VIDEO: Sister Emily Schietzsch’s Final Vows and Divine Liturgy.

Sister Servant fulfils childhood dream with final vows

Source: Grandin Media
By Kyle Greenham

Emily during an early Easter egg hunt.

It has been 20 years since the seeds of sisterhood were first planted in Emily Schietzsch.

Reading through a book on the lives of the saints, 12-year-old Emily discovered a world of courageous martyrs, rigorous ascetics, and the pious devotion of consecrated virgins. From that moment her faith was set afire; she desired a life of total devotion to God.

Now at 32, Sister Emily is preparing to profess the final vows that will permanently confirm her as a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate.

“It’s starting to sink in – I’ll be a Sister forever,” said Schietzsch, who will be the youngest Sister Servant in all of Canada.

“I know that it won’t always be easy, I know I will struggle at times, but I really do want to be God’s forever.”

The distinctive blue veil of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Alan Schietzsch, Grandin Media

Sister Emily is scheduled to profess her final vows on Aug. 10 at the parish of her childhood — St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in downtown Edmonton. It’s also the parish where she was first introduced to the religious community she would one day join.

The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI) are a Ukrainian order founded in 1882, and their presence in Edmonton dates back to 1902. It was their charism of service — in parishes, nursery homes, hospitals, schools and social services —that particularly drew Schietzsch into their mission.

“When I started thinking more seriously about being a sister, I started researching a bunch of communities, but none of them captured my heart quite in the way the Sisters Servants did,” she said. “There was something about being balanced between prayer and service that really captured me. The contemplative tradition didn’t quite speak to me as much; I wanted to be out and among the people serving and helping wherever the need was the greatest.”

In those early teen years Schietzsch grew into a more intimate prayer life and personal relationship with God. As that deeper spiritual life was blossoming, her discovery of the lives of the saints brought her faith to a new level.

“As I got to know God, I wanted to do more for Him,” she said. “Reading the lives of these people who gave up everything for God, I really became enamoured by that.”

“The saints that really stood out to me were the young female martyrs and other women of the early Church that really went against the grain of the society they were living in. Because in the Church today we too have to go against the grain to be persons of faith. To live your faith, you have to have the courage and the vigour that these people did.”

A ski instructor before university, Sister Emily enjoys some time with her brother Andrew during a family trip to the Rockies.

“And I knew that being a sister was a far more viable idea than being a martyr,” she added with a laugh.

By age 14, Schietzsch was already feeling certain that God was calling her to sisterhood. Even so, she decided to continue her discernment past high school graduation. She earned a degree in psychology at the University of Alberta and spent a year working with adults with special needs.

But the vision of a life in the blue habit of the Sisters Servants never left her mind, and in 2010, at age 23, she entered the SSMI formation house in Winnipeg for her postulancy and novitiate.

 

Her decision surprised many of her peers. Some friends were supportive, some who were not religious were shocked and dismayed, and others were worried she was being naïve in taking such a step at a young age. But the support of her parents never waned.

“When I was a shy teenager, my mom would arrange for me to go talk to the sisters at our parish and ask questions,” she said. “My dad would always emphasize ‘If you’re happy, I’m happy. I want what’s best for you.’”

With nine years devoted to sisterhood, it has been a long journey of discernment, prayer and toil. Along with her years of study, daily prayer and meditation, she has worked with the sisters across British Columbia and in Winnipeg and Toronto.

 

Emily Schietzsch in France during a pilgrimage to Europe before entering her postulancy.

She has served in Winnipeg’s Holy Family Nursing Home, done inner-city ministry with the Yorkton Redemptorists, studied and worked with special needs adults, and has helped archive the sisters’ history at their provincial home in Toronto.

Schietzsch currently serves as an education assistant at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Winnipeg, the last in Canada still run by the Sisters Servants.

Final vows typically come five years after a Sister Servant makes her first vows, but Schietzsch requested an additional sixth year to discern further and pray over her calling. At the time, she was struggling to discern whether she measured up to a life permanently and forever devoted to serving God.

“I think my greatest battles, as they often are, are internal battles,” she said. “There’s always been the fear of ‘Am I enough for God?’ The things, the personality, and everything that goes along with me — is it enough to do this and live this life for God?

