REV. ROMAN DANYLAK

THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CANADA

(The following address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Roman Danylak - now Bishop in Toronto - on July 2, 1992, at the Seventeenth National Congress of Ukrainian Catholic Council of Canada held in Westin Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The address was delivered in Ukrainian. The following English translation is provided to facilitate its access to those who did not have opportunity to learn the Ukrainian language and those outside the Ukrainian community who are interested in the topic of this address")

The Pioneers

    Three waves of immigrants from Ukraine flooded to Canada and the countries of the western hemisphere, in the period between 1920 and 1960, following the initial trickle of economic refugees, led by Eleniak and Pylypiw towards the end of the nineteenth century. They fled economic, social, political, and religious persecution, and the ravages of two world wars, three deliberate famines orchestrated by Stalin and the functionaries of a dying atheist communist regime. They came searching for bread, for freedom. The first pioneers to Canada and to the other host countries of the eastern hemisphere, soon began to experience the deeper need: the need to relate to their God in a language they understood, to pray and to offer sacrifice to him according to the millennary customs and traditions of their forefathers in Ukraine. The first pioneers settled on the Canadian prairies. Later arrivals who came to Canada from the Pennsylvania mines, began to settle in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

    Without bishops and priests, they soon became prey to the proselytism of Protestant and Russian Orthodox groups already active in Canada and the U.S.A. It was the Redemptorist missionaries among the French Canadians in western Canada who first understood the plight of these men and women in sheepskin coats, and extended a helping hand to them. They brought this plight to the awareness of Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky and the Holy See. Metropolitan Andrew responded in sending the first missionaries to minister to the growing waves of immigrants: the first Basilian priests and brothers and the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, who established their centre in Mundare. A few itinerant priests from the U.S.A. began to visit the communities in eastern Canada, Toronto, Brantford and Montreal. The call was one. The people wanted their own priests to offer the Divine Liturgy, to pray with them, and to proclaim the word of God in their tongue, and according to the customs of their homeland.

    Shortly after the arrival of these same pioneer religious we witness the potential tension that would make itself more marked in the ensuing decades. Sister Taida, one of the original four sisters, that had come to Canada from Ukraine, was herself a Ukrainian born of German parentage of families that had settled in Ukraine. In the few years that God had given her to work among these emigres and their families, many already born in this new country, understood that their destiny lay in their new land. (cf. Sr. Claudia Popowich, To Serve is to Love, pp.34-42) The immigrants were intent on following their own way. And through the decades, as the pioneers established deeper roots in this new homeland, as their sons and daughters were born in this land, new loyalties, new sentiments made themselves felt - an attachment to this new land, and the following of its ways. Succeeding waves of new immigrations followed to renew and strengthen the communities of the first pioneer farmers, renewing the bonds with the mother country. But the same centrifugal forces continued to manifest themselves among those born on this soil, and in their children. Their loyalties were not always the same. We continue to experience this tension and polarisation to the present day. This has been the history and destiny of all emigre groups from the beginning of time. This is the reality of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada.

    This phenomenon is not unique to Ukrainians or to the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was born of the radical nationalist movement of the Association of the Ukrainian independents (Ukrainski Samostinyky) among the immigrants from Galicia at the beginning of the century. The separatist and radical nationalists in the community and in the Church entered into open conflict with Bishop Nicetas Budka and the Ukrainian Catholic clergy, accusing them of latinisations. Yet this same autocephalous Orthodox Church that was born out of national sentiments would itself soon experience similar tensions and problems. Each new generation of immigrants and of those born in Canada assumed new and different specific identities that perpetuated themselves for a generation, then only to regress as a socio-cultural and church reality, ultimately destined to disappear into the annals of history.

    The first economic emigres came from Austrian Galicia, the Ruthenians. They were followed by a strong wave of Ukrainian monarchists, the hetmantsi. In the later 1920's, a new wave of political refugees fleeing Polish repression when western Ukrainian was handed over to the reconstituted Polish state by France and England at Versailles came in thousands to Canada. This wave of immigrants was fired by strong Ukrainian national and political sentiments of men and women who had struggled for Ukrainian independence. They formed their own national and cultural organisations.

