Plast Newark presents $100,000 check toward Ukrainian Cultural Center
WHIPPANY, N.J. - The Newark Branch of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization on December 4 presented a check of $100,000 towards the Ukrainian Cultural Center that is to be built here in northern New Jersey, in affiliation with St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the spring of 2004.
The funds were allocated out of the Plast branch's own building fund to demonstrate local Plast members' commitment to the project, which is being constructed as part of a larger complex that will also include a new church as well as a rectory and belltower.
The check was presented at a special gathering by members of the Plast Newark executive board ("stanychna starshyna") and council ("stanychna rada") to the pastor of St. John's, the Very Rev. Archpriest Roman Mirchuk, and Orest Kucyna and Ihor Lodziuk, parish trustees and members of the Building Committee.
This tangible expression of support is seen by the branch and its members as an investment in the future of both this branch of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization and the local Ukrainian community. In addition, the branch's executive board has applied for membership in the Ukrainian Cultural Center.
The Cultural Center has already set aside a room in the center to be used exclusively by Plast as their local headquarters, or "domivka" and, once the center is completed, Plast Newark - which encompasses a large membership in Morris County, N.J. - plans to hold the vast majority of its activities in the center's facilities.
George Shypailo, president of the Newark Plast Branch, commented: "Plast has not had a real home since the old 'domivka' located in Newark was sold in the late 1980s. All of us are looking forward to finally having a home where we can conduct our activities and build a feeling of family and pride." Newark's young Plast members currently hold meetings at St. John's Church hall.
Speaking on behalf of the Ukrainian Cultural Center's Building Committee, of which he is vice-chairman, Mr. Kucyna said that "a vision and plan have been set in motion that will affect not only ourselves, but also future generations of Ukrainians" as its goal is "to perpetuate and nurture the Ukrainian spiritual and cultural heritage in Northern New Jersey."
"To accomplish this, we must attract and support all forms of Ukrainian cultural, spiritual, educational, fraternal and athletic programs, in addition to building the required facilities to sustain the needs of the community," he continued. "The plan to make our vision a reality is different and unprecedented, requiring bold action, trust and faith in each other."
"Plast, its leadership and its membership, have made that leap in faith, and by their bold action joined in establishing the destiny of the Ukrainian hromada in our community," Mr. Kucyna underscored.
Announcing the Plast presentation to his parish during Sunday liturgy, Father Mirchuk noted that "miracles do happen" and said that the hand of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, whose feast day is now being celebrated, can be seen in this act.
The pastor also noted several smaller donations made in recent days by young members of the local branches of Plast and the Ukrainian American Youth Association (SUM), whose good deeds he cited as examples to be emulated.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, December 14, 2003, No. 50, Vol. LXXI
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