“I know God is all loving, all forgiving, and He accepts me as I am even when I don’t accept myself. But there’s one thing with saying that and another thing with actually experiencing and knowing that. I needed that extra time to pray over these doubts and ask God if these thoughts were true.”

Sister Emily (centre) serving at a summer camp near Gimli, Manitoba.

That additional time in prayer only reassured her. She came to realize that what mattered most was knowing that God called her to religious life, not whether she felt perfect enough for it.

“That love and desire I had to serve God when I was 12 is still there; it’s maybe a less teenaged version of it, but it’s still there,” she said.

“And I know that God doesn’t call me to be ready, God calls me to come. Jesus said to his disciples ‘Come to me,’ and he says the same to all of us. Even with all of the baggage, all of the gifted and not so gifted parts of myself, He loves and accepts me just as I am.”

She sees her final vows as a reciprocation of that unwavering love:

As the youngest sister in her religious community, Schietzsch knows the reality of declining vocations — particularly in highly secularized countries like Canada. While she may be an anomaly among her age group, she firmly believes that many young people are still being called to religious life.

Sister Emily during her First Vows, with Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, leader of Canada’s Ukrainian Catholics.

“That desire for truth, life and God is always there in all people,” she said. “It’s just when there’s so many things going on, so many distractions … it’s difficult to find God in this world of turmoil. People have so many options and so many things at their fingertips today, it’s overwhelming. Whether you’re involved with the Church or not, with so many possibilities it’s hard to see God in anything.”

Her advice to anyone trying to discern God’s will in their lives is not only to find time for silence and contemplation outside the hustle of modern life, but also to seek relationships with others that go beyond the artificial and often-isolating world of social media.

“There’s always that barrier in the online world. Now people spend more time with friends online than in person, and it can take away opportunity to really know people heart-to-heart,” said Schietzsch.

 

“That makes things difficult when it comes to experiencing God too. God cannot be understood through saying ‘Alexa, teach me about God.’ You need that heart-to-heart connection. If you don’t spend that time in prayer, you will never know when God speaks. But if you keep your faith, keep looking and keep knocking, God will find a way.”

She is looking forward to returning to her roots and celebrating her final vows in the church of her childhood.

Sister Emily during her daily work as an education assistant at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Winnipeg.

“It’s quite unique in this day and age to have a celebration of final vows. It’s not something people see all the time,” she said. “I want to celebrate this not just with my sisters, but with my whole church family. The best way to do that is in the parish where I grew up.”

Sister Servant fulfils childhood dream with final vows

Source: Grandin Media
By Kyle Greenham

Emily during an early Easter egg hunt.

It has been 20 years since the seeds of sisterhood were first planted in Emily Schietzsch.

Reading through a book on the lives of the saints, 12-year-old Emily discovered a world of courageous martyrs, rigorous ascetics, and the pious devotion of consecrated virgins. From that moment her faith was set afire; she desired a life of total devotion to God.

Now at 32, Sister Emily is preparing to profess the final vows that will permanently confirm her as a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate.

“It’s starting to sink in – I’ll be a Sister forever,” said Schietzsch, who will be the youngest Sister Servant in all of Canada.

“I know that it won’t always be easy, I know I will struggle at times, but I really do want to be God’s forever.”

The distinctive blue veil of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Alan Schietzsch, Grandin Media

Sister Emily is scheduled to profess her final vows on Aug. 10 at the parish of her childhood — St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in downtown Edmonton. It’s also the parish where she was first introduced to the religious community she would one day join.

The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI) are a Ukrainian order founded in 1882, and their presence in Edmonton dates back to 1902. It was their charism of service — in parishes, nursery homes, hospitals, schools and social services —that particularly drew Schietzsch into their mission.

“When I started thinking more seriously about being a sister, I started researching a bunch of communities, but none of them captured my heart quite in the way the Sisters Servants did,” she said. “There was something about being balanced between prayer and service that really captured me. The contemplative tradition didn’t quite speak to me as much; I wanted to be out and among the people serving and helping wherever the need was the greatest.”

In those early teen years Schietzsch grew into a more intimate prayer life and personal relationship with God. As that deeper spiritual life was blossoming, her discovery of the lives of the saints brought her faith to a new level.

