'I don’t want people to fall into despair': Ukrainian Easter tradition goes online
SASKATOON -- One Saskatoon church has found an innovative way to carry on with an important annual Easter tradition while still complying with government health restrictions.
“We’re not an online store so how do you do that?” said church volunteer Myron Glova.
Dormition Ukrainian Catholic Parish holds its Easter tea every year. The gathering is a staple of the Easter season and it’s an important fundraiser.
But this year, gatherings of ten or more have been banned in the province.
“So we managed to get some research done and figure out that there are online forms. We can create an online order form and get it out to the community and let people know how to pick up their items.” Glova told CTV News.
About 200 people attend the event to visit and purchase Ukrainian Easter food such as paska, which is braided bread and babka, a sweet bread with raisins. Perogies, cabbage rolls, beets with horseradish and butter shaped into lambs or crosses are also sold.
The food is prepared for months leading up the event which was supposed to take place last weekend. Parishioners mobilized quickly once the ban on public gatherings was put in place and decided to offer the sale online.
The parish priest, Father Andre Lalach, said it was important for him and the church community to give people something tangible that they could have with them at Easter to remind them what they would ordinarily be doing at Easter.
"In the midst of so many losses over the past few weeks, and no doubt in the weeks ahead, I think it’s important that we offer some measure of normalcy to our people. We want to keep everyone safe, but I also don’t want people to fall into despair."
The urgency to decide came from the need to address the overflowing freezers full of food which was handmade by about 60 volunteers from the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League at the church.
Therese Skomar is part of the women’s league. Armed with disinfecting wipes and gloves, she and Glova are sorting items which will be picked up on April 4th or delivered to those who are in isolation or quarantined.
"The Easter Tea is a big deal for the women’s league every year, but this year we have to go an alternative route,” stated Skomar.
“The sale has been going for five days and we’ve had 70 orders and 8 of those asking for delivery,” which Skomar said is a near-sellout.