The Journey Continues!

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

My name is Sarah Buchko and I would like to say Hi to you all! I am your fearless new Youth and Young Adult Minister for the Eparchy of Saskatoon.


At the moment I am taking over the Eparchial Youth Ministry blog and will begin to post weekly updates on upcoming events in the province, Canada and the world for Ukrainian Catholic Youth and Young Adults.

I apologize for not starting sooner. Technically I accepted the position in January so I should have started blogging then.  However, I also accepted a position teaching Kindergarten at one of the Catholic Elementary Schools in Saskatoon. This lasted for 3 1/2 months and came to an end in April.

What has been happening in Youth and Young adult ministry in 2015 you may ask?  Well I could tell you or I could show you.

January I spent a lot of time settling in and meeting with people.  It was the time where I realized there are so many amazing Ukrainian Catholics that want to support and me in my Youth and Young Adult ministry endeavours.

In February we had our traditional Winter retreat in Prince Albert titled “UCYC Melt My Heart retreat” with Deborah Larmour as speaker on Theology of the Body and Fr.Ivan Nahachewsky as the host.

1GodisLove LittleRedRiverPark PlayingCards

We enjoyed many fun activities including a candy heart competition, sledding and snowboarding at Little Red River and playing cards to escape from the cold.  My favourite part was building relationships with the Young Adults who attended the retreat.

In March I took part in part two of SOBOR which was title The Vibrant Parish: SOBOR in Action.  Many clergy, parishioners and religious life attended the SOBOR at BJM High school where Deborah Larmour and I were able to speak on our ministries.  Deborah, from the Family and Life Office.

HolyFireSOBORinAction  BishopBryanSOBORinAction2

In March we also had a retreat to St.Peter’s Abbey in Meunster.  I drove with Fr.Taras and Ivan Simko to have a tour with Fr.Demetrius. Lisa also joined us for the tour which ended with feeding the chickadees. This retreat was very peaceful and I felt close to nature.  It reminded me of the prayer from St.Francis and the part that says:

“For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”


In April we started a WYD committee for the Eparchy of Saskatoon.  This includes Daniel McCoshen-Webmaster, Erika Rybinski-Secretary, Alix Zello-Vice President, and Sarah Buchko-President.  In June Matthew Lashyn accepted the role of treasurer for our committee.


There have also been many Skype meetings between the Youth Ministers in each respective province including Millie Schietzsch (AB), Tamara Belsham Lisowski (MB), Mykhailo Ozorovych (BC) and recently Larissa Samborsky (ON).  There has been a lot of planning and conversation regarding World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland for 2016.  We plan on flying into Lviv, Ukraine prior to World Youth Day on July 12-14th.  We will drive to Zarvanytsia on July 15-17th where we will be greeted by at least one hundred thousand Ukrainian Catholic Youth and Young Adults!  On July 18th we plan on travelling for the Days of the Eparchy (July 18-23rd) and then proceed to the World Youth Day in Krakow (July 24-31st). There are a few sights we’d like to see in Poland including the Salt Mines in Wieliczka and the concentration camp in Auschwitz.     If you are ages 18-35 as of July 12th 2016 and are interested in traveling to WYD then please contact me at


In May we had a Young Adults spring retreat in Regina called “Spring Forth into Christ” at St.Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Church.  It was a small retreat with 4 that attended, but we had amazing group discussions and bonded well as a group.  I was pleased to have Lesia Lazurko and her family help host the retreat at the Rectory. Lesia presented on “What is holding you back?” I found out our society there are many things that hold us back from our faith with Jesus Christ. I really enjoyed Braden Kutz, the Youth Minister from the Roman Catholic Church in Regina, who spoke from his own experience in what is holding him back. This involves listening to the voice of God leading us out of danger. We replicated this message by doing a blindfold activity where we had to listen to the other people in order to avoid the bursting water balloons!

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Bishop Bryan was able to come to the retreat as he was attending his annual visit to the parishes in Regina.  We were also able to meet with Fr.Basil, his wife Angela and Stephanie Royal as well.  I will be returning to Regina on Sept.13th at St.Athanasius to speak after the Divine Liturgy about my role as Youth Minister in the Eparchy.  If you are around I hope to see you there!


P.S. I’m the one in the yellow.

