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Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of New Westminster Christmas Candle Initiative

Bishop Ken, Eparch of New Westminster, BC

Last year, 2012, saw a new initiative in our local community entitled “Christmas Candle” or “Різдвяна свічка”, set out by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of New Westminster.  This Eparchial appeal is based on a similar project in Ukraine and was locally spearheaded and coordinated by Dana Koren Lupynis with the support of Eparchial Chancellor Fr. Yuriy Vyshevskyy.  The main goals of this appeal are to raise funds to assist the disadvantaged children in Ukraine and to also encourage the children and laity to take part in this global fundraising program, sponsored by Caritas Ukraine.

Caritas Ukraine is the official charitable organization of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and is endorsed by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk.  The organization works throughout Ukraine to provide the basic necessities to the needy, disadvantaged, disabled and orphaned children.  Most Rev Ken Nowakowski, Bishop of New Westminster was instrumental in the founding of Caritas Ukraine and through his guidance developed the support system needed to provide much needed shelter, food, medical care, education and love.  It is through campaigns such as the Christmas Candle, that they are able to raise funds for their works.  In Ukraine, the candles sold for their annual campaign are handmade by people with special needs, and distributed at the start of the Advent (or Pylypivka) through Parishes.  It is Caritas’ hope that the candles will become an important part of Christmas celebrations.

Bohdana Koren-Lupynis with daughters – Nataliya and Emiliya

The local inaugural campaign in 2012 was successful, raising over $2,500, with 100% of the proceeds being sent to Ukraine.  With this initial success and the encouragement of Bishop Ken, it has been decided to make the Christmas Candle Project, in support of Caritas Ukraine, an annual appeal and fundraising campaign in British Columbia.  The project has become an Eparchial appeal, with all of the Ukrainian Catholic Parishes in British Columbia taking part.  In addition with the cause of helping Ukrainian Children transcending boarders, the project has also expanded and drawn the interest of Ukrainian Catholic parishes in Washington State, USA.  The Eparchy is appealing for help in reaching their goal for 2013 of raising $10,000 to send to Caritas Ukraine.  In hopes that by raising funds for children in Ukraine, more people will become more aware and connected with their cultural and spiritual homeland.

The Eparchy’s mission is twofold: First and foremost, to provide assistance to the needy children in Ukraine, second, to enrich the children, youth and volunteers with the understanding of diakonia – charity/self giving. Children helping children is surely one of the greatest rewards.  Sales of these special Christmas candles will begin in December at all of the Ukrainian Catholic Parishes in BC.  Mrs. Lupynis is inviting people to volunteer and to help this cause by purchasing candles or by making direct donations to the project. For more information she can be contacted at .

The interview concerning our Eparchy’s involvement in last years campaign was conducted  by Caritas with Dana Koren Lupynis..  This interview can also be found on the Caritas website in both English and Ukrainian.

Video about the Christmas Candle action:

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