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What Have the CYMKivtsi Been Up to?

Christmas/ December Newsletter

З різдвом Христовим

З різдвом Христовим
і Новим “2019” Роком вас вітаємо!
Пшеницею посібаємо,
Міцного здоров'я Вам бажаємо,
Щоб у кожній порі року
Було радості нівроку,
Щоб все задумане збулося.
Веселих Свят
Бажає Національній СУМК Презідент Таня Буцьора разом із Упрабою.
Greeting you with wishes for a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New “2019” Year!
We welcome you traditionally with bushels of fragrant wheat,
We convey the very best of health for you,
Let every season of the coming year
Be filled with joy and good luck,
May all of your dreams come true
with Gods Blessings and tidings to you.
Happy Holidays
Wishes from National CYMK President Tanya Buciora, along with your National CYMK Executive.

UCU Helps Ukraine

National Upcoming CYMK Project
Unbroken Blossoms Project


The previous Newsletters over this year highlighted that the CYMKivsti were hard at work, organizing events including fund-raising activities and raising money. This is being used towards a beneficial cause – The Unbroken Blossoms Project (UCU Helps Ukraine).

This is an initiative that works with injured Ukrainian soldiers who are in need of medical assistance and rehabilitation after being injured in the Euromaiden, Crimean revolution, and other combat happening in Eastern Ukraine.

Former National CYMK President Liza Zienchuk has recommended this Project as her father, Michael Zienchuk remains on the committee and has been a beneficial contact. Tanya Buciora, our current National CYMK President has personally visited some of these rehabilitation centres in Ukraine this past summer and the Toronto Local have spent some time with the soliders at a Blue Jays game 3 summers ago. It has come to the National CYMK’s attention that they could significantly benefit from our assistance.

Throughout the year of 2018, the CYMKivtsi across Canada have been working on collecting funds for this project. Collectively, the CYMKivtsi raised over $2000 for this initiative and look forward to donating these funds to the UCU to pass on to the soldiers in need.


We thank everyone who participated and donated generously to this worthwhile needed cause. Despite the distances between Ukraine and Canada, we feel proud to acknowledge that in this diaspora, within the Canadian Ukrainian community, we are aware of our roots in heritage, and we are connected and bonded by a common goal. We find it necessary to help our motherland as they still struggle to survive the persecution of Russian aggression. Our Ukrainian Orthodox youth programs are flourishing, as we teach the Ukrainian youth how strong the Ukrainian culture has developed on a global platform.

Chaplain’s Corner

Mental Health

Mental Health.  It’s an issue we hear about often.  On the one hand this is good, as people need to know that when we’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or some other psychological condition it’s important to get help, just like we’d get help for pneumonia or diabetes.  But it’s sad as well, because many people, including teens and young adults, suffer from various conditions which negatively affect them and those around them.


Depression, for example, has reached epidemic proportions in our society.  It’s the single greatest cause of absenteeism at work or school.  It’s virtually certain that you or someone you know - someone in your family, a friend, a fellow student or co-worker – is suffering from depression at this very moment.   By depression we don’t mean just feeling down, sad, or tired.  Everyone has these feelings from time to time, it’s a natural part of life.  I’m talking about a medical condition called clinical depression. 


Anxiety, as well, is rampant.  The difference between fear and anxiety is that fear has a definite object – when I’m in the same room with a tiger, I fear the tiger.  Anxiety is generalized fear without a particular  object: “What if. . .?” “What will they think. . .?” “He might . . ., she might . . ., I might. . .,” etc.


Eating disorders are also common, especially among women.  They are extremely dangerous, and have the highest mortality rate among all psychological illnesses.  


If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or is contemplating suicide, it’s important to talk about it.  Everyone needs a “go-to adult,” an aunt or uncle, teacher, coach or priest who they trust completely, and with whom they can talk openly.  Don’t be afraid to see (or encourage them to see) a doctor, and try to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible, as the psychiatrist will have more experience and available resources to deal with the situation.


Both the medical literature as well as pastoral experience confirm that religious faith and practice are very helpful in dealing with mental illness.  Being connected to the Church both spiritually and socially helps protect us from psychological problems in the first place, and helps us overcome them more quickly if they do appear.  Prayer, worship, and participation in the sacramental life of the Church have a very positive effect on our inward, psychological state if we let them. 

What causes mental illness?