“As I got to know God, I wanted to do more for Him,” she said. “Reading the lives of these people who gave up everything for God, I really became enamoured by that.”

“The saints that really stood out to me were the young female martyrs and other women of the early Church that really went against the grain of the society they were living in. Because in the Church today we too have to go against the grain to be persons of faith. To live your faith, you have to have the courage and the vigour that these people did.”

A ski instructor before university, Sister Emily enjoys some time with her brother Andrew during a family trip to the Rockies.

“And I knew that being a sister was a far more viable idea than being a martyr,” she added with a laugh.

By age 14, Schietzsch was already feeling certain that God was calling her to sisterhood. Even so, she decided to continue her discernment past high school graduation. She earned a degree in psychology at the University of Alberta and spent a year working with adults with special needs.

But the vision of a life in the blue habit of the Sisters Servants never left her mind, and in 2010, at age 23, she entered the SSMI formation house in Winnipeg for her postulancy and novitiate.

 

Her decision surprised many of her peers. Some friends were supportive, some who were not religious were shocked and dismayed, and others were worried she was being naïve in taking such a step at a young age. But the support of her parents never waned.

“When I was a shy teenager, my mom would arrange for me to go talk to the sisters at our parish and ask questions,” she said. “My dad would always emphasize ‘If you’re happy, I’m happy. I want what’s best for you.’”

With nine years devoted to sisterhood, it has been a long journey of discernment, prayer and toil. Along with her years of study, daily prayer and meditation, she has worked with the sisters across British Columbia and in Winnipeg and Toronto.

 

Emily Schietzsch in France during a pilgrimage to Europe before entering her postulancy.

She has served in Winnipeg’s Holy Family Nursing Home, done inner-city ministry with the Yorkton Redemptorists, studied and worked with special needs adults, and has helped archive the sisters’ history at their provincial home in Toronto.

Schietzsch currently serves as an education assistant at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Winnipeg, the last in Canada still run by the Sisters Servants.

Final vows typically come five years after a Sister Servant makes her first vows, but Schietzsch requested an additional sixth year to discern further and pray over her calling. At the time, she was struggling to discern whether she measured up to a life permanently and forever devoted to serving God.

“I think my greatest battles, as they often are, are internal battles,” she said. “There’s always been the fear of ‘Am I enough for God?’ The things, the personality, and everything that goes along with me — is it enough to do this and live this life for God?

“I know God is all loving, all forgiving, and He accepts me as I am even when I don’t accept myself. But there’s one thing with saying that and another thing with actually experiencing and knowing that. I needed that extra time to pray over these doubts and ask God if these thoughts were true.”

Sister Emily (centre) serving at a summer camp near Gimli, Manitoba.

That additional time in prayer only reassured her. She came to realize that what mattered most was knowing that God called her to religious life, not whether she felt perfect enough for it.

“That love and desire I had to serve God when I was 12 is still there; it’s maybe a less teenaged version of it, but it’s still there,” she said.

“And I know that God doesn’t call me to be ready, God calls me to come. Jesus said to his disciples ‘Come to me,’ and he says the same to all of us. Even with all of the baggage, all of the gifted and not so gifted parts of myself, He loves and accepts me just as I am.”

She sees her final vows as a reciprocation of that unwavering love:

As the youngest sister in her religious community, Schietzsch knows the reality of declining vocations — particularly in highly secularized countries like Canada. While she may be an anomaly among her age group, she firmly believes that many young people are still being called to religious life.

Sister Emily during her First Vows, with Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, leader of Canada’s Ukrainian Catholics.

“That desire for truth, life and God is always there in all people,” she said. “It’s just when there’s so many things going on, so many distractions … it’s difficult to find God in this world of turmoil. People have so many options and so many things at their fingertips today, it’s overwhelming. Whether you’re involved with the Church or not, with so many possibilities it’s hard to see God in anything.”

Her advice to anyone trying to discern God’s will in their lives is not only to find time for silence and contemplation outside the hustle of modern life, but also to seek relationships with others that go beyond the artificial and often-isolating world of social media.

“There’s always that barrier in the online world. Now people spend more time with friends online than in person, and it can take away opportunity to really know people heart-to-heart,” said Schietzsch.

