By Angie Cook and Toni Maloney
(Edmonton, AB – December 21) – On Wednesday, December 8, the Mary Help of Christians (MHC) Group at St. Dominic Savio Parish hosted a special event. Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy shared his wisdom about the Holy Family and Nativity Icon on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
All in attendance were captivated by his presentation on the importance of “the Family” in our society today with so many contemporary challenges. We must focus on and imitate “the Holy Family;" bring our lives in communion with Jesus, Mary and Joseph; and find stability and spirituality in our families.
The Bishop drew our attention on the correlation between the birth of Christ and His death and Resurrection on the Nativity Icon, which is in St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Cathedral in Edmonton. It shows how Jesus was born so that he would die for us. Some examples that illustrated this were that Jesus was both born and buried in a cave. He was also wrapped both in swaddling clothes at birth and in a shroud when He was laid in the tomb. Moreover, the meaning of the gifts of the Magi are as follows: gold fit for a king, frankincense to show that Jesus is the High Priest, and myrrh used to anoint His Holy Body. Additionally, the least of God’s people were witness to the Angel’s proclamation of the birth of Christ to the shepherds in the field. Although women were considered lowly in Jesus’ time, an Angel appeared to Mary Magdalene in the tomb. Therefore, humble souls were witnesses to these special moments.
The Bishop then explained the colours used in the Nativity icon. Blue is for humanity, and red is for divinity. When we look at the figure of Blessed Mary in the icon, she is clothed in red, however, her inner veil is blue. Afterwards, the Bishop engaged with the attendees through questions and offered explanations. His gentle manner in presenting this story was very powerful and made those in attendance realize that we can all make a difference by choosing to live more spiritual lives. The takeaway from the presentation is that we will experience Christmas with a deeper spirituality when we do our best to follow in the way of the Holy Family and, through their intercession, hold our families closer to our hearts.
At Christmas, the MHC group plans to reach out to some of our parishioners in need. The group purchased gift cards for six needy families and also will make donations in favor of young people from ages nine to 16 who are housed at “Safe House” in Edmonton. These youths were rescued from the streets, where they were forced into prostitution. Many have not experienced Christmas nor happy family lives. Our group donated 80 handwarmers to the house so they can hand them out to the youths this winter. This demonstrates the MHC group's way of reaching out to the young and most vulnerable.