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The Permanent Synod of the UGCC visited the Ukrainian parish in Niagara
27 February 2017, 17:20 | Ukrainians outside of Ukraine | 0 | | Code for Blog | |
A message of compassion and awareness was spread during a visit to Niagara from the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, informs wellandtribune.ca.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk from Kyiv, Ukraine, addressed the congregation at St. John the Baptist Hungarian Greek Catholic Church on Second Street in Welland Saturday morning. More than a hundred people attended the service to listen to the patriarch who was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.
Father Nicholas Deak, parish priest at St. John the Baptist, said it was a great honour to have the highest hierarch visiting Niagara. Shevchuk is the highest priest next to the Pope that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has.
During Shevchuk’s address to the Welland congregation, where he spoke in English and Ukrainian, he called for the people of the Eastern Rite Church to remember those in Ukraine who are suffering. The archbishop said the conflict in his home country is a forgotten one and that Ukrainians are still in need of assistance.
“Nobody talks about this great suffering,” he said.
Shevchuk said recently Unicef gave out “scary” numbers that almost a million children in Ukraine are victims of the war.
The United Nation stated since April 2014 more than 9,000 people have been killed in the civil war between the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia separatists — the conflict began three years ago. Shevchuk said many people don’t know what is happening in Ukraine, that is why it is the duty of the church to share the truth.
“The church always gives a voice to those that are without a voice,” Shevchuk said.
Parishes around the world are collecting humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Shevchuk said people can also help by saying a prayer for those impacted by war.
Deak said the message from the archbishop was particularly meaningful because church followers around the world are praying for peace and justice. Deak said he hopes the international community will help end the conflict in Ukraine and he prays for the safety of everyone.
“It is very important for all of us because we have been under the Soviet system for so many years and we do not want to fall back under that,” Deak said.
Shevchuk visited Niagara accompanied by the bishops of the senate of the church. The leaders of the church were attending a session of the senate in Niagara Falls which is to show the congregation their leaders care about them.
“We are here to listen to them, to study their needs and to try to support this eparchy. And to also build those bridges between the mother church in Ukraine and the eparchy here in Canada,” Shevchuk said.
Some of the smaller communities are often the ones which are in most need. Shevchuk said it was important for the heads of the church to visit Welland and other communities in Niagara to offer support. Some of the ways Shevchuk and bishops assist is through discussing ways to grow faith and attract youth.
In order to do that, Shevchuk said he and other leaders need to explain traditions and engage in modern ways. Today youth are using social media, so Shevchuk said maybe the church needs to use the same methods of communication to reach the youth.
Although the eparchies are in different countries, Shevchuk said they are much the same and have the same traditions. One difference Shevchuk noticed is the multiculturalism of the Canadian eparchy. He said there are congregation members from diverse cultures and countries, which is nice to see.
“This is the particular richness of the Ukrainian Catholic eparchy of Toronto,” Shevchuk said with a smile.
The archbishop visited St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on Main Street in Niagara Falls Saturday night. He also attended the pontifical divine liturgy at Sts. Cyril and Methodius on Rolls Avenue in St. Catharines Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon Shevchuk attended a banquet at St. John the Theologian Ukrainian Catholic Church on Lakeshore Road.
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