In May I also attended Jay and Sophia’s wedding in Winnipeg.  It was good to see my friends from SERVE 2011 including James Hoffman.  It was such a wonderful tradition Ukrainian Wedding! I absolutely loved the wine bottles that say “This used to be water” in reference to the Wedding of Cana.  I also was able to meet with Tamara Belsham Lisowski and discuss more on WYD matters. We also had some fun taking pictures at the photo booth. Luckily Tamara still has the photo so it cannot be posted.

IMG_1290 IMG_1296 SophiaWedding1 SophiaWedding2


I also can’t forget Paintballing towards the end of May! I had a great time with an athletic group of Young Adults. Unfortunately my team didn’t win but we put in our best effort!  I was happy to simply survive without too many paintball welts on my arms.  I especially enjoyed lunch at Montana’s after and Matthew Lashyn’s brother telling the waitress it was his birthday.

PaintballingMay2 PaintballingMay IMG_1358

June was full of different Youth and Young Adult events.  It started off with the Layformation graduation in Saskatoon. I’m was proud some Ukrianian Catholic Young Adults graduate including Tyler Woloshyn, Mitchell Smith, Kalyn Smith, David Rybinski, Amy Rybinski and Lubomyra Zorniak graduate this year from the program.  It was a month full of graduations! I would like to congratulate all of those who graduated this year whether it be from Grade 8, Grade 12 or post secondary program.  It was only one year ago that I graduated from Education so I know the excitement and hope that comes from completing a task!


I also was able to celebrate with a courageous young girl who raised 1100 dollars for Cancer at the Relay for Life and shaved her head!  Go Page! True beauty shines from within.

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Two other events in June included a fundraiser breakfast for the World Youth Day pilgrims and a Movie night at the Chancery.  I enjoyed selling french toast, sausage, fruit, coffee, tea and juice. Fundraising is a major way to offset the cost for those pilgrims travelling to World Youth Day.  As a university student it was always hard to come up with funds to go on trips.  The fundraiser was an overall success and we made a good profit.  This is the first but not the last fundraiser!


Erika certainly puts the crack in Krakow as she helps crack eggs for the french toast!

The Movie night at the chancery was also a great success.  Many Junior Youth came out to the event. We had popcorn and treats while we watched “The Giver.”  I realized it was hard for Junior Youth and their parents to come to Saskatoon so I have sent a package some of the Deaneries including Prince Albert and Regina so that you may also have your own Movie night. This package includes discussion questions as well as Catechesis for Junior Youth regarding Theology of the Body.  It also deals with issues such as Euthanasia and Abortion.  This movie asks us to look beyond what we see and to see the World as Christ has modelled for us.

MovieNight2 Movienight1 MovieNight3

In July I had the amazing opportunity to receive training in Youth Ministry. I attended a seminar at St.Thomas Moore in Saskatoon with WCACYM which stands for Western Canadian Association of Catholic Youth Ministers.  Millie, Tamara and David were able to join for the banquet on Saturday evening and witness an wonderful talent show.  I was able to show my gift of playing the French Horn in the chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t until right before I played “Ave Maria” that I would be playing in front of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a truly special moment for me and for others who were able to witness to the gift of the Holy Spirit.  I also was able to make many new Youth Ministers who became friends and collaborators.


July I was also in Prince Albert not once but twice! I was able to have supper with some Youth and Young Adults and share in some delicious chocolaty goodness with Stephaan Salahub and his brother Jeremy as well as Kailey Pochipinski.  The second time I went on a Road trip with Nina Nahachewsky to see a work party with our friend Kailey.  One thing I love about road trips is the scenery. Saskatchewan has such beautiful lakes and ever changing sky.  That is probably why we are called Land of the Living Skies!  It was a great bonding experience with Kailey and Nina as I was able to get to know them better and share an experience with them.

Kailey1 Kailey2 AnotherLivingSky

We’ve made it to August! This month has been a little slower for Youth Ministry events as many Young Adults are working and getting ready for school.  One event that is coming up on August 22nd is Ukrainian Day in the Park. We have our very own Eparchial booth where we will be selling delicious treats. I hope you will come by tomorrow rain or shine between 11am-7pm! There will also be hot chocolate if you need to warm up at our booth.


Volunteers are most welcome.  The proceeds from our booth go towards our World Youth Day pilgrims and Cana Family retreat. Teresa, Madi, Page, Sydney and I have been working diligently to prepare for this event. This week we made 516 candy skewers!  I enjoyed spending time with the girls and making these sweet treats.  TokenPost

IMG_1597 SarahandGirlsCandySkewer


Looking ahead….Saskatchewan is hosting Unity 2017!