 

“That makes things difficult when it comes to experiencing God too. God cannot be understood through saying ‘Alexa, teach me about God.’ You need that heart-to-heart connection. If you don’t spend that time in prayer, you will never know when God speaks. But if you keep your faith, keep looking and keep knocking, God will find a way.”

She is looking forward to returning to her roots and celebrating her final vows in the church of her childhood.

Sister Emily during her daily work as an education assistant at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Winnipeg.

“It’s quite unique in this day and age to have a celebration of final vows. It’s not something people see all the time,” she said. “I want to celebrate this not just with my sisters, but with my whole church family. The best way to do that is in the parish where I grew up.”

Sister Servant fulfils childhood dream with final vows

Source: Grandin Media
By Kyle Greenham

Emily during an early Easter egg hunt.

It has been 20 years since the seeds of sisterhood were first planted in Emily Schietzsch.

Reading through a book on the lives of the saints, 12-year-old Emily discovered a world of courageous martyrs, rigorous ascetics, and the pious devotion of consecrated virgins. From that moment her faith was set afire; she desired a life of total devotion to God.

Now at 32, Sister Emily is preparing to profess the final vows that will permanently confirm her as a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate.

“It’s starting to sink in – I’ll be a Sister forever,” said Schietzsch, who will be the youngest Sister Servant in all of Canada.

“I know that it won’t always be easy, I know I will struggle at times, but I really do want to be God’s forever.”

The distinctive blue veil of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Alan Schietzsch, Grandin Media

Sister Emily is scheduled to profess her final vows on Aug. 10 at the parish of her childhood — St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in downtown Edmonton. It’s also the parish where she was first introduced to the religious community she would one day join.

The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI) are a Ukrainian order founded in 1882, and their presence in Edmonton dates back to 1902. It was their charism of service — in parishes, nursery homes, hospitals, schools and social services —that particularly drew Schietzsch into their mission.

“When I started thinking more seriously about being a sister, I started researching a bunch of communities, but none of them captured my heart quite in the way the Sisters Servants did,” she said. “There was something about being balanced between prayer and service that really captured me. The contemplative tradition didn’t quite speak to me as much; I wanted to be out and among the people serving and helping wherever the need was the greatest.”

In those early teen years Schietzsch grew into a more intimate prayer life and personal relationship with God. As that deeper spiritual life was blossoming, her discovery of the lives of the saints brought her faith to a new level.

“As I got to know God, I wanted to do more for Him,” she said. “Reading the lives of these people who gave up everything for God, I really became enamoured by that.”

“The saints that really stood out to me were the young female martyrs and other women of the early Church that really went against the grain of the society they were living in. Because in the Church today we too have to go against the grain to be persons of faith. To live your faith, you have to have the courage and the vigour that these people did.”

A ski instructor before university, Sister Emily enjoys some time with her brother Andrew during a family trip to the Rockies.

“And I knew that being a sister was a far more viable idea than being a martyr,” she added with a laugh.

By age 14, Schietzsch was already feeling certain that God was calling her to sisterhood. Even so, she decided to continue her discernment past high school graduation. She earned a degree in psychology at the University of Alberta and spent a year working with adults with special needs.

But the vision of a life in the blue habit of the Sisters Servants never left her mind, and in 2010, at age 23, she entered the SSMI formation house in Winnipeg for her postulancy and novitiate.

 

Her decision surprised many of her peers. Some friends were supportive, some who were not religious were shocked and dismayed, and others were worried she was being naïve in taking such a step at a young age. But the support of her parents never waned.

“When I was a shy teenager, my mom would arrange for me to go talk to the sisters at our parish and ask questions,” she said. “My dad would always emphasize ‘If you’re happy, I’m happy. I want what’s best for you.’”

With nine years devoted to sisterhood, it has been a long journey of discernment, prayer and toil. Along with her years of study, daily prayer and meditation, she has worked with the sisters across British Columbia and in Winnipeg and Toronto.

 

Emily Schietzsch in France during a pilgrimage to Europe before entering her postulancy.

She has served in Winnipeg’s Holy Family Nursing Home, done inner-city ministry with the Yorkton Redemptorists, studied and worked with special needs adults, and has helped archive the sisters’ history at their provincial home in Toronto.

