy followed, concelebrated by Bishop Paul Chomnycky; the Very Reverend Roman Sydorovych, dean of the Central New York Deanery; Father Mykhaylo Dosyak, pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church; Rt. Rev. Mitred Archpriest Philip Weiner; Rev. Vasile Colopelnic; Very Rev. Michael Bundz, Father Illia Bobota; Father Michael Mishuk; Father Marian Kostyk; Rev. Teodor Czabala; and Father Mykola Andrushkiv from St. Luke’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Warners. The choir of St. John’s church sang the responses in high Mass liturgical tradition. The congregation supported the melodious sung prayers with major liturgical parts recited in both English and Ukrainian to allow full participation of the entire congregation which filled the church on a Friday evening. 

   The parishioners then joined an even larger retirement celebration at the Holiday Inn not far from the church.   Almost 200 parishioners, family members, community dignitaries, and friends joined the clergy and family members of Father Piso to reflect upon and celebrate a life well-lived and to express gratitude well-deserved.    
   This sold-out event was led by Masters of Ceremony Dr. George (Yurko) and his wife, Roma Temnycky, in both Ukrainian and English. Many members of Father Piso’s family were introduced “wedding style,” and the pride and love felt both by Father Volodymyr and Emost Nadia Piso, his wife, was tangible. Children and grandchildren included son Volodymyr, and his wife Nadiya, with their two children, Yaroslav and Viktoriya Piso; daughter Nataliya, her husband Petro Trut, and their children, Volodymyr and Nazar; and son Yaroslav, his wife, Nataliia Bosa, and their children, Daniel and Alexander. The Piso family also includes niece Svitlana Bidna, who leads the song troupe “Kalyna,” which performed several folk songs, and who also is part of the “Piso Family” troupe, which performed, together with Father Dosyak and Kalyna, in the singing of famous Ukrainian folk songs “Malvy,” “Moya Zemlya,” and “Lita Mynayut.”

   Father Piso and his wife even provided a special musical performance for the appreciative audience. Performances of the Odesa Ukrainian Dance Troupe were enthusiastically received by all.

   After the Convocation and dinner, Father Piso was presented with a specially baked “Korovai,” a blessed bread, traditionally made for Ukrainian weddings, but always recognized as a celebration of life. The korovai was cut and distributed to all in recognition of his sacrifice and success as a priest in our church.

   Individual tributes were taken from both the podium and the floor. All in the hall expressed appreciation and respect for the history and years of service of Archpriest Volodymyr Piso. An inspiration, an example of personal commitment and the strength of Christ’s love were applauded this evening in the tribute to Father Piso and his family by our faith and cultural community. The parish, the hromada, and the spiritual energy of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Syracuse, was strengthened by this tribute to a remarkable servant of God, his family, and his career. We honor, thank and applaud the Very Reverend Archpriest Volodymyr Piso and wish him many happy and blessed years, “Mnohaya i Blahaya Lita.”