    The 1930's saw a new wave of economic immigrants. Following World War II, new refugees fled to Canada from German nazi and Soviet communist persecution. In the 1960'a and 70's a trickle of Ukrainians came from Poland and Yugoslavia, each with a very definite specific particular characteristics. The only thing that united them was their awareness of their Ukrainian origins, and among the Catholics, their allegiance to the Ukrainian Catholic rite. And finally in our own times, the political and economic refugees of the dissolution of the Soviet communist and atheist empire. Each group came with its own particular loyalties, its expectations of the older host Ukrainian Canadian communities, and their particular attachments to the cultural forms and awareness of their countries of their origins, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Poland.

Change Begins

    The earlier and older settled Ukrainian communities had by now established their own particular traditions and loyalties. The new-comers would be viewed as a threat by the older community. Epithets would be coined and exchanged. This affected the changing face of the Ukrainian Canadian community and church in Canada. Each new generation sought to hold on to that form of social, cultural and religious life, which they had received from their own parents, domesticated by their own Canadian experience, with the inevitable sentiments of resentment to the later comers. These latter would come with renewed loyalties to the mother land, the 'old world' values and traditions.

    Fr. Semchuk, a pioneer in organising the life and activity of Ukrainian Catholic laity, and the founder of the Brotherhood of Ukrainian Catholics, attempted an original synthesis of these tensions and dialectic: Catholic faith, Ukrainian culture, Canadian citizenship. This has been the theme for discussion and dialogue for the past three national congresses. It is to this issue that Metropolitan Maxime Hermaniuk, addressed himself in his reflections at the Saskatoon Congress on June 28, 1986. (The Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukrainian Culture, Winnipeg, 1992). Metropolitan Hermaniuk, a father of Vatican Council II and a leading theologian, pursuing the new thinking of the Council and of the recent popes, defined the theological principles of the identity of the particular churches within the universal Catholic Church, with particular reference to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, as a development of the very mystery of the Incarnation or enfleshment of the Word of God in human history. This mystery of God becoming flesh in the social and historical milieu of Israel in the Old Covenant, continues in the theandric mystery of the Church. The one and immutable doctrine of Christ proclaimed to all the nations would transform and regenerate every culture. The Gospel was destined to become enfleshed in every culture to the end of time and to the ends of the world. Quoting Pope John Paul II, the Metropolitan affirmed that as culture encompasses the fullness of life of any nation, Christ, by assuming a human nature, became incarnated into culture.' He then applied these principles to the particular Ukrainian Church, and lastly to the growth and expansion of this Ukrainian Catholic Church into the lands of the diaspora, to Canada. The Metropolitan addressed himself to the question of the social and church structures of Ukrainians in Canada and the faith expression of their Ukrainian heritage in the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada. There is no question of the validity of these principles applied to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Church. Questions arise when Ukrainians are transplanted to other milieus.

    In addressing ourselves to these issues in light of the tensions I have described earlier, we must continue to develop our thinking as it applies to the Ukrainian Church in the light of life, sociology and theology. What were the issues that manifested themselves in and divided the different generations?

Dividing Issues

    Originally, the loss of a working knowledge of Ukrainian in the third generation, with the resultant need for English in the Church if the third generation were to be retained. The celebration of Christmas and Easter according to the Gregorian calendar, the extended use of English in the Liturgy, the adoption of cultural expressions of their Canadian milieu. And with each third generation of Ukrainian Canadians, diminishing loyalties to the memory of their grandparents and parents, replaced by a new-found loyalty to their new homeland, Canada. The sociological studies of Prof. Isayiv have established the basic patters of cultural alienation and assimilation. Prof. Isayiv has studied the generational patterns of different ethnic groups and the retention of their ancestral and religious cultures in a Canadian milieu. Seventy-five percent of the immigrants themselves retain their social and religious identity in the new country. The second generation falls to thirty percent; and seventeen percent remain loyal to the traditions of their forefathers in the third generation. Other studies among Italian immigrants, Jews and blacks in the United States reveal a renewed interest in their roots in successive generations. But the purpose of my inquiry is not a sociological study of patterns, but a reflection of the Church on its own mission and identity. Who and what are we? Who and what are we as the Ukrainian Catholic Church? What are or should be the ties that bind us to our roots, the country of our origins and the mother Church? Metropolitan Maxime speaks of spiritual and cultural roots and ties to a spiritual homeland.

