Bloomingdale, IL – Some 230 guests, adults and children alike, took part in the Chicago area’s first Perelaz Folk Ball to support Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). The festivities began in the afternoon and continued into the evening of Sunday October 9 on the beautiful grounds of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Perelaz has been a tradition now in Lviv, Ukraine, for more than 10 years. This family-oriented gala has helped to foster a culture of philanthropy and charitable giving in western Ukraine where it has become popular with local business leaders who have donated generously to support UCU. Last year the Philadelphia area hosted the first US-based Perelaz on the grounds of St. Michael the Archangel parish in Jenkintown. Chicago’s guests included a delegation of businesspeople from Lviv who are longtime supporters of UCU.
Most of the October 9th event was held in the open air, and there was miraculously pleasant weather the whole time. The event began as guests crossed over the perelaz (“crossover gate”), greeted by Rev. Bohdan Prach, Rector of UCU. As they arrived, the guests enjoyed the music of The Marko Marcinko Jazz Quartet.
Most Reverend Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Chicago and himself an alumnus of UCU’s School of Business, gave a blessing before the guests were treated to appetizers catered by Chicago’s popular local restaurant Shokolad. After brief greetings from a few speakers, the guests were ushered inside to hear keynote speaker John Hewko, a longtime supporter of UCU and himself Secretary General and chief executive officer of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. UCU graduate Halyna Didula, currently studying social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, also gave an update on some of UCU’s wide-ranging efforts to help in the war effort, especially the distribution of humanitarian aid and sheltering refugees who have fled from the embattled cities in eastern Ukraine to Lviv.
After dinner, many guests continued to celebrate the success of the event while enjoying lively tunes performed by Horpyna, a Ukrainian folk-rock band from Poland. Guests also participated in an art auction, in which all the items were sold, and a lottery with prizes, the majority of which were from Ukraine.
Perelaz attracted a diverse crowd of supporters, including former members of Congress Peter Roskam and Daniel Lipinski, and clergy and parishioners from the churches of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha, St. Joseph the Betrothed, and St. Nicholas Cathedral in Chicago, and Immaculate Conception Church in Palatine, as well as St. Andrew the First-Called Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Ukrainian Catholic University Foundation and UCU, including Director of Development Andriy Kurochka, who emceed the event, are very grateful to all those who attended and those who made generous donations to provide scholarships for UCU students and provided funds for the university’s many institutional needs. UCU Foundation is especially grateful to our event sponsors: The Heritage Foundation and Self-Reliance Federal Credit Union. UCU remains one of Ukraine’s preeminent institutions of higher education, with an international reputation for its outstanding programs in theology and ethics, applied sciences and business, history, law, journalism, social policy and other disciplines.