Funeral Rites for Bishop Richard (Seminack)
It is usual that funeral rites span several days. The funeral for His Grace, Bishop Richard (Seminack) was not exceptional in this regard.
On the evening of August 22, a parastas was celebrated for the hierarch who had died August 16. Gathered at the Cathedral of St Nicholas in Chicago, Illinois were family, friends, parishioners and clergy who came together to offer their prayers expressing the belief in the resurrection of faithful followers of Jesus Christ and the Gospel He gave us as a legacy and testimony of faith.
During the afternoon, the mortal remains of Bishop Richard lie in repose in the cathedral which he served for thirteen years.
Under the leadership of His Eminence, Stefan (Soroka) Metropolitan-Archbishop of Philadelphia, assisted by His Grace Bohdan (Danylo) Eparch of the Eparchy of St Josaphat in Parma (Ohio) and His Grace John (Kudrick), eparch emeritus of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, forty clerics—deacons and priests—flanked the bier upon which the bocy of Bishop Richard lie. Most of the priests and deacons were from St Nicholas Eparchy. Local clergy were present, as well as those who had to travel by automobile, train or airplane to be able to perform the work of mercy to bury the dead. In addition several priests from nearby Ukrainian Orthodox parishes joined in the concelebrated service for the deceased hierarch.
On the morning of the next day the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the cathedral. Once again Metropolitan Stefan was joined by other hierarchs. Bishop Bohdan was present as well as representatives of other Churches: His Excellency, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the (Latin) Catholic diocese of Springfield, Illinois; Maronite Chorbishop Sharbel Maroun, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Archimandrite Nicholas (Zachariadis) of the Romanian Catholic Holy Resurrection Monastery in St Nazianz, Wisconsin, surrounded the Holy Table. Clergy of the administration of St Nicholas also concelebrated.
Condolence messages were read from His Holiness, Francis, Pope of Rome, and His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Concluding the liturgy, a second part of the funeral service was held—and after the Farewell Kiss, the casket bearing Bishop Richard’s body led the procession to the narthex as the Holy Gospel was read.
A slight departure from the multi-day procedure was interjected. The hearse transported the coffin to the airport for a flight to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the concluding prayers will be offered for Bishop Richard at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, on August 26. Bishop Richard’s request to be buried in his family plot was honored. Here, the family will gather with other clergy, other friends to have the opportunity to inter the body of Bishop Richard at St Mary’s Cemetery, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania to await the second-coming of Jesus Christ.
May his memory be eternal!