NP-UN Western Bureau.
Close to 150 attended the 2018 communal “Sviachene” or Easter Dinner organized by the Edmonton Branches of the Ukrainian National Federation and the Ukrainian Women’s Organization.
As Oleksandra Sribyak, President of UWO explained, joint celebrations of Holy Days are a tradition that dates back to 1934 when a special Christmas Eve dinner was held. This included not only members of the UNF and its fraternal organizations, but also the unemployed and students from out of town. An empty table was set live for those who lost their lives in the struggle for Ukraine’s independence during and after World War I.
This tear, the food, which contained tradition Ukrainian Easter fare was blessed by Very Rev. Archpriest Georg Podtepa of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada and Rev. Andrij Nykyforuk of the Edmonton Eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
During the celebration, UNF President Mykola Vorotilenko made a special presentation of a limited-edition print commissioned from artist Larissa Sembaliuk Cheladyn for the 80th anniversary of the UNF to Louise and Dan McConaghy.
In 2014 when Dan was a co-worker of Vorotilenko’s he heard from him about the war in Eastern Ukraine and Louise, who was a nurse at the Slave Lake Hospital, gathered two truckloads of surplus medical supplies that were sent to the soldiers fighting in the Donbas.
In accepting the gift, Louise McConaghy noted that people who are suffering from conflict “teach us humility, so we need to teach them humanity.”
A ‘bonus’ feature of the afternoon was a humorous array of eclectic vignette performances nicknamed “Veseli Rodzynky” (Funny Raisins) by Roman Petriw, Oleksandra Sribnyak, Zoya Volosatska, Roman Mykhaylyak and Yuriy Zarapin. It was prepared and directed by Lessia Petriv and the playful musical accompaniment was artistically arranged by Valeriy Semenko.