To read more visit our Chaplin's Corner Page


This years Ukrainian Canadian Congress Annual General Meeting was held in Montreal from December 7th to the 9th. I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the Saturday and Sunday meetings in person. Upon arrival on Saturday morning, we began with reports from the UCC President Paul Grod, UCC Treasurer Romana Latenko, UCC Executive Director and CEO Ihor Michalchyshyn, UCC Audit Committee, Taras Shevchenko Foundation, as well as Branch and Provincial council reports and committee reports. The important takeaways from the AGM meeting include that after 11 years as Ukrainian Canadian Congress president, Paul Grod is stepping down from his position and taking on the role of President in the Ukrainian World Congress. Taking his place as president in the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is Alexandra Chyczij. Another important role change is the resignation of Connor Moen as organizer for both SUSK and the UCC. Taking his place will be Cassian Soltykevych, whose previous position as SUSK representative will be taken by current SUSK president Stephanie Nedoshytko. As I know Cassian personally and am close with Stephanie, I hope that this change will lead to further collaboration between SUSK and CYMK.

During the evening I attended the UCC National Leadership dinner where I had the opportunity to meet Minister of International Development, Marie Claude Bibeau, and learned of her work in Ukraine. The dinner had many beautiful performance and honorary guests, but the most interesting was the hospitality room post-dinner. Here I had the opportunity to begin to bring up CYMKs goals and further explore how we can benefit more from being UCC members. I brought up the question with Ihor Michalchyshyn who suggested that I bring up this important topic during Sunday’s strategic planning session.

Sunday brought a new day, and I was ready to make CYMKs concerns clear to the rest of the board. We began the planning session with a general brainstorm for what else the UCC could do for the community. During this I brought up the thought of member organization and how they need to have more benefits to being members of the UCC. Once the list was compiled, the discussion leaders then summarized the results into four main topics and asked everyone to pick a topic to discuss and join the group discussing it. I chose the topic titled “similar organizations”. It was difficult to understand what that topic meant and everyone around my table seemed to have a different idea of the root of the issue. One suggestion was that the UCC should identify similar organizations (for examples two Ukrainian soccer leagues) and create an event for these similar organizations to meet and try to solve their common problems together. To me, this did not make sense because if two organizations have the same problems, neither of them have been successful in solving these problems and meeting to try and solve them together would not really provide any value to them. I then clarified what I thought this topic of “similar organizations” meant. I stated to everybody that the UCC has a unique perspective on the Ukrainian community because they have a list of member organizations; they can see what kinds of organizations exist and what kinds of issues each of them has. It should then be the UCC’s role to connect complementary organizations. If one Ukrainian organization has a need that another Ukrainian organization can fulfill, then the UCC can suggest a symbiotic relationship and create stronger member organizations in general. This will create a stronger, tighter-knit, and better-connected community which will only benefit the Ukrainian diaspora in the long run. An example was given that Ukrainian seniors in senior residences cannot cook for themselves due to their old age. I commented that if the UCC knows that senior residences have this issue, and if the UCC also know that there exists a Ukrainian cooking club, why not connect these two organizations to create a mutually beneficial relationship – the cooking club needs to practice their cooking so they can exploit the opportunity to cook for seniors who cannot cook for themselves. I believe that my comments were taken into consideration and we are currently awaiting a document that will state what initiatives the UCC will begin to take on as a result of these discussions.

Upon the end of the weekend, I was approached by Andrea Kopylech who is the head of the fundraising committee. During the last triennial congress, I volunteered to be on this committee however there have been no gatherings within the past year or so. She asked if I was still interested in helping out and I replied yes. I hope that these future fundraising meetings will help me gain insights on tips, tricks, and strategies that CYMK can implement to help with income management.
All in all it was a productive weekend that I hope CYMK will begin to see benefits from in the near future. It should also be noted that the next UCC AGM will be held during the UCC Triennial Congress in Ottawa from November 1st to the 3rd, 2019.

Liza Zienchuk
Past President of National CYMK and UCC Representative

Toronto CYMK is going Caroling!
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Our Toronto Long Branch CYMKivtsi are looking forward to carolling for Ukrainian Christmas this year. This has been a tradition we have kept to for years! It’s what most of our members would say is the best thing we get to participate in all year. We get a whole group together and go house to house singing carols, getting fed and being blessed with donations from our lovely parish. We have so much fun and it’s what we look forward to most of all around Christmas.

christmas pic2.jpg

Our CYMK also has some events planned for the upcoming year. Another bowling tournament, a coffee house sometime in May and a few other things still in the works. We’re always thankful for all the support and love we get, even though our last few years that our events have been sparse. We are trying our best to get back into the groove and bring up some awesome events for everyone to enjoy!

