In Kniazhychi, UGCC Head visited a continuing education seminar on spiritual formation held for missionaries serving abroad

Thursday, 25 July 2013, 19:07
His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), UGCC Head, visited the participants of the spiritual formation seminar, offered as a continuing education course in Kniazhychi for missionary priests, monks and nuns, who serve abroad. UGCC Head celebrated on June 23rd Evening Vespers in the Chapel of the Kyiv Three Saints Spiritual Seminary, and then conversed with the participants of the courses. He was curious about the problems and perspectives of the development of pastoral care, especially on the territories of Lithuania, Portugal and Austria, and invited all the priests to attend the blessing of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv on August 16-17, reported PMD UGCC Press Service.

On that day a series of presentations were given at the seminar.  First one was by Bishop Venedykt (Aleksiychuk), head of UGCC Liturgical Commission, and focused on the Liturgy as an expression of the mission of the Church. He noted that the priesthood is an expression of the essence of the Church and that the Divine Liturgy provides the possibility of touching Divine Life.  “Today our Church faces the task of mainly renewing and forming a liturgical awareness. While underlining the importance of the Divine Liturgy, we have to emphasize the influence of grace of other services,” noted Bishop Venedykt. In the second presentation he discussed the translation of liturgical texts into various languages.

Rev. Petro Rak, head of the Department of UGCC Church Commissions described the role of the laity in establishing and developing UGCC, emphasizing the role of women in the parish.  “Women are a great support for the parish.  In their emotional composition, they form the contingent of people who runs first, turning to God.   Men stand behind, observing; their emotions are reserved.   Research shows that women naturally took on the religious role in the home:  they prepared feast day dishes; lighted a candle on Saturday; led the children in prayer; assured that all religious practices would be followed in the home,” said Rev. Petro.

Makariy Ivanyshyn, a Studite hiermonk shared his personal experience of establishing church congregations in Italy.  “Today in Italy there are 50 of our priests and 140 different congregations. There were serious efforts exerted here, organized by Rev. Vasyl Potochniak.   The first priests were very aware, even though they had to study in Italy while also organizing new parishes.  We were greatly assisted by the Roman Catholic Church: they gave us churches to hold services, hired our priests.  I worked in Brescia, Mantova, Modena, Reggio-Emilia.   In Italy every parish is unique.”  Rev. Makariy stressed that the more you give people, the more you receive.  “If you have a good heart then immediately people group around you.  They can feel it – especially women.  In Ukraine we were used to the fact that everyone came to the pastor.  There it is otherwise: you have to go to the park, gather people and encourage them.  At first I gathered 5-10 people, and later these people began to be missionaries and encouraged others to come to the church, to God,” related the hiermonk.

Rev. Taras Halavay from Mantova (Italy) said that in Italy the parishioners have to beseech through prayer. “God leads people to Church in many ways.  We have to pray that God converts them and saves them.  My parish essentially started with two people – two women, two Oksanas.  I began to pray more for these people, places, environment, asking God that He would touch more all Ukrainians: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants…   And everything began to turn for the better,” said Rev.Taras.  He emphasized the importance of forming prayer groups which are “the heart of the parish.”

UGCC Department of Information

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