By Jayne L. Buryn, Communications Coordinator, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton

How do you engage today’s Ukrainian Catholics to take fasting seriously or to participate in some suggested 34 feast day Divine Liturgies, when they are already struggling with Great Lent as a meaningful part of their spiritual lives and don’t attend church on the already existing12 major holy days?

These were some of the questions pondered for several days by nine North American Ukrainian Catholic archbishops and bishops at the Winnipeg synod in late May. “There is now a very large population of Ukrainian Catholics outside Ukraine,” said Most Rev. David Motiuk, Bishop of the Eparchy of Edmonton. “As a result the bishops would like to take a new direction, raise awareness so that the annual Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church functions as a global Church. They would like to see the Church move from the regional focus of Ukraine, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Canada, or the U.S., for example, to a world-wide Church perspective.”

How does the particular Church, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, respond in a unified way to pastoral situations in various countries to fast days, for example, or successfully draw church goers to liturgies on the 12 major feast days and 23 others?  “There are only 52 weeks in the year,” said Bishop David. How does that affect the faithful in how they live a spiritual life?

How can we encourage a return to the fast days such as Petrivka (Saint Peter and Paul Fast) and Pilipiwka (Dormition Fast) for example, when in North America we have lost the discipline in fasting for the Great Lent?”

Renewal through vibrant parish programs

The bishops discussed and determined how each would respond in his jurisdiction to  the Synod of Bishops Vibrant Parish program. The Ukrainian Catholic Church program is similar to Edmonton Eparchy’s 25-Year Pastoral Plan for a vibrant parish, but has six focal points.  Each parish or eparchy is encouraged to adopt one or two that parishioners would benefit from most. For example, a parish could use the gifts of the faithful in new, greater ways in adult faith formation.
English translation of the Catechism of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church goes to press

The English translation of the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church (Christ Our Pascha) is now ready to go to press and 9000 copies will be distributed, beginning in early July, to eparchies in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, United States and Ukraine. The catechism covers three areas: what we believe, how we pray and how we live (morals and ethics).

Prayers at Velychkowsky shrine and graves of Ukrainian Catholic hierarchs

During their time in Winnipeg, participants took the opportunity to pray at the shrine of Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky and at the graves of the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchs buried in Winnipeg:  Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk, Metropolitan Michael Bzdel, Archbishop Vasyl Ladyka, Bishop Volodymyr Malanchuk, Bishop Michael Kuchmiak, Bishop Michael Hrynchyshyn, and Bishop Cornelius Pasichny, whose intercession for our Church, the bishops invoked during their meeting.

Synod participants included Most Rev. Stefan Soroka, Archbishop of Philadelphia; Most Rev. Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, Archbishop of Winnipeg; Most Rev. David Motiuk, Bishop of Edmonton; Most Rev. Paul Chomnycky, OSBM, Bishop of Stamford; Most. Rev. Bryan Bayda, CSsR, Bishop of Saskatoon; Most Rev. Ken Nowakowski, Bishop of New Westminster; Most Rev. Bohdan Danylo, Bishop of Parma; Most Rev. John Bura, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia; and Most Rev. Basil Losten, Bishop-Emeritus.