By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time in many years, the Ukrainian Catholic Church will mark the celebration of Easter this weekend with the Latin Rite Catholic Church calendar.

Father Roman Pitula is a native of the Ukraine and the new rector of Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northern Liberties.

It’s his first Easter as the new leader of the Ukrainian congregation here in Philadelphia.

Pitula says his message to all on this Easter weekend is looking to meaning of the resurrection.

“Learn ourselves, and then to teach others how to live in peace and unity and in joy, of course,” he said.

He says the Easter celebration is a time to embrace the joy of the season. And, Pitula says his Easter message also is one of hope, even in the midst of trial and turmoil.

“We have to fight the good fight, as the Apostle Paul once said, but I mean fight in the spiritual way, finding the way to resolve different misunderstandings, different problems that sometimes exist,” Pitula said.

He says while he knows some are still suffering in his native country because of the Russian incursion, he prays for peace, especially in this season.

He says there will be a host of activities at the church this weekend.

“There will also be a blessing of the paschal foods, the baskets, on Saturday. And, of course, the main culmination of all the services is Easter Sunday. I would invited everyone to join us,” said Pitula.

The full schedule of activities is as follows:


830 N. Franklin St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Holy Saturday, April 15 – 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. Traditional blessing of Easter foods. There will be three blessing services. Each service will be a maximum of 30 minutes. Faithful will bring baskets of Easter foods for blessing, which will take place outside on the cathedral grounds.

Easter Sunday, April 16 – 8:30 A.M. — Archbishop Stefan Soroka, Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, will lead the Easter Sunday Procession outside the cathedral, followed by Resurrectional Matins and the Hierarchical Pascal Divine Liturgy (10:00 a.m.).

Watch & Listen LIVE