Bishop Job celebrates Nativity with Chicago’s Immigrant Community

Nearly 150 recent immigrants from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia gathered with His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest at Saint Joseph Church here on January 7, 2003 for the celebration of the midnight Divine Liturgy marking the Nativity of Our Lord.

In 1997, Saint Joseph parish initiated an outrech ministry to recent immigrants, primarily from Poland, following a visit to the parish by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, who at the time served as Archbishop of Bialystok and Gdansk. The parish initiated a second Divine Liturgy on Sundays to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of the new immigrants. The parish also offers English language classes following the Divine Liturgy, as well as on Sunday mornings.

Since that time, the community has grown to include faithful from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other central and eastern European countries.

The Very Rev. John Matusiak, Rector of the parish, together with Mr. Gregory Jankowski, council president, and Mr. Wlodimierz Jakoniuk, welcomed Bishop Job upon his arrival at the church. Following the Liturgy, the faithful joined in the singing of traditional Nativity carols and hymns before retiring to the parish hall for the traditional “Winter Pascha” celebration, which featured a variety of food and music from many lands. Also concelebrating with Bishop Job were the other parish clergy, the Very Rev. Michael Sekela and the Rev. Joseph Kopka, and several guest clergy, including the Very Revs. Oleg Mironowicz, Raphael Biernacki, George Gulin, and Mykola Bodnarchuk.

Saint Joseph parish was established by some two dozen faithful in 1989 to serve the need for an English-language community in the rapidly growing suburban DuPage County region. With the growing number of immigrants settling in the county, the parish has committed itself to a multi-cultural ministry since the late 1990s. The parish also maintains active ministries to recent immigrants from Ethiopia, Albania, Vietnam, and other lands.