Ad Limina Apostolorum 2020
A 3 minute video on the US Eastern Bishops making the Ad Limina Apostolorum this week.
Be familiar with a venerable tradition of the church of bishops praying at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, meeting with the successor of Saint Peter and meeting with the heads of the important offices at the Holy See and the Vatican.
US Ukrainian bishops on Pilgrimage to Rome 2020
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020
As we celebrate both the mystery of baptism and the search for Christian unity through dialogue, we see the unity of the two in the sacramental mystery of our baptism: “The fact that our churches share and practice this same faith and teaching requires that we recognize in each other the same baptism and thus also recognize in each other, however “imperfectly,” the present reality of the same Church. By God’s gift we are each, in St. Basil’s words, “of the Church.” (Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, “Baptism and ‘Sacramental Economy’: An Agreed Statement, 1999). Ecumenism is the search for unity among all Christians. Unity must be established on truth, but we know that God is Truth (John 14:6).
The Truth that is God, we as human beings must state in human words. No human word can grasp the whole truth that is the Word. There are many different words and formularies, and even that which is certainly true can be expressed in different ways. Even very basically, that which was expressed in Greek, must for most of us be translated into English words! To express the truth requires hard work, understanding and discernment. The way of ecumenism is through dialogue, to strive to see in our limited human formularies what is the unchanging truth and what is not genuine. We see this especially in the dialogues between Catholics and the Oriental Orthodox Church, and also between the Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, where the differences in formulary have been recognized to be semantic and not essential.
The opposition to ecumenism, however, is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism rises from an underlying human need to be certain of one’s own self-righteousness. How I believe is right and everyone else is wrong. Deep-seated fundamentalism leads eventually to intolerance, ideology imposed on people, hatred and eventually violence. The world today is soaked through with hatred ideology and violence, with the dehumanization of “the other.” It is not a good atmosphere for the gospel of ecumenism. But as St. Paul said, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). If two people disagree, but have a good heart, they can find the common truth through dialogue. Sometimes we point to history as the taking of a strong stand, of condemning those who have the wrong “formularies,” as the righteous rejection of “heresies.”
The reality, however, is that there has always also been dialogue. Andrew Louth pointed out in a recent article (“Pseudonymity and Secret Tradition in Early Christianity: Some Reflections on the Development of Mariology,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 60:4, 2016, p. 431) that “[Evagrius] was, in fact, so very much valued for his practical teaching that, even smeared with the brush of heresy, works ascribed to Evagrius himself survive in the manuscript tradition; many, however, found a safe haven under the name of Neilos … “We can learn from one another! Unity is always possible! But if hearts are closed, they will bring more division and even violence. We must shut out the noise and clamor of hatred, pride and self-righteousness, to hear the “still, small voice” of God like Elijah on the mountain (1 Kings 19:12).
Sts. Peter and Andrew, pray for us.
Meditation by Archpriest David Petras
Communion and Unity
Unity, Communion (Koinonia) Fostering the spiritual unity of Christ’s church And Promoting the Unity of all Christians (ecumenism)
From the Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Sviatoslav Fostering and Serving Unity
The Acts of the Apostles convey a sense of profound unity which existed among the members of the first community of Christ’s disciples: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common”.(Act 4:32). This spiritual state of being of the first Christian community can be expressed with the term koinonia (communion) which conveys unity, harmony and common life. To be Church is to abide in the communion of the Holy Spirit, the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God the Father. Thus, the unity of the church is an icon of the unity of Persons of the Holy Trinity. This unity can be seen on different levels: on the level of the Universal and Particular Church, the eparchy, and the individual parish. It may happen that through our weakness and sinfulness we do not reflect this unity. Ever aware of this, we all must cherish and foster unity, preserving full communion with the successor of the apostle Peter, the Holy Father, with the hierarchy of our Church, with the local bishops and pastors who act in their name.
The parish is a community of communities. In a parish there will be various prayer groups, brotherhoods, and youth organizations. All of these are called to strengthen unity and love among the members of the parish community. By supporting one another through prayer, by sharing God’s gifts and working together in a Christ-like spirit of service, we will be able to bring to life our synodal program: “Holiness of a united people of God.” We cannot be indifferent to the fact that the descendants of the Baptism under St. Volodymyr today are divided and estranged from one another. At the Last Supper, Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for His disciples, “that all may be one” (John 17:21). Bearing in mind these words of Christ, I sincerely ask you all today – let us pray for the unity of the Church, let us pray for the restoration of unity of all the churches of the Kyivan tradition. And above all, in the spirit of the love of Christ, let us make every effort to avoid any words or actions which could damage our brothers and sisters in Christ or offend them. Even though at times we may be subjected to mockery and pressure, let us not give in to the temptation to respond to evil with evil. May Christ’s prayer for his wrong-doers and the teaching of the Apostle of the Nations become a testament for us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).
Several episcopal changes
Today, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of pastoral governance of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul of Melbourne of the Ukrainians (Australia) presented by Bishop Peter Stasiuk, C.Ss.R. At the same time the Pope nominated a new bishop of the eparchy Father Mykola Bychok, C.Ss.R., until now the parochial vicar of the parish of St. John the Baptist in Newark, NJ.