Schietzsch currently serves as an education assistant at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Winnipeg, the last in Canada still run by the Sisters Servants.

Final vows typically come five years after a Sister Servant makes her first vows, but Schietzsch requested an additional sixth year to discern further and pray over her calling. At the time, she was struggling to discern whether she measured up to a life permanently and forever devoted to serving God.

“I think my greatest battles, as they often are, are internal battles,” she said. “There’s always been the fear of ‘Am I enough for God?’ The things, the personality, and everything that goes along with me — is it enough to do this and live this life for God?

“I know God is all loving, all forgiving, and He accepts me as I am even when I don’t accept myself. But there’s one thing with saying that and another thing with actually experiencing and knowing that. I needed that extra time to pray over these doubts and ask God if these thoughts were true.”

Sister Emily (centre) serving at a summer camp near Gimli, Manitoba.

That additional time in prayer only reassured her. She came to realize that what mattered most was knowing that God called her to religious life, not whether she felt perfect enough for it.

“That love and desire I had to serve God when I was 12 is still there; it’s maybe a less teenaged version of it, but it’s still there,” she said.

“And I know that God doesn’t call me to be ready, God calls me to come. Jesus said to his disciples ‘Come to me,’ and he says the same to all of us. Even with all of the baggage, all of the gifted and not so gifted parts of myself, He loves and accepts me just as I am.”

She sees her final vows as a reciprocation of that unwavering love:

As the youngest sister in her religious community, Schietzsch knows the reality of declining vocations — particularly in highly secularized countries like Canada. While she may be an anomaly among her age group, she firmly believes that many young people are still being called to religious life.

Sister Emily during her First Vows, with Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, leader of Canada’s Ukrainian Catholics.

“That desire for truth, life and God is always there in all people,” she said. “It’s just when there’s so many things going on, so many distractions … it’s difficult to find God in this world of turmoil. People have so many options and so many things at their fingertips today, it’s overwhelming. Whether you’re involved with the Church or not, with so many possibilities it’s hard to see God in anything.”

Her advice to anyone trying to discern God’s will in their lives is not only to find time for silence and contemplation outside the hustle of modern life, but also to seek relationships with others that go beyond the artificial and often-isolating world of social media.

“There’s always that barrier in the online world. Now people spend more time with friends online than in person, and it can take away opportunity to really know people heart-to-heart,” said Schietzsch.

 

“That makes things difficult when it comes to experiencing God too. God cannot be understood through saying ‘Alexa, teach me about God.’ You need that heart-to-heart connection. If you don’t spend that time in prayer, you will never know when God speaks. But if you keep your faith, keep looking and keep knocking, God will find a way.”

She is looking forward to returning to her roots and celebrating her final vows in the church of her childhood.

Sister Emily during her daily work as an education assistant at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Winnipeg.

“It’s quite unique in this day and age to have a celebration of final vows. It’s not something people see all the time,” she said. “I want to celebrate this not just with my sisters, but with my whole church family. The best way to do that is in the parish where I grew up.”

Cantoring Course at St. Josaphat Cathedral (Oct 25-26)

The Eparchy of Edmonton invites you to participate in a Cantoring Course to be held at St. Josaphat Cathedral on Friday, October 25 (6:00-9:00 pm) and Saturday, October 26 (9:00 am- 4:00 pm, concluding with Vespers).

Topics include: the Divine Liturgy, 8 Resurrectional Tones, and various changeable parts for major feasts. Everything will be covered in English and Ukrainian (including transliteration).

More information will soon be available on the Eparchy of Edmonton website. 

Questions can be emailed to: [email protected]

Mission Days Guidebook: From the Ascension of our Lord to the Descent of the Holy Spirit 2019

Each year, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, as part of its 10 year spiritual renewal program “Vision 2020, The Place to encounter the Living Christ,” produces a Mission Days Guidebook:  From the Ascension of our Lord to the Descent of the Holy Spirit

These ten Mission Days are intended to help us discover and understand anew that our parish communities and families (domestic churches) are missionary in nature. From the feast of the Ascension to Pentecost, together with our entire parish community, let us pray that the Lord might renew our life in God by the grace and intercession of the Holy Spirit.

