Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh): ‘We will not stop appealing to the minds and hearts of the authorities regarding the fate of migrants’

Sunday, 25 March 2012, 18:51
Despite the silence, we will not stop appealing to the minds and hearts of the authorities and hope that the government finally turns to face its own citizens who are abroad and need its protection and support, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh) said in an interview to Do Svitla. The bishop stated that the Church still awaits a response from authorities as to why nothing is being done to ensure that our compatriots return home.
Despite the silence, we will not stop appealing to the minds and hearts of the authorities and hope that the government finally turns to face its own citizens who are abroad and need its protection and support, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh) said in an interview to Do Svitla. The bishop stated that the Church still awaits a response from authorities as to why nothing is being done to ensure that our compatriots return home. “If the government offered them work according to their qualifications and a decent salary that would allow them to support themselves and their families, they would return. And, unfortunately, the state is still not doing enough to change this situation. Therefore, it seems that this situation is even advantageous for some, because it allows without the least cost of the government to replenish the state budget funds with money migrant workers send to Ukraine in different ways,” said the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. He said the workers send to Ukraine “impressive amounts of money.” “They say the amount is almost six billion dollars a year (and that is only through official channels!). It seems that the fact that such a high a price (broken families, lost skills, social orphanage) is paid for this money is not a concern of many authorities,” Bishop Bohdan states. At the same time the Secretary of the Synod emphasizes that the creation of new UGCC parishes in countries of emigration is not an end in itself for the Church. “To us the fate of Ukrainians is important, the fate of our faithful, not the structures. We will not hold on to them if they are no longer needed. We create structures according to the spiritual and pastoral needs of our faithful,” he explains. Today the UGCC clergy ministers in over 140 places in Italy. This, according to Bishop Bohdan, is much more than in some eastern exarchates in Ukraine itself. He says that to ensure the best possible spiritual care, the Italian Episcopal Conference, in consultation with the hierarchy of our Church, appointed a coordinator for our faithful (today it is Fr. Jaroslav Marko Semehen), and the Holy See named Reverend Bishop Dionysii (Liakhovych) Apostolic Visitor for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy and Spain. So, through the joint efforts of our Church and our brothers Roman Catholics, we managed to establish a very effective pastoral network for our faithful in Italy. In addition, by order of the Synod of Bishops, the Commission on Matters of Immigrants and the Pastoral Missionary Department of the Patriarchal Curia, headed by Bishop Josyf (Milyan), are directly dealing with the issue of pastoral care of migrants around the world. “These individuals and institutions abroad and in Ukraine are developing and carrying out many pastoral initiatives, ranging from providing faithful spiritual literature and ending with holding courses for priests and missionaries who serve among immigrants. Finally, one of the great examples of such spiritual care to our faithful in Italy is the magazine Do Svitla, which is a ray of God’s love and hope, not only to Greek Catholics but to all our compatriots abroad,” concluded the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh).  

UGCC Information Department

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