    I have noted two trends in the early sixties on this continent. On the one hand there are the strong and most recent immigrant groups intent upon preserving the culture, language, customs, and calendar of the homeland and church. On the other, we have groups of priests aware of pastoral responsibilities to the younger generations, and laity expressing the conviction that their future lies in an adaptation of the ritual community to the new Canadian milieu, with the transformation of our Ukrainian Catholic Church into a Byzantine Canadian Church. There were precedents to this way of thinking. The Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches in the fifties and sixties tried to work with several proposed unions of eastern orthodox of varying backgrounds in an Orthodox Church of America. But it is imperative to note the subtle ploy of Constantinople and Moscow in this game, each intent upon establishing its own spheres of influence over these covert unions. And again to the south, our Ruthenian cousins in the United States embarked on this experiment of cultural assimilation in the fifties and sixties; and it seemed to many, because of their initial show of strength and resilience as a faith community, that theirs was the answer. The American Ruthenians, all originating from the Rusyn Church of the Carpathians, included byzantine Greek Catholics of Hungarian, Ukrainian and Ruthenian backgrounds. Supported by political groupings from the homeland, the different ethnic factions of the emigres, especially the Hungarians from the Carpathians jockeyed to establish their individual control over the other groups. The bishops and clergy were convinced that the only solution was to become Church, leaving behind all cultural,patriotic and national overtones and loyalties to their European brothers. It seemed that they were right; for statistically the American Ruthenian Church prided itself on the steady adherence and loyalty of the faithful to their Church. They had combined Catholic faith, their Ruthenian ecclesiastical traditions and the American melting pot. They did not experience initially a need for their Ruthenian (Ukrainian) culture. Some of our Ukrainian Canadian parishes sought to imitate this model, until they began to experience within their own ranks what the Ruthenians discovered in the 1970's in the U.S.A.: the mass exodus of their younger faithful to the American Catholic Church of the Roman rite, or the other Christian churches; and in this last decade, following the wider pattern, a loss of their Christian faith. Up to 1970 the chancery offices would receive hundreds of requests for changes of rite from Ruthenian to Roman; and then of a sudden these numbers leaped to thousands annually. The membership of the Byzantine Catholic Churches began to diminish. They were not renewed by fresh emigrations from the Carpathian eparchies. It was then that the bishops and clergy of the U.S.A. learned that people do not live in an ecclesiastical vacuum. Some of the more active and younger priests began to tap into disaffected Roman Catholics, welcoming them into their parishes, and extending a warm welcome to any and all who found spiritual solace in this new Byzantine American spirituality. But this was not universally accepted by the majority of pastors and many of the faithful nor by the bishops. Nor was it welcomed by the Roman clergy and bishops. Consciously or unconsciously, through these years the faithful had retained some form of identification with their homelands, and it was only those that experienced this, and wanted to discover something of their roots, that remained loyal to the American Ruthenian Church.

    The same thing happened in Canada. The second generation Ukrainian Canadians, though very much Canadian, and intent on being Canadians, still experienced the attachments instilled in them by their immigrant parents to some of the religious and cultural values of Ukraine; which they thought they could transmit to their children. To their surprise, and that of the clergy, their children began exiting their Church as they attained adulthood, married and entered the mainstream of the Canadian church of the Roman rite, joined Protestant churches, or drifted away completely from the practise of their faith.

    It was only in the late seventies that we began to witness an attempt on the part of some of the clergy to foster the national and cultural heritage of their ancestors in some minimal form. They discovered that rite, or ecclesiastical traditions, is not an independent value in is own right. Rite forms a part of the total human heritage or patrimony, the spiritual culture that we have inherited from our past, through which we express both our religious faith and our cultural heritage.

    To these I must add another phenomenon. For many, for whom the religious faith of their ancestors has become a museum curio, a new generation of Ukrainian Canadians would rediscover the treasures of the Ukrainian pioneers not as expressions of a living faith in a living God, but as elements of history and culture, quaint curios that had a Ukrainian flavour, but that were totally devoid of religious substance. This generation had lost its faith. They had become a part of the secular humanist milieu. Their forefathers had come to this country out of necessity. They had built their own churches and communities that they might worship the living God in a language and form that were intelligible to them. Their grandchildren and great grandchildren in turn had now become fashionable collectors and curators of galleries and museums.

Our Future

    What is our future? Do the ancient forms of faith and worship retain a validity for new generations? Or are these forms, as everything in human life, destined to the dusty archives of history? Or worse still, have we become so sophisticated that these forms have become mere, dry shells of a faith that was, and is no more, borne in the empty husks of a people that no longer believe? What is our identity, our mission and future as the Ukrainian Catholics? What is the future of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada? Or in the other countries of the Ukrainian diaspora?