 

[gview file=”http://eeparchy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MISSION-DAYS-people-2018-english.pdf”]

[gview file=”http://eeparchy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MISSION-DAYS-2018-people-ukr-druk-final.pdf”]

Paschal Pastoral Letter of the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada 2019 (Eng/Ukr)

2019 PASTORAL LETTER
OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF CANADA
ON THE OCCASION
OF THE FEAST OF THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD

To the Very Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Religious Sisters and Brothers, Seminarians and Laity of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada:

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One day during this past month of March, many of us opened the newspaper and saw a disturbing headline: “City of Montreal to pull Crucifix from Council Chamber!” The article was distributed by the official agency, The Canadian Press, and as such was seen across Canada. The article explained that the city council had decided that after 80 years, it was no longer desirable to have the crucifix hang in the chambers of the city hall. This, the article pointed out, was part of the movement of secularism in the province of Quebec.

This news item was disturbing on its own, but its impact was particularly felt as it came during the time of the Lenten Fast, when Christians around the world were preparing themselves to mark the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Even though most city halls across Canada do not have a crucifix hanging on the wall, and likely never did, there was a certain comfort for Christians to know that in a province that had such a strong Catholic history, the respect and tradition of this important symbol of faith was still found in the heart of city life.

The crucifix, even in its simplest form, speaks eloquently of the great gift of Jesus, the Son of God for all humanity. It relays this message of salvation when it is worn around the neck. It relays this same message of salvation when it stands on the top of a church dome. It speaks not only of suffering and death, but at the same time of resurrection and eternal life.

In our churches we find a special place for the cross of Christ especially on Good Friday, near the symbolic grave that is set up in the heart of the church. The cross stands over the grave of Jesus and reminds us of his great sufferings.

On Easter Sunday morning we again find the empty cross in the heart of the church, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It tells us not only of the triumph of Jesus over suffering and death, but of his glorious rising from the dead. And most importantly it reminds us of the Good News that we too are challenged to suffer and die with Jesus, so that we too will rise to eternal life after our death and burial.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The decision to have a crucifix in public places of our communities may not be a decision that will be up to us to make. However, each of us can make the decision to have a crucifix hang on the walls of our homes.

When people walk into our houses, what kind of homes do they find? What does the interior appearance of our homes say about the people who live there? They may see how well our homes are decorated and arranged, and compliment us on our taste. Or they may see dusty cupboards and dirty dishes, causing them to think poorly of our personal hygiene. But when people walk into our homes can they tell that they are in the home of a believer in Jesus Christ? Do they feel a sense of religious faith when they enter our homes, by the appearance of a crucifix, or holy icons, or other religious symbols?

As we prepare for these important days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, let us not get caught up only in the decorations associated with these days, that include various figures of the holy cross. Rather, let us make sure we use the holy cross and other religious figures as symbols of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Strengthened by the cross of Jesus and his life-giving resurrection, we send these Paschal greetings to all our faithful in Canada, in Ukraine and throughout the world. We send these Paschal greetings to the sick and the elderly. We send these Paschal greetings to the marginalized and the forgotten. We send these Paschal greetings to those struggling with their faith, those living in doubt and fear. Live in hope, do not be afraid, for Christ is Risen!

Come all you faithful, and let us bow to the holy resurrection of Christ, since through the cross, joy has come to all the world. Ever praising the Lord, let us extol his resurrection, since He, having endured the crucifixion, has destroyed Death by his death! [Paschal Matins]

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

+ Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, Metropolitan Archbishop of Winnipeg

+ David Motiuk, Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton

+ Stephen Chmilar, Eparchial Bishop of Toronto

+ Ken Nowakowski, Eparchial Bishop of New Westminster

+ Bryan Bayda, CSsR, Eparchial Bishop of Saskatoon

+ Michael Wiwchar, CSsR, Bishop Emeritus of Saskatoon

+ Severian Yakymyshyn, OSBM, Bishop Emeritus of New Westminster

24/31 March 2019, Third Sunday of Great Lent: The Veneration of the Cross

 


 

ПАСТИРСЬКЕ ПОСЛАННЯ
УРАЇНСЬКИХ КАТОЛИЦЬКИХ ЄПИСКОПІВ КАНАДИ 2019 р.
В СВІТЛИЙ ПРАЗНИК ВОСКРЕСІННЯ
ГОСПОДА НАШОГО ІСУСА ХРИСТА

Всесвітліші, всечесніші і преподобні отці!
Преподобні сестри й брати в монашестві!
Дорогі семінаристи!
Дорогі миряни української католицької церкви у Канаді!

Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес!

Дорогі брати й сестри в Христі!

На при кінці місяця цього березня не один з вас прочитав газетну статтю з несподіваним заголовком: “Міська рада міста Монреаль вирішила зняти хрести розп’яття зі своїх стін.” Ця стаття була поширена офіційною пресою Канади, “The Canadian Press”, і тому була доступна по всій Канаді. Вона говорить, що міська рада вирішила, що після вісімдесяте років, вже не бажано, щоб хрест розп’ятого Ісуса висів на стінах міської ради. Стаття додатково вказує, що це рішення прийняте членами міської ради є ще одним елементом секуляризації, яка зараз проводиться в провінції Квебек.

Ця публікація, сама по собі, не була нейтральна, особливо через те, що це рішення міської ради було проголошена і поширена підчас Великого Посту, час коли Християни по цілому світі готуються переживати – розп’яття, смерть, погребіння та воскресіння нашого Господа і Спаса Ісуса Христа. Незважаючи на те, що у багатьох містах Канади, вже давно усунули хрести і розп’яття із стін, або може і ніколи не були, серця християн Канади завжди тішило знання, що принаймні в одній з провінцій, яка гордилася своєю католицькою спадщиною, повага та шанування Христа як важливого символу Християнської віри, ще залишалася в центрі міського життя.

Хрест Господній, навіть у найменші мірі, голосно промовляє про великий дар для цілого людства-це дар Ісуса Христа, Сина Божого. Хрест, який ми носимо на грудях, виголошує нам вістку спасіння. Таким самим чином вістка спасіння проголошується знаком святого хреста на баннях наших церков. Хрест і розп’яття говорить про страсті й смерть Ісуса Христа, а тим більше проголошує надію на воскресіння і вічне життя.

У наших церквах, особливо в Велику П’ятницю, хрест має притаманне місце, біля символічного Гетсиманського гробу перед святилищем в церкві. Хрест стоїть над гробом Ісуса та напоминає нам про великі страсті нашого Спасителя.

Уранці Великодньої неділі, ми ще раз споглядаємо на хрест, на якім висів Ісус, проте, ми з повним радості серцем святкуємо життєдайне Воскресіння нашого Господа. Цей славний хрест проголошує не тільки Христову перемогу над терпінням і смертю, але і також про Христове славне воскресіння з мертвих. Найголовніше, цей хрест сповіщає нам Добру Новину, що і ми також є покликанні співстраждати і вмирати з Ісусом, і тим самим, після своєї смерті та поховання воскреснемо до вічного життя!

Дорогі брати й сестри в Христі!

Мабуть, що скоро не прийдеться нам приймати рішення про виставлення хреста в громадських місцях нашої країни. Проте, кожен з нас має нагоду приймити рішення чи поставити хрест на стіну свого дому.

Подумайте! Коли гості відвідують вас, яка атмосфера огортає їх? Про що розказує облаштування дому про своїх власників? Гості можуть пізнавати шикарні меблі та вишукане оформлення кімнат. Мабуть вони зможуть оцінити ваш смак. Проте, гості можуть побачити неохайні кімнати, чи розкинутий одяг, чи брудний посуд. Ваші гості зроблять висновок, що ви не є добрими господарями. Однак, коли гості переступлять поріг вашого дому, як вони зрозуміють, що вони в домі християн. Вони відчують християнську віру в вашому середовищі бо побачать хрест, чи святі ікони, чи інші християнські символи.

У цей особливий час, коли ми готуймося до-Великої П’ятниці, Великої Суботи та Світлого Воскресіння, стараймося не зосереджуватися на зовнішніх прикрасах присвячених цьому святу. Натомість, постановім поставити святий хрест як основний символ нашої віри в Ісуса Христа.

