Monthly Archives: June 2014

Core Team/Speaker Spotlight

A member of the Core Team and a speaker?! Meet our very own, Tobias Underwood.


In his own words, Tobias says the following about himself:

Born and raised in Calgary, Tobias is the youngest of three children with two older sisters. He is a proud Canadian and Albertan. One of Tobias’ greatest accomplishments is having walked 775 kilometres on the Way of St. James in Spain in the spring of this year. Tobias has also hung out with the monks on Mount Athos and walked and prayed in monasteries from the fifth century. He is excited as he continues his discernment of God’s call for him. He is currently working for the Eparchy of Edmonton.  Tobias has recently completed the academic portion of his seminary training. He has a BA in Philosophy and History from Concordia University College (Edmonton), and a Bachelor of Theology in Eastern Christian Studies (St. Paul University and Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies). He has a passion for history (and her’s).

To get some more info on our good friend, I was able to catch up with Tobias earlier this week:

So, Tobias, you are both on the Core Team for Unity 2014 and a speaker. You must certainly be keeping busy! What is your role on the Core Team and what will you be speaking about at Unity?
I am a wise observer on the core team. I’ve been away for quite a bit of the planning. But I’ve worked on the videos. My workshop at Unity will be on the topic of women deacons.

Women Deacons, eh? That seems like a really interesting and controversial topic. What interests you about women deacons and what can participants expect from your session?
The question of women’s role in the Church is pretty big today. How come it seems like all positions of leadership and authority in the Church belong exclusively to men? Was this always the way it was in the Church? Is there any real possibility of this changing in the future? We will explore these questions through the lense of women deacons, what they did, and could do.

That sounds great! As a woman myself, I certainly struggle with my role in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, so it’s great that we have a session that explores this important issue. That’s why I love events like Unity; the participants really have a chance to explore ideas and really think outside the box. Speaking of which, what are you looking forward to most at Unity 2014?
Praying with all of you and question period with the bishops.

Awesome! The Bishops’ Panel always seems to leave everyone with a very positive impression. Are there any memories from past Unitys that particularly make you smile?
When people thought Millie was my mother, and praying vespers in the field with wonderful people.

Last question, I promise: how would you convince others to attend Unity 2014?
It is a wonderful way to meet and hang out with other young people who love Jesus and the Church, and/or are trying to grow in their faith.

There you have it, folks, from the mouth of a previous seminarian. Doesn’t this make you want to get those registrations in???!!!

God bless!



Speaker Spotlight: Deborah Larmour

Meet Deborah Larmour.



She will be leading two sessions on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The beginner’s session is called “Warm Bodies: What Our Bodies Tell Us About Being Human,” while the more advanced session is called “Les Misérables: What Our Bodies Tell Us About Our Relationship with God.”

As for who Deborah is as a person, she writes:

Deborah Larmour is the Director of the Family and Life Office for the Eparchy of Saskatchewan.  She is married to Don and they have six children (ages 26-15).  Deborah has a degree in Law from the University of Saskatchewan and practiced law for about 10 years between staying home to raise her children.  She has a passion for St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and that passion has prompted her to complete her Honours degree in Philosophy in order to understand JPII’s philosophy and for the past 5 years she has been a Certification Student with the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia. She is also a student of the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies.   Besides being a perpetual student and advocate for family and life, Deborah really enjoys spending time with her husband and kids watching movies, so she is really excited to explore how we can get closer to God and the meaning of life at the movies.

Sounds like Deborah is as excited for our movie theme as I am! Here’s hoping this information makes it even harder for you to make a decision about which sessions to attend (just jokes, guys!).

Peace and God bless!


Core Team Spotlight: Robyn Watt

Time for another spotlight on one of our Core Team members. This week? The ever-present Robyn Watt!


Robyn, you show up rain or shine for every core team meeting, so you must have a great deal of love for the work you’re putting into Unity 2014. What is it that make you excited for Unity this August?
I’m excited for a change of pace from everyday work life – a break from my routine to spend several days focusing on faith.

That’s a really great point; I bet a lot of people would love to get away from the real world for a bit to focus on something different. It’s great that you want to use this time developing your faith. Is there anything specifically that you’re looking forward to during this most epic of weekends?
I’m most looking forward to hopefully seeing some familiar faces from Holy Eucharist Church in Toronto at Unity this summer! And hearing Bishop David speak about Pope Francis! And the picnic after Liturgy on Sunday!

Wow, that’s a lot of things to look forward to! Hopefully our team lives up to your expectations. Speaking of the core team, what is your job in planning Unity 2014?
Compiling and editing the Unity program book.

