In Ukraine, you have unique spiritual and national culture, keep moving to Europe, CEP Vice-President Margaret Meyer

2 August 2019, 10:27 | Interview | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Interviewed by Lilia Kovalyk-Vasiuta

Маргаре-Майєр-w.jpgLviv has accommodated the 30th anniversary Colloquium of European Parishes which considered "If differences can unite us". 120 laymen and priests from Europe came here to share and gain new experience of parish life in live communication. We talked to Vice President of CEP Margaret Meyer ("Renovabis") who told how it all happened.

— Welcome to the city of Lviv, Ms Margaret, which for the first time became the center of parish life of the European Catholic community – participants of the Colloquium of European Parishes. As a member of the organizing team, what can you say about this meeting in Ukraine?

— The fate of Eastern Europe was always my concern. Previously, the Colloquium of European Parishes (CEP) took place in Western Europe. However, I have always wanted it to take place here, because Ukraine is an Eastern European state that seeks to integrate into Europe. It is important for the participants of the Colloquium to get acquainted with this country, its realities, so that people can get to know each other at the level of meetings, conversations and discussions, share their vision of life, spirituality and faith. This is very important today. Such meetings as CEP offer such an opportunity not only for representatives of Western Europe to better know, understand, people in Eastern Europe, in particular, their Church life. People have a chance to get to know each other. This is important.

- How did it all go?

— I was truly surprised by Lviv. When I saw the center of this wonderful city, I thought about Paris. It is the architecture in the center of Lviv that resembles the capital of France. The Colloquium of European Parishes itself was wonderful. The forum participants communicated a lot. This organization has a years-long history, but only this year in Ukraine we have made innovations in the program. In addition to presentations and thematic discussions in groups, we provided participants with more opportunities for friendly communication with tasting each country's traditional delicacies. So we had a great time when free from meetings. Such meals and casual conversations every night were fantastic.

- Was there anything else new that Ukraine gave to this Congress?

- We believed that we had to see with our own eyes what is happening in Ukraine. We are also interested in parish life in Ukraine, which preserves strong Christian traditions. For us, Western Europeans, it is very relevant. We have learned a lot about the active parish life. Of course, we were also taking interest in the unique culture of this place and country.

It is important that young people from Europe saw crowded churches in Ukraine, a lot of practicing youth in churches. It might inspire them. Such meetings have been held for 60 years. We must motivate the world to develop in Christian traditions. We involve young people in CEP. They become more numerous every time. Good young people not only from Western but also from Eastern Europe get involved. This is encouraging. Especially for them, an interesting youth program is developed for each meeting, as it is important that the history of CEP continues.

We must further motivate the world to develop in Christ and involve Ukraine in this activity, so we will be glad if Ukraine, and in particular Ukrainian youth, will only increase their representation in the CEP.

- What is the importance of such meetings?

 - You know, when people from different countries meet in one place and have several days for communication, you realize how small the world is. This is just the case, because you see that countries are different and the problems are the same. There are cases when you feel in your country that you can not reach out to a person, because not everyone is ready to hear the Word of God. Then you ask yourself, what if I'm doing something wrong, maybe I'm using the wrong words to convey the Word of God? However, when we all have discussions here, being from different countries, I understand that we are all "in the same boat", that is, we all have the same problems, not all people are ready to accept this Word. Here we heard excellent reports by Professor Paul Zulehner, Fr. Dr. Mykhailo Dymyd, Professor Hanna Teslyuk. They provided a lot of relevant explanations and I thought that it is very important to be able to hear such people.

You present the Charity Fund "Renovabis" at the Colloquium. Over the years, the organization has helped participants from Eastern Europe to participate in the Congress. Could you kindly tell me whether the participants from Eastern Europe will enjoy the support of the Fund?

— "Renovabis" helps mainly Catholics, because it is a Catholic organization that supports churches in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Central part. This is the main limitation of our activity. If a certain project appears in Ukraine, we are ready to help. As for teh CEP, we are pleased to provide an opportunity for its participants from Eastern Europe to take part in such meetings, because we understand the importance of their presence at this forum. Cooperation with the Colloquium is continuing, it takes place on a permanent basis.

— What do you wish Ukrainians and Ukraine?

— We are very pleased that the democratic power system is being established in this country. We wish you to continue moving towards Europe. We want to see Ukraine successful. We wish you all the best and we invite you to come to us. The theme of this meeting is "Can differences unite us?"  Ukraine should also develop towards unity in diversity.

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