Father Teodosy Kraychuk led members of the Toronto Catholic Doctors’ Guild and their families in a retreat at St. Elias the Prophet Parish in Brampton on May 5, 2018. Upon arrival to the sanctuary, Father Roman Galadza kindly welcomed us to his parish, and oriented us to the Divine Liturgy as it is celebrated in the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church. During the liturgy, we were united in reverent and beautiful prayer before partaking of the Holy Mysteries. Repeatedly, we sang the paschal tropar, so central to the Byzantine tradition: “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tomb, giving life!”
Father Teodosy explored the priesthood of the faithful, enacted both in our participation in the Eucharist and in our vocation as healers made in the image of God. The suffering of our patients calls us to live out our vocation to extend the priestly power and healing grace of Jesus’ total gift of Himself through our participation in the Eucharist. Father Teodosy emphasized that everything rightly belongs to God. The tree in the Garden of Eden was a sign of ownership, and when Adam and Eve took the apple, they attempted to steal this ownership. The priest, conversely, gathers all things together and offers them in true worship, giving glory to God in Christ, the new Adam. Drawing on St. Athanasius’ “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God,” Fr. Teodosy presented the goal of God’s healing work – that we partake in the divine nature – through the “medicine of immortality,” in the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch.
We were encouraged to read the Charter for Health Care Workers issued by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance, as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis on the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission. The retreat day included periods of silence, opportunities for Confession, a question and answer period, and great hospitality and food provided by members of the parish.
On May 10, some of us attended the Ottawa March for Life, where Father Teodosy participated in leading the closing prayers. It was a great blessing to walk alongside parishioners of St. Elias during the march as they sang the paschal tropar. One of our fellow travelers heard a child sing a slightly different – but equally miraculous – version of the last phrase: “and to those in the womb, giving life!”
Jim and Helen McGee