On Sunday, September 15, 2019, his Eminence Archbishop Daniel together with Subdeacon Ihor Protsak made his first pastoral to one of the newest communities in the UOC-USA. With the blessing of his Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Ss Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Orthodox Mission was started in 2017 by Fr Gregory and Mtka Mary Jensen together with a half a dozen other faithful Orthodox Christians in Madison, WI. Since then, the community has grown to 30 men, women and children.
Unique among Orthodox communities, the mission was established for the specific purpose of reaching out to Orthodox and non-Orthodox college students. Located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the mission’s outreach is important not only for the students but for the life of the Church in America. By the time they are 25, 60% of those baptized as infants will leave the Church. Of the 40% who remain, only about 1 in 4 will be in church on a regular basis. The community of Ss Cyril & Methodius is working to change this situation for the better.
Like the mission, the UW OCF chapter has grown quite a bit in the last few years now numbering over 50 students. Students together with UW professors attend Sunday Liturgy at the mission. The OCF also meet several times a month for social events, spirited discussion about, well, everything or services projects. By God’s grace, the OCF’s witness on campus has led several UW students to inquire about becoming Orthodox Christians.
At Liturgy, Vladkya Daniel challenged the congregation to see all the material and educational blessings they have received as invitations from God to become better human beings, better citizens and, above all, more committed and faithful Orthodox Christians.
After Liturgy, at a potluck lunch with the community, parishioners spent time speaking with Vladkya about a wide range of topics. The younger children of the parish enjoyed learning about his miter and Panagia. His Eminence also spent time talking with the college students about their experience on campus and their plans for their futures. In gratitude for his visit and support of the mission and its outreach to college students, the OCF made Vladkya an honorary Badger (On Wisconsin!).
The parish, the OCF, Fr Gregory and Mtka Mary all extend their gratitude to Vladkya Daniel and Subdeacon Ihor for their visit and look forward to more such visit in the years to come.