Tens of thousands of people join the Pontifical Divine Liturgy in Lviv (Sykhiv) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Blessed John Paul II’s visit to Ukraine

Tuesday, 28 June 2011, 22:41
On June 26 the Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, presided at the Pontifical Divine Liturgy in the church of the Nativity of Theotokos in Lviv on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s visit to Ukraine. Concelebrating with the UGCC Primate were: Most Rev. Ihor (Vozniak) – Archbishop of Lviv, Archbishop Mykola Eterovych – Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops of Catholic Church, Bishop Petro (Stasiuk) – Eparch for Ukrainians in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, Bishop Vasylij (Ivasiuk) – Exarch of Odessa-Crimea. Numerous seminarians, religious and more than 50 priests were also participating in the Liturgy.
On June 26 the Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, presided at the Pontifical Divine Liturgy in the church of the Nativity of Theotokos in Lviv on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Blessed John Paul II’s visit to Ukraine. Concelebrating with the UGCC Primate were: Most Rev. Ihor (Vozniak) – Archbishop of Lviv, Archbishop Mykola Eterovych – Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops of Catholic Church, Bishop Petro (Stasiuk) – Eparch for Ukrainians in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, Bishop Vasylij (Ivasiuk) – Exarch of Odessa-Crimea. Numerous seminarians, religious and more than 50 priests were also participating in the Liturgy. Exactly 10 years ago, near the church of the Nativity of the Thetokos (renamed thereafter John Paul II Square), a meeting took place between the Holy Father and the youth. More than 500,000 people joined in that event. And 10 years later, on the same day, by some estimates around 40,000 faithful came to participate in the Pontifical Divine Liturgy commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Pope’s visit to Ukraine. 10 years ago Blessed John Paul II also beatified 28 martyrs of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.   In his sermon, His Beatitude Sviatoslav recalled John Paul II’s meeting with the youth, how the Holy Father during heavy summer rain sang a song: “It’s raining, children are growing”. The UGCC Primate pointed out that during his visit, John Paul II talked about freedom. “True freedom comes when we get closer to God, when we choose Him, when we are following the path of Ten God’s Commandments. Talking about that path as the development of civilization, John Paul II told all of us then that true civilization consists not only in economical advance, but foremost in human, moral and spiritual growth” – remarked His Beatitude Sviatoslav.   Granting to the UGCC Blessed Martyrs, John Paul II provided us with a guide, with an example which we must follow. Then, during the beatification ceremony, he told us that “martyrdom is the supreme way of serving God and Church”. Besides that, the Head of the UGCC mentioned that during the Holy Father’s visit to Lviv, a number of crimes in the city decreased. “Nobody wanted to commit evil, because everybody felt that God’s great power radiated from the Pontiff, a successor of the Apostle St. Peter”.   “We thank God for the gift of that visit, for the gift of martyrdom for our Church. We thank Him that our Church is growing and is in the process of development. We ask the Lord to help us follow firmly together the path indicated to us by Blessed Pope John Paul II” – His Beatitude Sviatoslav said at the conclusion of the Liturgy.   After the Liturgy, Archbishop Mykola Eterovych recalled the Pope’s meeting with the youth taking place on this very place. “When with his word and prayer he made the sun come out, casting away dark clouds and rain, as a sign that after a storm a better future for the youth will come. Among 1345 blessed and Saints canonized by John Paul II, there are many Ukrainians” – noted Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops of Catholic Church, Archbishop Mykola in his words.   Sofia Yatsiv for the UGCC Department of Information  
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