With only a week to go until Unity 2014, members of the Core Team and Edmonton Eparchial young adults gathered together for a final grand meeting to touch on some last-minute points before Unity begins. In an alarming coincidence, we realized that there were 13 of us seated around the table… just like Jesus and His 12 Apostles at the Last Supper. Can you guess where Jesus and Judas sit in this picture?
The Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate are a very important part of Unity; after all, it was Sr. Marie Bielski, SSMI who came up with the idea! As a result, we are so blessed to have some of the SSMI with us for our Unity weekend. One such lady is none other than Sr. Emily Schietzsch.
Sr. Emily will be giving a session on vocations entitled, “Our Christian Vocation: To Boldly Go With God Where We Have Never Gone Before.” Sr. Emily did a session on Vocations in Pinawa in 2012, but her session touched so many hearts that the Core Team knew they just had to have her again for this Unity! I also think this is the point where I’m supposed to mention that Sr. Emily is a minor Trekkie, so that may or may not come up in her session. As for her professional bio, she writes the following:
I was born and raised in Edmonton, AB. I joined the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate in September of 2010 and currently reside in the Provincial House in Toronto. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theology. I enjoy alpine skiing, walking and serving the disabled, the need and the frail.
A true sister, through and through! I’d love to hear what she has to say about finding our way to what God intends for us, wouldn’t you?
Another Core Team Spotlight?! How many people are on this Core Team? Just enough, my friends, just enough. On this episode of the Core Team Spotlight it’s sibling time once again with Beth’s younger sister, Erin Mayko.
Catching up with Erin, we were able to chat a bit about Unity 2014:
So, Erin, Unity’s right around the corner! Remind me and our audience what your position on the Core Team is.
My job on the core team is organizing and implementing the non-liturgical, social elements (mainly the Icebreakers, taste of the Eparchies, and banquet/Zabava). I also help out with the other areas when needed.
So, basically, you’re in charge of fun! What a great role to have. Does this mean that if there aren’t enough party hats, we can complain to you? Just kidding; I know there aren’t any party hats. You’ve been to Pinawa for Unity 2012 and your sister, Beth, also attended Unity 2009 in Ancaster. No doubt this Unity is going to be different than the previous two. What do you think the Edmonton Eparchy has to offer in order to make this Unity awesome?
We have a large youth following in Edmonton/Alberta, so we have the man power to make it awesome.
Strength in numbers. I like it! I’ve asked everyone else this and you’re no exception: what are you most excited about Unity 2014?
I am most looking forward to meeting new people and making more connections with people my age who share my faith.
One last question: if you could convince someone to come to Unity in one sentence, what would you say?
How many people can say they have a group of friends that not only have a mutual passion for The Lord, but are also willing to express it and walk through their faith journey together?
Eh? Pretty great answers! Just another reason to register, register, REGISTER! By August 7! Cheques and credit cards are welcome and don’t forget to email us with any questions you may have by filling out the Contact Form.
Core Team Spotlight time. Who shall it be? My dear baby brother, Damian Rudiak!
To help all you get better acquainted with Damian, I went ahead and interviewed him for just that purpose.
So, Damian, here we are about 2 weeks away from Unity 2014! Let’s start by telling everyone what your position on the Core Team is.
I don’t know what my job is on the Core Team. I give my insight when I feel it applies, which doesn’t happen that often since this is my first Unity. I guess I’m a voice for the people who are new to Unity since I’m new as well.
That’s a very good point, and a really important perspective to have, especially since we hope a lot of new people will attend Unity this August. Going through all this planning, then, what does Unity mean for you?
I spend most of my time talking about God with kids so Unity is a chance for me to talk with people my own age about God and share in our experiences and struggles.
Ah, yes, the joys of being the Assistant Director of Camp Oselia. I’m sure you’ll find no shortage of inspiring conversation at Unity. Speaking of which, what are you most looking forward to during Unity?
I’m excited to spend time with all our guests and really get to know them and just hang out. Oh and talking. I’m really excited to talk.
And people say we aren’t siblings… that gift of gab really does run in the family! But enough about our family. Since you are a newbie to Unity, which, as we’ve already discussed, is an valuable perspective to have on the Core Team, why would you encourage others to come to Unity?
People should come to Unity for the sole purpose of meeting me…obviously. If you’re unsure about your faith or you’re very passionate and want a deeper understanding, why not come to Unity? It is the place you will get your answers which hopefully lead to more questions…and then more answers…and more questions and answers and staying up all night having a discussion about Christ in a non-judgmental environment where everyone understands how you feel and what you’re going through and they just want to support you in the hopes they might find some comfort in sharing God with you.
*Sniff* Wow, I didn’t know my baby bro had it in him! Well, peeps, you heard the man! Get yourselves to Unity. Only 13 days until we begin! Make sure to get your registrations in by August 7 (otherwise you might not have food…).
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???!!!
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,
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
For those of you who may not know, one of our Unity 2014 Planning Team members is currently on a self-imposed pilgrimage within Europe. Follow Tobias on his blog, beardslikemoses.blogspot.ca.
Along a similar note, I’d like to invite you to keep Ukraine in your prayers as the crisis continues to sizzle and escalade. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ continue to live there, striving and hoping for a better future. Let us pray for peace, freedom, and forgiveness, and for the repose of the souls who were killed in the clashes last week.
A solemn Lenten season to you all!
Joyanne, Unity 2014 Website Facilitator