For more information regarding caroling please contact Liza Zienchuk at (416) 315-1561

The AUSRL Convention Stands for Alberta Ukrainian Self-Reliance League

On October 12 and 13 The Edmonton CYMKivtsi celebrated their 2018 AUSRL Convention – their annual provincial convention. 28 youth from 3 parishes came together to participate in the Alberta CYMK Executives youth program. Tanya Buciora, their National CYMK President, also took the trip from Toronto, Ontario, to participate and meet with the Alberta youth.


During the event, the CYMKivtsi spent their Friday night engaged in various team-work activities at the St. John’s Cathedral CYMK room. On Saturday morning, the CYMKivtsi were able to get together again to have their Annual Alberta CYMK Annual General Meeting, and then were able to participate in the AUSRL Annual General Meeting. It was wonderful to get to see even our youngest CYMKivtsi collaborating together with the adult organizations. The Executive also organized a rozpys session. Rozpys art is a traditional style of Ukrainian art and painting. The youth became creative and shared their craft and designs with one another. Each and every rospys turned out beautifully! Our CYMKivtsi enjoy learning Ukrainian artistry, and will be sure to share their learned techniques with other youth from different cultures and provinces.

On Saturday afternoon, the CYMKivtsi were able to assist the parish kitchen staff in preparing food. This food was delivered to the Valour Place military home. Vanier is a temporary home away from home for all Canadian Forces members, RCMP, Families for the Fallen, Veterans, and First Responders, as well as their families, who require medical treatment and live outside of the city/area.

The youth were able to get a tour of the facility, as well as meet and serve food traditionally prepared Ukrainian food to the families who live there. Not only is it important to contribute to the Ukrainian Canadian communities, but it is also encouraged to learn about some of the vital individuals and families that contribute to our country of Canada.

We are so lucky to have such an amazing, large group of CYMKivtsi in Alberta and we look forward to receiving news and updates on their upcoming future events and goals.

Our New CYMK Oshawa Branch

Over the course of the year, the newly founded Oshawa branch has taken part in many activities that has successfully involved most or all of its members. We took part in volunteering in feeding the homeless multiple times at a soup kitchen organized by St. John the Compassionate in downtown Toronto and in hosting many fundraisers at our home church of St. John the Baptist.

Early this year, the youth group went caroling for all the elderly and infirm parishioners that could no longer attend the service. It was to the delight of many and it warmed their hearts as much as it did ours. In February, we participated in The Coldest Night of the Year where we walked around the streets of Oshawa in support of the homeless youth. Our annual Pysanka Bingo was a huge success and just recently, together with our Church Council, we hosted our annual Christmas Bingo. Both were much to the delight of the parishioners and youth group members. We have also hosted activities such as camping and bowling. At the end of September, the parish, with the youth group, organized in conjunction to the parish the Parish Picnic at the beautiful Hungarian Picnic Grounds in Hampton, Ontario, aimed at providing a bonding experience for the youth. In November, we had a bowling competition at NEBs FunWorld between the us and some members of the church council. To our dismay, we were absolutely demolished. On the Monday of the 17, the Odessa Dancers held their annual St. Nicholas party where we presented what we had learned throughout the year.

We have focused much on this year to get the youth group engaged in the church through these activities. We have many more events in the works with the youth group and the Odessa Dancers, so we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Христос рождається!

Winnipeg CYMK

On November 16th, the Winnipeg Senior CYMKivtsi helped served at the "Borscht Off" competition at Holy Trinity Cathedral. Our very own Max Kowalchuk put forward a delicious entry, and so did our parent advisor Pani Michelle Kowalchuk! We had such a good time that our hearts' skipped a "beet"!

Highlights for the Coming New Year
Convention 2019!

Planning is already underway for the 2019 Convention. Be sure sure to remember and save these dates: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 – Sunday, August 11, 2019 in Mississauga, Ontario. Mississauga is one of the largest cities in Canada, 30 minutes West from the city-center of Toronto. The National CYMK Executive is working diligently with the Planning committee to prepare a youth program that will be memorable and educational. There will be a few exciting excursions in the pipeline, but more information will follow!


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