Therefore, we will be having a Visioning Retreat this September 4-6th at Queen’s House to plan the next Unity. Please save this date in your calendars. All Young Adults, clergy, spiritual orders and parishioners are welcome! You can be as Young as 16 for this Visioning retreat as Unity will be two years from now.  The age for Young Adults is 18-35.  I am hoping you will all attend.  SavetheDateSarah  Vis.Ret.Itinerary2015

That is all for now!

God Bless!

Sarah Buchko




Open the eyes of our minds and our hearts to see You in each other.

-Prayer for Unity

August 13th

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August 14th

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August 15th

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August 16th

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August 17th

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Faith Forward! Meet your Saskatchewan Reps for Unity!

ff1Hey Eparchy of Saskatoon!

Unity 2014: Faith Forward is only 3 days away and our Saskatchewan group is getting ready to head out to Camrose, Albert for this incredible national event!

We have lots of young adults in our Eparchy who wanted to come to but were unable to because of work or other scheduling conflicts. Please pray for them as well as for all the participants, presenters, and organizers who are going to Unity this year!

Without further ado, here’s our Saskatchewan crew! Click on a pic to read more!


Also, if you haven’t seen this video yet it captures the spirit of Unity as only a Frozen cover could!

Rocky Ground

This morning first batch of coffee didn’t turn out so I had to rush to run the machine again, therefore not having time to make lunch. Glanced at the unfinished pile of camp follow up on my way out the door and felt guilty. Arrived at the new office which is a lovely mess because we just moved yesterday. Don’t even know where my check lists are let alone feel like I am crossing things off of them! Had get in touch with people to postpose a meeting. Scrambled a bit trying to do some Unity organizing. Had a couple difficult conversations. Dropped everything to sort out a rental glitch in Ottawa. Let a few people know that I was feeling stressed and looking for pity. Tired. Trying to sort through 18 things in my head at once. Beginning to feel out of control. Driving between work errands WHEN IT HIT ME… A TRUCK!

Okay, no I didn’t get hit by a truck. But it felt like I got hit by a truck.

Out of the blue, I remembered this other time I felt out of control.

I was living at The Welcome Home in Winnipeg (a community based inner-city mission). As the only young adult living there at the time, I took it upon myself to organize a painting-bee to redo the walls in the basement. My vision was it turning out as this great service project with 10-20 other young adults showing up to split the work and eat pizza and then probably getting so fired up that we would decide to devote the rest of our lives to feeding the poor. The day of, every single person that said they might come cancelled. With only cans of paint and piles of brushes to keep me company I felt very alone and frustrated. But I also felt stubborn, so I decided to do all the work myself. I was half way through yet another coat on the third wall, listening to the same playlist for the fourth time as the clock crept past 1 am and was running out of red paint before I paused long enough to admit that I was in over my head. I put the brush down, crumpled to the floor and had a heart to heart with God about life.

Counting two World Youth Days, countless conferences and retreats, weeks of training and tons of liturgy – that was the single most powerful moment of any “Youth Ministry” I’ve experienced.

It changed me.

It’s not that I woke up as a more wonderful person the next day or ended my sinning streak or anything really notable at all. It’s just that this experience shifted my perspective. During that late night prayer I discovered in a concrete way that the success or failure of my plan was insignificant. Unless I conformed to His plan, I would keep experiencing failure. But that if I did conform to His plan my weakness would be transformed.

 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9

Today on the feast of the Transfiguration we celebrate, among other things, a pivotal moment in the life of some of Christ’s disciples. A moment when three men came to more fully understand the true nature of their Teacher. When then literally saw him in a different light.

So here’s my prayer for you. Whatever rocky ground you might feel you are standing on today, I pray that you discover it is your own Mount Tabor. I pray that you come to see Christ in a different light, which in turn transforms the way that you see everything else. That you feel completely out of control. And that in doing so, you acknowledge that God is greater than you dared to dream and that God is in control.

Needless to say, my day is much better now than it started out to be. Glory to God in all things.

Celebrating Our 2014 Grads!



Traditional hat toss

Hey Eparchy of Saskatoon! Did you know we have at least 23 Grade 12 Graduates this year?!


Send out your prayers and congratulations to:

Saskatoon Deanery – Maria, Alexander, Nicholas, Tessia, Cassidy, Eva, Katherine, Ben, Roxanna, Nicholas

Regina Deanery – Jesselyn, Chad, Nicoli, Lesia

Prince Albert Deanery – Katrina, Brittlon, Beth, Kailey, Nina, Bailey

(If you know of any others that are missing from this list, please pass on their names to me!)