    Past history presents two options: assimilation into the Canadian milieu, and this eventually is the destiny of all immigrant groups, that become total and integral parts of the Catholic faith community in the local Church; and the second, the retention of our specific identity and mission. What is that? Why have we managed to subsist for an entire century as the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, when so many other religious and ethnic groups have long ago submerged? Our understanding or groping with the basic issues involved expressed itself in sociological terms even in the Church, in human terms. Was it the result of a successful formula that merged Catholic faith, Ukrainian culture and Canadian citizenship? Hardly. We have but to recall the truth of statistics. In the second generation only thirty-five percent remained in the Church or community of their parents; and this falls to seventeen percent by the third generation,

    Metropolitan Hermaniuk examined these problems from a religious and theological perspective, which is very valid for the natural milieu of Ukrainians, Ukraine. Seeking to understand the rationale of emigre groups in the divine scheme of things we must also look for a theological rationale. We find in history another parallel to our quest in the sacred history of Israel, the destiny of Israel, the people of God of the covenant of God through Abraham and Moses. Ukrainians are not accustomed to thinking in these terms. But this parallel is significant because it proceeds not from the national aspirations and struggles of the Jews, but in terms of what God had to tell them and us about their messianic destiny, and how God led them by His Divine Providence to the fulfillment of their Messianic mission. The children of Abraham, the children of promise, were called to become the people of God in a special way. It was from them that the Messiah was to come. It was to them that the Messiah came. They who were called to become the sacred symbol or type of the people of God, the Church. Although in their own history their prophets accuse them of infidelity to God - and vast numbers of contemporary Jews have embraced atheism -God continued to work out his salvific plan for them and all mankind, notwithstanding them. We begin to understand how God deals with people and His plans for people in the Word of God, the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.

God Does Not Forget His People

    The prophet Isaiah describes the plight of Israel in the 8th century B. C. Israel had fallen into captivity. The Israelites had been bond slaves in Egypt. Moses had led them to the promised land, and they became a nation among other nations. When they succumbed to the pagan rituals and beliefs of their pagan neighbours, to idol worship and their heathen ways, refusing to submit to God's plan, they were scattered among the nations. But in all of this, God preserved a remnant that He might rebuild a new Israel in the promised land. The masses of Jews were assimilated by the Assyrians and Syrians, by the Medes and Chaldeans, and fell out of the mainstream of Jewish history. God however remained faithful to His promise. He preserved this remnant that they might become the seed of a new people.

    Biblical symbolism portrays Assyria and Egypt as nations of darkness, oppressors, the figures of paganism and of the anti-God. The prophets heaped imprecations upon these pagan lands. Yet through all of this God gives us to understand that Egypt and Assyria, though residing in darkness, are also called to salvation. They are in God's plan of salvation. The prophet Isaiah sees into the distant future, to the consummation of history, to the Day of the Lord. The incursions of the great powers, Egypt and Assyria against Israel were the just punishment for the infidelity of Israel to God's ordinances. They became instruments of Divine justice. God does not forget his people. He hears their laments. His punishing hand falls heavily upon Egypt and Assyria in retribution for their injustices against Israel. God shall heal His people Israel, and He shall restore it to his land. But He will also remember His people Egypt and all the nations of the world, for they are His people. His creation.

    'On that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the land of Egypt, and a sacred pillar to the Lord near the boundary. It shall be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt, when they cry out to the Lord against their oppressors, and he sends them a saviour to defend and deliver them. The Lord shall make himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day; they shall offer sacrifices and oblations, and fulfill the vows they make to the Lord. Although the Lord shall smite Egypt severely, he shall heal them; they shall turn to the Lord and he shall be won over and heal them. On that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria; the Assyrians shall enter Egypt, and the Egyptians enter Assyria, and Egypt shall serve Assyria. On that day Israel shall be a third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, when the Lord of hosts blesses it: "Blessed be my people Egypt, and the work of my hands Assyria, and my inheritance, Israel.'(Isaiah, 19,19-25)