Nice! That’s a really big job but I know you’ll do a wonderful job with the book. Hey, maybe you can sneak your name in there somewhere so that everyone knows that the book was all yours, eh? I’m just kidding. Anyway, do you have any final wisdom for those who are on the fence about attending Unity 2014?
If you’re on the fence about attending, I’d try to convince you to come by telling you that Camrose is a really pretty town (they have a lake with swans!). And that Unity is a great chance to be part of the larger Ukrainian Catholic community in Canada.

Well, there you have it, folks, the lovely Robyn Watt! Stay tuned for our next Core Team Spotlight and Speaker Spotlight, coming soon to a computer near you (well, in front of you would be preferable).

Peace and God Bless,


Speaker Spotlight: Bishop David Motiuk

Next in our lineup of speakers is our very own Bishop David Motiuk! If you want to learn more about Pope Francis and what his papacy means for our church, don’t miss Bishop David’s session! In his own words, Bishop David describes himself thus:

Bishop David Motiuk picture

Bishop David was born in Vegreville, Alberta. In the 1980s, he specialized in computer science and business applications at the University of Alberta. In 1984, he began his seminary studies at Holy Spirit Seminary in Ottawa, graduating from Saint Paul University with a Bachelor Degree in Theology and a Masters and Licentiate in Canon Law. In 1996, he received a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Institute of Eastern Studies in Rome. He was in charge of the formation of future priests for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada at Holy Spirit Seminary in Ottawa from 1996-2001. At the same time, he taught at the Faculties of Theology and Canon Law at Saint Paul University and the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute. Following his episcopal ordination in June 2002, he served as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg. In January 2007, he was appointed Bishop of the Eparchy of Edmonton.

I’m really excited to hear what Bishop David has to say about Pope Francis, as well as have him answer some questions during the Bishop’s Q & A. Seriously, this is going to be the best!

Stay tuned for the next Speaker Spotlight!

Joyanne, Unity 2014 Website Facilitator

Speaker Spotlight: Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, SSMI

As I was saying, we have some fabulous speakers lined up for our long weekend during Unity 2014. First up in the Speaker Spotlight: Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, SSMI.


Sr. Zoe will be doing a talk on ethical issues related to reproductive technology. In her own words she says:

The musical “Mamma Mia” presents some modern challenges of mothers, fathers, and daughters!  Sophie hopes to successfully identify her father so that he can walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.  The theology of marriage as presented in the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes embraces the essence of marriage as the mutual love and communion of the spouses.  While this ideal guides our exploration of the ethical issues related to human reproduction, the Catholic tradition also reinforces the importance of a well-informed conscience as a guide for action when we find ourselves in ethically challenging situations. 

Turns out Sr. Zoe is no stranger when it comes to things medical or theological. Check out her credentials!

Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, SSMI holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto, a Master’s in Theological Studies, and a Licentiate and Doctorate in Moral Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.   She is presently a professor of Pastoral Theology at Newman College in Edmonton, AB.  

Now that’s what I call a strong woman of faith!

God bless,

Joyanne, Unity 2014 Website Facilitator

Core Team Spotlight: Beth Mayko

As we’re gearing up for Unity 2014, I thought I’d ask the Core Team some questions about the final stretch towards Unity planning, what they look forward to and where you can find them during this fantastically wonderful event. First up, Beth!


Now, Beth, tell the audience where you fit in with the Unity 2014 Planning Team.
I am Millie’s third in command on the Unity committee. Basically a little bit of everything and lots of delegating!

Wow, third in command, eh? That’s got to be a lot of responsibility. No doubt you’re quite busy seeing that everything gets done right and lickety-split. Though I’m sure you’re quite tired, I have no doubt you’re looking forward to Unity 2014. What are you looking forward to most?
I am most looking forward to re-connecting with all of the many wonderful people that I have met at past Unities.

Yeah, great people always seem to show up at Unity. But if I remember correctly, you were hesitant about attending Unity in ’09 because you didn’t really know anyone. How would you try to convince someone to come to Unity who was thinking of attending but a bit nervous to make the trek?
Unity is a great opportunity to learn about and embrace your faith, putting you in company with others trying to do the same. It is so uplifting to talk with others going through some of the same life challenges and who encourage you to keep having faith.

Definitely great advice, and so much more poignant coming from someone who was in those shoes previously. Any last words? Where can participants find you at Unity in August?
You will find me running around all over the place at Unity! Feel free to stop me at any time if you need anything or just want to chat!

You heard her, folks! And keep posted! Not only will I be posting up these interviews with our Planning Team, but our speakers are pretty awesome too. Check out some info about Sr. Zoe Bernatsky who will be talking about Ethical Issues Surrounding Reproductive Technology.

God bless and stay awesome!

Joyanne, Unity 2014 Website Facilitator