In recognition of this huge milestone, and of the fact that these grads can now tap into everything offered by our Church for young adults, we’ve put together a little gift bag which will be distributed to them through their home parish in the near future.

A special thank you goes to the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and SERENA Saskatchewan for their generous contributions!

My hope is that someone (possibly you!) continues this tradition in future years, so I decided to share a sneak peak of what these gift bags contain. There is lots of potential for growth, so let me know if you are interested in supporting this ministry!

Grad PacksGrad Letter 2014 Grad Letter 2014 2Card from Clergy





Paintball Pictures!

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Paintball with Saskatoon young adults at Merril Dunes

Our group was so amazing that a list of honourable mentions is called for!

Fr. Taras – Master Strategist: “Okay, what is our plan?! Who is the leader? Who is the best shot?”
Ivan K – Comic Counselor: “I sense a flaw in this human shield plan, Fr. Taras…”
Andriy – Most Players Hit: Literally hit every player… even the ones on his own team.
Alix – Queen of the Cattle Trailer: Bounced a paintball off a tree to hit me around a barrel in defence of her castle.
Ivan D – Best Dressed: Totally pulled off the blue and yellow. Slava Ukraini!
Fr. Janko – Highest Ranking Officer: Once the Chancellor got into the zone, Andriy didn’t stand a chance.
Ivan S – Undercover Operative: He might look like he’s just taking a carefree walk in the park, but that’s all an act.
Adam  – Trigger Happy: The bane of the red team… might have something to do with the fact that he fired 1000 paintballs!
Nadia – New Recruit: Despite being one of the gang who had never played before, she got right into the game!
Fr. Ivan – Most Enthusiastic: What gave it away? The face paint or all the whoops and shouts?
Amalia –Tiniest Jumpsiut: Had to ask for a smaller size three times, but then defended the Swat Bus like no one’s business.
Joakim – Toughest Casualty: Deserves a medal for carrying on after taking a neck shot.
Marie – Squeaky Clean: The only one who didn’t smell like BO at BP’s thanks to her speedy trip home.
Sophia – Brains of the Operation: Okay it was Ivan S’s idea, and location credit belongs to Adam, but I try.

What’s Our Game Plan?

PA Planning

Photo: Participants of the Pastoral Planning Session in Prince Albert doing a think-outside-the-box exercize… with cotton balls.

Allow me to cut right to the chase!

If you are in or around Saskatoon, Regina, or Yorkton I want you to be part of a Youth Pastoral Planning Meeting!

I am looking for people invested in youth ministry in any way, shape, or form – pastors, young adults, parents, youth, and parishioners who want to be involved. If you are reading this you’re the one I’m looking for!!

Regina. July 15th from 5:30pm- 7:00pm.  St. Athanasius Youth Room. Afterwards please stay or join for the monthly youth Divine Liturgy followed by us all going out for ice cream or food of some sort!

Yorkton. July 19th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. St. Mary’s Golden Ager’s Room. Right after that is an informal hang out open to anyone, even if you don’t come to the meeting. Odds are this will involve free Ice Caps and donuts.

Saskatoon. TBA. (Details will be tentatively set by our paintball crew tomorrow night… it’s not too late to get in on that!)

Prince Albert. June 6th from 5:30-8:00. St. George’s K of C Hall. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.


What are you getting into if you come?

We’ll be following the Pastoral Planning Process used for Vision 2020 because it’s awesome, but talking specifically about youth in your parish/city.

Basically we start with these categories:

  • The Word of God and Catechesis
  • Liturgy and Prayer
  • Service
  • Leadership and Stewardship
  • Community and Unity
  • Missionary Spirit

For each of those we touch on the following three steps:

1)      Count our Blessing: It’s easy to get depressed when we look around the pews and wonder if we’ve gone colorblind because everyone seems to have grey hair. This is a great reminder that lots of things are going right and that God is with us! We are the Easter people!

2)      Dare to Dream: Ever heard of a Big Hairy Audacious Goal? It’s a business thing that is about developing a dynamic vision that people are willing to strive for even if it seems impossible. We can’t fulfill our mission by thinking small when our faith is all about radical transformation.

3)      Evaluate/Prioritize: Often, this is the place in meetings where dreams go to die. However, this stage should be just as exciting as the last. This is where we decide what is essential to us, what we are willing to pour our time and energy into so that we move towards what we desire.