    Assyria and Egypt are symbols of the kingdom of darkness, of sin and damnation. In the new covenant this kingdom is named the new Babylon, Rome, which St. Peter wins to Christ. The Book of Revelations identifies them as the red dragon and the black beast, symbols of atheist communism and secular humanism, that is intent on dethroning God from the hearts of men. They have become the organised forces that are opposed to everything of God and the order of grace. The names have changed, the reality remains: Adam, the old man, tempted by Satan, rearing his head in pride and rebellion against God. He shall not serve; man is intent on building the city of man, the new towers of Babel to a human heaven. And notwithstanding our self-adulation in being a Christian people, we are only now beginning to become aware of the spiritual havoc our people have been exposed to not only in affluence of North America, but even in the homeland. And the enemy continues to sow his cockle and thistle amidst a people that hunger for truth and for God, after the vacuum of atheist materialism. The unfortunate thing is that the Catholic Church in Ukraine experiences its own internal divisions, as well as having to cope with a new brand of autocephalous Orthodoxy, the Russian brand of Orthodoxy, the scheming of party hacks that are still in authority, the spread of neo-paganism (Runvira), and the mystic sects from the east together with the plethora of Christian and other sectarian evangelists from the west.

    Israel is a type of the new people of God, the Church, which the Lord sends to the world. Through the centuries the Church puts on the vests of different cultures and peoples, transforming that which is legitimately human into a sign of the divine presence, as the nations become a new and redeemed people.. Men and states have plans, then and now. So does God. We are too prone to interpret all events in secular humanistic terms. We find an example in the recent events in the history of Ukraine. The coming out of the catacombs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the casting off the shackles of a century of imprisonment of the satellites and subjugated states of the former Soviet Union, was achieved with so little bloodshed. How few see in this the finger of God, and the intervention of the Mother of God in Hrushiw, the beginning of the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies of Fatima. God remains the Lord of history, not only as the sovereign judge and master, but also in that He has a plan for each nation, each people and each individual. He has a plan for His Church. He has a plan for Ukraine, and for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada.

The Ukrainian Church

    What is the Ukrainian Church? She has inherited from the byzantine world a form of Christianity that was cast in the crucibles of early Christianity. Our traditions, our forms of worship, are faith were seeded and reaped in the desert of faith by the desert Fathers. They remain lasting testimonies, to use the words of Metropolitan Sheptytsky, of evangelical and apostolic Christianity, the fruit of the quest and prayer of the great fathers of the Church. The words of Vatican II are a glimmering image of that immense Christian reality which is our heritage. We have enriched it with our own cultural expressions, washed and sanctified in the blood of centuries of martyrdom. They remain as a valid testimony to the Assyria and Egypt of today, the new systems of secularism, paganism, materialism, and of the divine response in the living Word of God. Its forms of prayer, the spirituality of the Church fathers, the living prayer of the Christian community, are valid not only as an expression of Christian, but valid as a testimony to the modem world, that has lost its soul, that has lost its sense of direction.

    Although language, culture, celebration of feast days were some of the contentious issues in past decades in Canada, we are beginning to understand the witness to which God is calling us. As heirs to the Christian culture of early Christianity, we are being called to give Christian witness in a new age, where the issues are the old sins with new labels: heresies and errors with new names: secular humanism, modernism, radical feminism, inclusive language, the tyranny of a one world government and world domination. As in the past, new pseudo prophets of the new age are trumpeting their personal brands of salvation. It is clear that the events of this century give us an insight into God's intent for our people and our Church, which go beyond mere statistical and political analysis.

    Vatican Council II, in addressing itself to the Eastern Churches acknowledged the unique contribution of these Churches not only to the past history of the Church, but as repositories of the evangelical and apostolic tradition, as valid channels of grace and the Christian life today. The Church, in pursuing the destinies of individual churches and peoples in her pastoral wisdom has always sought to provide emigres with a pastoral care that best responded to the spiritual needs of the people. It has established hierarchies for eastern churches in lands that received later waves of immigrants from their homelands. It pursued the same policy with regard to faithful of the Roman rites settling in the east. And when many local hierarchies received these displaced groups, with a very narrow understanding, the Roman Pontiffs underlined not only their own commitment to these peoples, but understanding the importance of the variety of cultures and churches encouraged the peoples to maintain the precious treasures that they had brought with them to far off lands. Pope John Paul II made this patently clear in his pastoral visits across the nations of the globe. His exhortations to Ukrainian Catholics in the U.S.A., to Canada, his pastoral letters to the Ukrainian Catholic Church on occasion our millennium reveal not only his heartfelt stance to our Church, but even more his solicitous desire that we maintain our religious cultures. In the last fours years he has expended himself considerably in addressing himself to the ancient Christian cultures of Europe, seeking to shore up this millennary spiritual heritage of the nations of Europe, east and west and underlining their potential contribution to the future of the Church. Not only as a Polish Pope addressing himself to his co-nationals, but more perhaps than any other Pontiff in the past he has expressed his understanding and underlined the importance of the variety of human cultures that had been sanctified and transformed by the message of the Gospel, especially at this critical juncture in human history when everything seems to swallowed in the morass of secular materialist humanism. The Holy Father wants to underline the importance of this heritage for the mission of the Church. He underlined this in a very special way in proclaiming Ss. Cyril and Methodius heavenly co-patrons of Europe along with Saint Benedict. And in his address to those groups in the Americas that trace their origin to these European cultures he exhorted the peoples of the new world to remember and to cultivate the heritage of their ancestors.

