His Grace Bishop Irénée Visits All Saints in Meadow Lake, SK for their Parish Feast

June 15, 2014

This weekend the church of All Saints in Meadow Lake, SK was blessed by a visit from His Grace Bishop Irénée for the celebration of the parish feast day. It was Vladyka's first visit to the somewhat remote region and he was received with great joy and warmth by the faithful of the town and surrounding area.

Choir members of Holy Resurrection Church in Saskatoon and St Herman of Alaska Church in Edmonton were also in attendance along with visiting clergymen: Archimandrite Alexander Pihach official OCA representative to the Moscow Patriarchate, episcopal secretary Protodeacon Nazari Polataiko, and Deacon Jesse Isaac of St Herman of Alaska Church (Edmonton).

Adding to the joy of the occasion, several members of the community were awarded the Order of St Tikhon by His Grace. Lifelong members Bill and Anne Krasicki, Paul Spakowski, and Brenda Koch were given the award for their tireless service to Christ and His Church in their work at keeping a small country parish not only alive, but flourishing in the face of many great challenges. They accepted the honour with great humility and tearful gratitude amid gentle cries of, "Axios," from their fellow parishioners.

The faithful of All Saints Church and their priest-in-charge Father Leonard Herrem extend their heartfelt thanks to Vladyka Irénée as well as toall the visiting clergy and laity for bringing so much joy to an already blessed occasion and for manifesting so well the unmatchable and saving love of Christ to their community and the whole surroundin gregion. Spraznikom!

A Reflection of Bishop Irénée's Visit to Meadow Lake Saskatchewan Through the Eyes of Our Family

Our family had the privileged this weekend to be in Meadow Lake for Bishop Irenee's visit to All Saints Orthodox Church. Our family is quite new to Orthodoxy and has also been in Meadow Lake only a short time.When I asked my family what was their highlight of the day, each one shared their own unique perspective.

My two boys (14 and 10) both served at the altar and both commented on how much they enjoyed serving with the clergy present. My younger son expressed the joy he got from being a part of something BIG, he had important jobs to do in front of many. (He had only served a few times in a small hermitage prior to this.) My older son, at the age when going to church is "not cool" stood with reverence and he too felt a part of something Holy. His smile showed his admiration for the people he was serving with, his words confirmed it afterwards. He particularly enjoyed being soaked with water by Bishop Irénée when he was blessing the church.

My 6 year old daughter was thrilled to sprinkle rose petals along the path the bishop walked, later to spend time with the other girls collecting the petals back up.

My husband, in his quiet way, was also inspired. Inspired to get more involved with the church, to become a reader, to sing in the choir, to be more a part of the church community.

As for myself, it was Bishop Irénée's words that sank into my heart. Bishop Irénée spoke about how we don't go to church because it is easy, that going to church is actually really hard, that it is a struggle. He explained to us that we are all called to be saints by loving God with all our heart, by loving our neighbor and by loving ourselves with Christ in the forefront. He encouraged us to live like saints and to make Meadow Lake a better place.

Five people from the All Saints were recognized by the church this weekend. They were being recognized for the hard work and struggles they have endured to keep the church in Meadow Lake alive.

Thankfully, this beautiful church, built amongst the homes in Meadow Lake is still alive and thriving. Fifty people were witness to that today. My family was among them. Glory be to God!