The biggest chunk of our time is spent on the fourth step…

4)      Design/Commitment: This is what it all boils down too; coming up with a concrete plan of action and having people commit to following through with it. Otherwise we can suggest the same ideas year after year after year after year after year after okay you get the picture.


Here’s how it panned out in Prince Albert!


This might sound abstract or overly ambitious but it totally worked in Prince Albert. Here’s the highlights:

Grid Pic

  • 9 participants
  • Average age =27!
  • Massive blank grid got plastered with tons of ideas written on obscenely colorful sticky notes
  • Taking time to play and pray during each step
  • Pizza supper break
  • 3 Action Plans specifying who, where, when, how, and why:
  • Action Plan 1 – Increase youth involvement in Divine Liturgy as ushers, readers, etc using Participation Schedule
  • Action Plan 2 – Meeting to plan 1 youth event a month for the next 12 months
  • Action Plan 3 – Collective Acts of Kindness: Youth led pastoral service initiative to respond to parishioners in need

Get Caught Up in the Music

Music_is_my_Life_by_LietingaDienaCan you imagine life without music? A movie without a soundtrack? Christmas without carols? *Insert own examples here* Yikes!

You’ve seen the Official Music Video for Happy right? Watch the hilarious but tragically awkward results if you take the music out:

Music Videos Without Music: Happy – Pharrel Williams

St. Vlad’s Camp Dilemma.

(Shout out to everyone working for Eparchial Camps!)

St. Vlad's Camp Staff

So this last weekend we had our counsellor training for St. Volodymyr’s Camp. (WAHOOO! 36 days till camp! And only 17 days till St. Michael’s Camp starts!) At one point we were discussing our camp purpose and trying to wrap our head around what it would mean to “provide an opportunity for youth, ages 8-14, to experience God…” Sounds great! … Umm how are we supposed to do that exactly?

I’m a fan of metaphors, so here’s where I borrowed Rob Bell’s idea…

Thinking of God as a song.

(This is just the trailer. If you haven’t seen the whole thing – Nooma 011 l Rhythm – its worth looking into.)

Basically, Rob goes on to talk about God being this dynamic song that people have been hearing for thousands of years across every continent. And everyone is playing along with this song whether they acknowledge it or not. Everyone is in relationship with God. The only question is whether or not they are in tune…

30 Second Theology “Recap

So there’s this fancy word that is used in music and in theology: recapitulate.

re·ca·pit·u·late [ree-kuhpichuh-leyt] : summarizing and restating the main points of something;  the repetition of themes introduced earlier…

In the Eastern Christian world this is talking about Jesus Christ as the New Adam. We can think of it this way… the Old Adam (Eve’s guy) tried to play the theme of the song but it kind of turns into an epic fail. The New Adam comes and nails it, drawing everyone to into the music and showing us how it should be played. Irenaeus of Lyon is the Church Father who started hashing out this idea. He said that the point of God taking on human nature was

“so that what we had lost in Adam – namely, to be according to the image and likeness of God – we might recover in Christ Jesus.”

Harrowing of HadesSo lets say that God is a song and playing the theme is living as the image and likeness of God. It’s expressing truth and love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, and sacrifice. Jesus is the perfect Image of God, his life is the perfect example of how to play the music. Our job is to be in relationship with him – to learn from him and imitate him.

Getting Caught Up in the Music

A lot of times at, even at Church, we get caught up in the things that don’t really matter. We get caught up in thinking about God or talking about faith instead of actually loving Him and living it. It’s like we spend a bunch of time studying sheet music and can’t be bothered to actually pick up our instruments.

Our St. Vlad’s camp staff agreed that we wanted to work on avoiding that trap by focusing on evangelizing through actions and attitude. Guaranteed, we’re going to mess up, but the point isn’t to be perfect, it’s to fall in love with playing and get others to join in…

It’s all about getting caught up in the music.

Life without being in relationship with God is as wrong as a music video without music. But imagine what  it would be like if  our relationship with God became the soundtrack of our entire lives instead of just a weekly band practice. Imagine what could happen if we let ourselves get carried away by the sound.


Day 9: Being Filled with a Missionary Spirit

three-holy-children-in-the-furnaceWord of God: Acts 28:1-31

Reflection: Our heart must reach out to this world, in our relationship with others, in our family, our town, city, our  country, wherever there is hatred, aggression, injustice, hate, impurity, persecution, that is, where there is sin. We are  the Church of the Risen Christ. We are, therefore, not merely followers, but missionaries – the ones who bring Christ to others. Continue reading