    Reflecting upon the history of our Church in Canada as well as upon the mission that the Church and Divine Providence have assigned to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, it seems to me that our first role is to become spokesman before the free world and the entire globe, of a Church and a people that had been deprived of their freedom for several decades in this century, as the Israelites who were carried off for seventy years into the bondage of Babylon, a remnant of which was brought back to their homeland to build a new Israel. We cannot disengage ourselves from our ties to the homeland. It was the need and the heartfelt desire to be able to pray in their own tongue that saved our pioneer forefathers from total assimilation. The new generations born in this country, who have lost ties with with their roots, remind us of who we are as Church. As Church we are called to proclaim the Gospel in season and out of season to all. It is a fact of life that new generations lose a working knowledge of their ancestral language; and they have the right to be able to worship and to pray in the Church of their forefathers, and to receive the Gospel message. Our Church must continue to serve the generations that were born here, that are very much a part of Canada. But at the same time these same generations must remain open to God's wider plan for their Church. If we are to preserve our identity as a Ukrainian Catholic Church we must receive new transfusions of life from new immigrations. We must remain open to life itself. The Church has a mission to every individual man and woman; but it addresses this message to them as a community or a Church with a name, the Ukrainian Catholic Church. It may be that the goals of the community will not coincide or continue to respond to the individual expectations of single members. This is why many will leave their ancestral churches. Each of us tends to view reality from his or her personal perspective, which may or may not respond to the perception of the community. We either conform to the majority view, or try to change it to meet our perceptions or opt out of such a community and its demands on us. But the Church or community also has its specific mission.

    The Ukrainian Catholic Church as Church must serve all the needs of all its faithful, those who were born in it; those who joined it through marriage or choice. It is called to give witness to the universality and variety of the universal Church to our brothers and sisters of other rites. It is called to give Catholic witness to our Orthodox and our other Christian brethren. But if it is to remain Ukrainian, aware of its ties its spiritual motherland; if it is to give witness to the Church in Ukraine, if we are to serve our people and our Church in Ukraine, our Church must renew its Ukrainian identity through new transfusions of life from the homeland. Experiencing and expressing this sense of Christian charity and brotherhood, the Ukrainian Church in Canada must embark on new and active programs not only of assistance to the Church in Ukraine, but also to those from Ukraine seeking to make their home in Canada. We must develop new programs to assist those who wish to emigrate; to overcome the political difficulties and opposition both in Canada and in Ukraine. Nor, as some claim, need we fear a brain drain that will weaken Ukraine itself. Ukraine cannot provide for the needs of all its citizens. Threats to life and security, the survival of children threatened by the ecological disasters, and everything that forces people to leave their homelands over the centuries, are realities that loom before our people. Emigration has always been a response, an answer to problems at home. Receiving these brother emigres who have given up everything to save their children, their families, we must extend our helping hand to integrate them into our society, and above all to show them the living faith and the living charity of Christ of which our brothers and sisters were deprived for decades. It will be through a strong Ukrainian Catholic Church and Ukrainian community that we will continue to be able to help our people there, and to give the witness of Christ, who continues to become incarnate in His people among all the nations. Christ, enfleshed in our people and in our Church, seeks to reach out to the world and to the Church, according to that unique gift which is ours.

Reprinted from FOCUS Magazine, No. 3 - June 1995
Non Periodical Publication of the Ukrainian Catholic Council of Canada
Winnipeg - Edmonton, Canada 


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