Father Bychok was born on 13 February 1980 in Ternopil, Ukraine. He entered the Redemptorist order in July 1997 and received his formation in Ukraine and Poland and earned a Masters in Pastoral Theology. Bychok professed his perpetual vows on 17 August 2003 and ordained priest in Lviv on 3 May 2005.
After ordination he served as a missionary in Russia, a local Redemptorist superior, pastor of a parish in Ukraine, Treasurer of the Redemptorist Province in Lviv and since 2015 in St. John the Baptist Parish in Newark, NJ.
Prayers for Father Mykola Bychok as he begins a mission for God and the Church.
Additionally, Pope Francis nominated as bishop of the Eparchy Holy Family of London of the Ukrainians in Great Britain Bishop Kenneth Anthony Adam Nowakowski, transferring him from the Eparchy of New Westminster of the Ukrainians in Canada.
Bishop Kenneth Anthony Adam Nowakowski was born on 16 May 1958 in North Battleford in Saskatchewan (Canada).
The Bishop’s initiation formation for priesthood was with the Redemptorist order in Toronto and in Rome at the Angelicum. He was ordained a priest on 19 August 1989 for the Eparchy of Saskatoon. Later he studied Canon Law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome) and directed the Ukrainian Catholic Refugee Office in Italy.
After several points of service for the Church as vice chancellor in Ukraine, rector of the Ottawa Seminary, Caritas Ucraina, he was elected bishop of New Westminster on June 1, 2007.
Newly ordained Greek Catholic bishop
Bishop Stepan Sus, 38, was consecrated a bishop in Kyiv’s Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ Jan. 12. The Catholic News Agency story is here.
Make Disciples of All Nations, not just those of our family
From a 2016 sermon of His Beatitude Sviatoslav of Kyiv and Halych:
Today’s question is: What does it mean to be a faithful member or believer of the UGCC? This is a question of identity of the Church and us. The Kyivan Church of the third millennium—who are we? What do we do as members of this Church?
Here in our midst are members [of the Church] from the whole world. We have with us brothers and sisters from Australia here today. This question has broad answers. What makes us Ukrainian Greco-Catholics? Being Ukrainian? Today about 1/3 of our parishes in the diaspora [in North and South America, Western Europe, Australia] are comprised of members not of Ukrainian heritage and who don’t speak Ukrainian. This is why we translated our new Catechism into languages they understand: English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, many others….
What is the mark of identity of the UGCC? To be Galician? I tell you as the Major Archbishop of Kyiv, no! There are many who want to make our Church into a Galician enclave in the Western part of Ukraine. His Beatitude Lubomyr once said something very interesting: “we need to put aside the heresy of being just Galician.” [Let me assure you, I say this with all respect, being a Galician myself.] Our identity, the identity of our Church is faith in the salvific things that our God has placed in the history of the Kyivan Church and all the good things and gifts and treasures from God: theological, liturgical, artistic.
Today we must spread these to the whole world.
And today when our missionaries leave the Lviv Theological Seminary [where the homily is being given] to occupied areas, in Crimea, or to Melbourne or to India, they can think to themselves… I am going to find [seek out, like lost sheep] Ukrainians, I am going to call back the lost sheep of Ukraine.
But Christ is calling us to something higher. He says go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to be Greco-Catholic, faithful member of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church.
Within the richness of the Kyivan Church there is much to be found, there are such deep roots. We need to open the Kyivan Church to other languages, other cultures, other peoples—this gift of the Spirit that the Lord gave to our once suffering, crucified, but today resurrected and glorified Church.
Stamford clergy 2019
The Stamford Eparchial Clergy Fall Days, 2019
Let us pray for our clergy.
Dialogue and unity: the mission of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Here is a summary of an article by Andrea Gagliarducci published by Acistampa in Italian on the recent meetings of representatives of the Synod of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Rome. The article is here. Thanks to Fr. Athanasius McKay for his notes.
“Pope Francis wants the Eastern Catholic Churches to grow, develop and flourish.” The Pope distinguished Eastern Catholic Churches from “Uniatism” as a method. Churches are not methods.
Instead of the old individual ad limina meetings, this represents a new methodology of the Pope and his curia meeting with the Major Archbishop and his synod together.
“It was clear to everybody that the war is a foreign aggression and that Ukraine is the victim.”
“The problem with ecumenism in Ukraine and in the whole territory of the ex-Soviet Union, is that decolonization has not yet happened. The Churches were often servants and instruments of the state authorities.”
“[our goals: the patriarchate, the beatification of Sheptytsky, etc.] are closer than they were three days ago.”
The Latin Church understands the concept of “Ecclesia particularis” as “local Church.” But at the meeting we had metropolitans from Canada, Brazil, USA, Poland. We are not a local Church but an “Ecclesia sui juris”, which is a global reality. This is a Byzantine concept of Catholic universalism.
“Metropolitan Sheptytsky was the first to fully realise the global nature of our Church. When he was metropolitan, our Church only had three eparchies in Western Ukraine. Now we have 34 eparchies throughout the world. It is also thanks to Metropolitan Sheptytsky, who was the first to make pastoral visits to the faithful throughout the world. We are harvesting the fruits that Metropolitan Sheptytsky planted.”