By Jayne L. Buryn, Communications Coordinator, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
Sponsored by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, the second Table for Two, held on Sunday, February 11, 2018, was both an enlightening spiritual and delicious gastronomical success. “Table for Two is for couples, dating, engaged or married,” said Millie Schietzsch, Youth Program Director for the Eparchy and one of the organizers of the Valentine dinner and evening out. “This ministry is a gentle way for couples to come closer to each other and bring God into the mix.”
From the positive comments heard as couples left the event, there will be an “encore performance” next year, with repeat participants and even more than the 17 couples who enjoyed the evening this year.
The Valentine dinner venue was generously provided by Fr. Janko and Dobrodijka Ana Herbut on behalf of Edmonton’s Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Parish. The setting was intimate and beautifully decorated for the occasion. The colour red and beautiful roses were abundant.
Special guest speaker, Sr. Laura Prokop, SSMI, gave life to the message about Love, God’s Love, the evening’s theme, with an analogy by Rabbi Abraham Skorka from the book On Heaven and Earth: On Faith, Family and Church in the 21st Century. Rabbi Skorka likened the marital relationship to a three-stranded cord. “A cord of three strands (husband, wife, and God) does not quickly pull apart.” This statement reflects the importance of God being a partner in a couple’s relationship.
While still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, and Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and biophysicist, shared their thoughts on religion, reason, and the challenges the world faces in the 21st century in the book On Heaven and Earth: On Faith, Family and the Church in the 21st Century. Both strongly promote interreligious dialogue. The book covers their discussions about “God, fundamentalism, atheism, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization,” according to an Ignatius Press review.
“Truly believe, Sister Laura said, “that the Divine Breath unites both of you … [you and] the one God chose for [you] as a life-long partner … and then forms a link with Him that will never weaken.”
Sister Laura also shared that she was touched by a line in Adela Torchia’s poem “Christians”, which appeared in a February 1984 issue of the Prairie Messenger: “I was warmed by the blaze of their fire.”
Only love will transform the earth.
“The line reminds me of a quotation by Patrick Mooney,” Sister Laura continued. “’Each person in love is a blazing torch of hope for the earth.’ Having just watched the lighting of the torch at the Winter Olympics, I can’t help but think what a powerful image it is. Only love will transform the earth.”
Sister Laura also mentioned Rabbi Skorka’s comments on the importance of dialogue in the marriage relationship: “In dialogue each soul is a reflection of the other.” In the book, Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, added that “The mistake of the other person does not need to be emphasized too much because I have my own mistakes and both of us have failures.”
From the book by Marie Monville, whose husband killed five Amish girls and himself in 2006, My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting, Sister Laura quoted: “No matter how tragic your circumstances, your life is not a tragedy. It is a love story. And in your love story, when you think all the lights have gone out, one light still shines.”
“And of course, we all know that the one light is the redemptive love of Jesus,” stated Sister Laura. She concluded her presentation by encouraging the couples in attendance to …
Let us now, with joy and gratitude, live our love story.
In addition to Sr. Laura Prokop’s presentation, couples had the opportunity to chat with each other about topics served to them on small, decorative cards with each course of the meal. Suggestions for couples to ponder together, if they wished, included such discussion points as:
- “One of the sweetest things you ever did for me or said to me is…”
- “A special gift or talent I think God has given you is….”
- “I think God has brought us together because…”