Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 9, 2003
Students proud to be Ukrainian Catholics
Retreat focuses on core values
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
They prayed, they sang and they learned about Catholic values. More than 400 Catholic students from kindergarten to Grade 6, as well as a few older teens, attended the third annual Ukrainian bilingual program religious retreat at St. Martin School May 28.
The theme of this year's event was Our Call to Love and was based on the core values of Edmonton Catholic Schools, namely respect, kindness, dignity, fairness, loyalty and honesty. Retreat presenters - priests, nuns and retired teachers - told stories that exemplified these core values and told their audience how they, as baptized Christians, are being called to live these values and walk in Jesus' steps.
Taking part in the retreat were elementary students from St. Martin and St. Matthew schools as well as some teens from St. Kevin's and Austin O'Brien schools and the Ukrainian Eparchy's Youth Ministry.
Another purpose of the annual retreat is to give elementary students from St. Martin and St. Matthew an opportunity to get to know each other and to celebrate their faith and culture together, said St. Martin's principal Roma Martiuk.
"It's a way for us to celebrate who we are and to show the kids how proud we are being Ukrainian Catholics."
Students said they got a lot out of the retreat, especially from the talks. "I met new friends and I learned what they like doing and everything," noted 11-year-old Audrey Sydora from St. Martin's. "I also learned about loving people and to be kind to them."
"I learned about the core values and how to treat other people with respect and everything," explained 11-year-old Tara Kobitowich, also from St. Martin's. "I also learned how to love people and what love really is. Love is sacrificing for others."
Dominika Koziak, 12, learned there are two kinds of love: pizza love, a superficial kind of love, and real love, the kind of love that demands patience and sacrifice. "This retreat was really worthwhile because I learned a lot from everybody and I met several new friends," the Grade 6 student said.
"There was a story that a priest told us about how one of the bishops prayed an hour everyday," recalled Daryn Curilla, an 11-year-old from St. Matthew's.
"I was really impressed by the bishop's devotion and how his devotion inspired others." The Grade 6 student also learned a lot about love and left impressed by the impact of love in people's lives.
Father Stephen Wojcichowsky, Edmonton Catholic School's director of religious education, presided at a Byzantine-rite celebration following the four-hour retreat.