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Voices Ringing


Universal Faith: Meet the Fedorisin Family

March 25, 2024
By Archbishop Carroll High School

The most common things make the biggest difference when you’re 4,800 miles from home.

“I was surprised by how big the roads and the cars are in America,” Noemi Fedorisinova ‘26 recalled – just one of many eye-opening experiences from when she and her family arrived in the United States from their native Slovakia. Unlike many families who left eastern Europe in 2022, Noemi, her sister Sofia ‘24, their parents, and their brothers were not fleeing the burgeoning war between Russia and Ukraine. Their father, Francis, is a Byzantine Catholic Priest who had been urged by a bishop in 2019 to relocate his family to the United States to help grow their ministry.

The family spent months in deliberation and prayer to make a decision. They ultimately decided to leave behind their comfortable lives in Slovakia to answer the bishop’s call to spread their faith. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put their plans on hold, but the family arrived in Charlotte after a 24-hour journey from Budapest.

The Fedorisin family gathered in the
Dormition of Mother of God, Byzantine
Catholic Church in Cleveland.

“There was also sadness because I had made good friends and was in a good high school community,” Sofia said. “It’s important for our family to make decisions together and make sacrifices for the church and our faith. It’s important to be able to sacrifice even the great life that we had in Europe. Everything was perfect there, but we sacrificed it to help people here."

After adjusting to the weather, tweaking their English dialect from British to American, and bouncing from Charlotte to Cleveland to Dayton, the family settled into their new life.

“For my first three months of school, I was just sitting and doing nothing because I was so stressed. I tried to speak, but it was bad. When I went to high school, I started to talk and make friends and things got better. The teachers are always trying to help you, and I really appreciate that.”

Sofia and Noemi also learned about the differences between the Roman Catholic and Byzantine traditions while attending Catholic schools. Their father leads the St. Barbara the Great Byzantine Catholic Community and is the officiant for its services in St. John Bosco Chapel on the campus of Wright State University. For all the differences in rites, Sofia says the commonalities are much greater than what distinguishes the two ways of practicing faith.

“Everything that we do in the Byzantine church is based on the Roman Catholic Church. We are Catholic. We are united.”

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2024 edition of Reflections.  Click here to read the entire magazine.

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