First Sunday following Easter is dedicated to St. Thomas. It's true that we think of Thomas as the "doubtful" one and yet his Feast Day is immediately following the Feast of all Feasts - the Resurrection of Our Lord. We are still in the joyful mood from that wonderful Feast and it was with that joy that we welcomed among us a very special guest: His Excellency Andrej Droba, the Ambassador of the SLovak Republic in Canada. He came to visit us with his lovely wife Daniela and his charming daughter Sara. It was an honour to have him with us at our liturgy at the Cathedral of Nativity of Mother of God in Toronto. Since this was the first time they had attended a Byzantine liturgy, they were pleasantly surprised and truly enjoyed the experience. The main celebrant was His Excellency Bishop John Pazak, CSsR with Fr. Marek Novicky concelebrating. Before the liturgy Fr. Marek officially introduced and welcomed His Excellency and his family and let them know how happy we were that they chose to visit our parish.
Following the liturgy, all were invited downstairs to the hall for some fellowship, a bite to eat and coffee and cake. Fr. Marek once again welcomed our honoured guests and presented Mrs. Droba with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. One of our young parishioners, Madeline Tubaro also presented a smaller bouquet to the charming Sara. Mr. Ambasssador, took the time to thank Fr. Marek and Bishop John as well as the parishioners for the warm welcome that they received. He spoke a little about the way he envisions his job here in Canada. He reiterated that he is here to serve the Slovak community to the best of his ability, he promised to visit as often as his schedule permitted and asked that if anyone needs any help related to Slovak passport or other Slovak document, to please contact him. He then stopped by every table and chatted with as many people as he was able to before he sat down to enjoy the tasty open-faced sandwiches. Thank you to: Mrs. Kapitan, Mrs. Bujdos, Mrs. Bucko and Mrs. Burger for preparing the beautiful and tasty snack, cakes and coffee. You certainly did a great job.
Your Excellency, we were honoured to have you with us on St. Thomas Sunday. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and spend it with us. You and your family will be in our prayers and we certainly look forward to many more visits to our parish. May God keep you and your family happy and healthy for many years - Mnoho rokov, stastnych rokov, nech sam nas Pan, daruje Vam. We sure hope you will remember the phrase heard so many times during our liturgy: "Christos Voskrese!"
Text: Mary Snell, Photos: Helen von Fiedl