Зміцнені хрестом Ісуса та Його життєдайним Воскресінням, ми посилаємо ці Великодні привітання усім вірним в Канаді, в Україні, та по цілому світі. Вітаємо Пасхальним привітом усіх хворих, немічних та людей похилого віку. Вітаємо та посилаємо щирі вітання Воскреслого Ісуса усім хто відчувається відкинутим або забутим. Ми посилаємо щирі Пасхальні вітання тим, хто бореться за їхню віру, тим, хто живе в сумніві і страсі. Живімо в надії, забудьмо про страх, бо Христос воскрес із гробу!

Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес!

У Воскреслому Христі,

+ Лаврентій Гуцуляк, ЧСВВ, Митрополит і Архиєпископ Вінніпезький

+ Давид Мотюк, Єпарх Едмонтонський

+ Степан Хміляр, Єпарх Торонтонський

+ Кен Новаковський, Єпарх Нью-Вестмінстерський

+ Браєн Байда, ЧНІ, Єпарх Саскатунський

+ Михайло Вівчар, ЧНІ, Єпископ-емерит Саскатунський

+ Северіян Якимишин, ЧСВВ, Єпископ-емерит Нью-Вестмінстерський

24/31 березня 2019 р., Третя неділя Великого Посту: Хрестопоклонна Неділя.

PASTORAL LETTEROF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAVTO YOUTH ON PALM SUNDAY (ENG/UKR)

PASTORAL LETTER
OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV
TO YOUTH ON PALM SUNDAY

If, therefore, the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed.
Jn 8:36

Beloved in Christ Youth in Ukraine and abroad!

With great joy, as every year, on the occasion of Palm Sunday commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem, I wish to address you with this pastoral message. For indeed youth, in the words of Pope Francis, is the divine “now” of our Church and people to whom God wants to reveal His presence, His mercy, and His salvation. As Christ did then, when He entered into His royal city and inaugurated the triumphant coming of His Kingdom in humble service, so also in His eternal “now” through you He wishes to carry His light and His hope into the world. The future depends on your openness to Christ, your sensitivity to the living reality of your Church and people, and your ability to take on responsibility for yourselves and the world.

According to recent sociological surveys, the majority of young Ukrainians see freedom as the most important value in their life. It should be pointed out that this is also the position of a great part of the adult population. For post-Soviet Ukrainian society, such a shifting of values can be seen as a real breakthrough. Indeed, after decades of captivity and bloody communist terror, the freedom-loving spirit of our ancestors has awoken, a spirit which until now no enemy could break or extinguish. This is not surprising, for true freedom gives us the possibility to express our dignity, to fulfil our noble aspirations and goals. It enables us to feel free from all kinds of enslavement so that we might live in truth and create what is beautiful and good. As my predecessor, His Beatitude Lubomyr, aptly stated: “freedom is the possibility to create the good.”

As the year 2013 drew to a close, they sought to deprive us of the possibility to fulfil our national dream—the dream for a free, united, European Ukraine. And it is not by chance that opposing forces chose as their target none other than the youth. Church bells awoke our conscience, and on the Maidan, with great cost, we defended our right to do good in freedom, to live in liberty on our God-given land. Among the heroes of the Heavenly Hundred were our colleagues—students, sportsmen, volunteers, young parents. From the divine eternal “now,” they look down on us today in order to once again by the bells of our conscience awaken us to sensitivity and responsibility. Today our freedom is being preserved before the Russian aggressor by those fighting in the Eastern part of Ukraine at great cost and personal sacrifice. We have no right to stab them in the back.

Beloved in Christ! Freedom is not merely a human value, of which no one has the right to deprive us. True freedom is a gift from God which we received in Jesus Christ. St. Paul reminds us: “for freedom Christ has set us free,” and he immediately cautions us, “stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). Entering into the capital city of Jerusalem, the Lord brings the good news of salvation, the good news of freedom. This freedom he proposes not as one who enslaves and oppresses. Throughout our national history, especially in the last century, we were visited many times by “liberators” who, hiding behind deceptive slogans about equality and freedom, brought with them terror, destruction, and death. Christ, on the other hand, in humble service by which He gave His life on the cross for our liberation and freedom, becomes the source and foundation of authentic divine freedom, which brings peace, gives hope, calls to growth. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh…” (Gal 5:13). This call to growth in freedom is at the same time a call to mature responsibility. For today the enemy of our salvation—personal and national—once again seeks to lull our sensitivity. He wants us to see freedom as a right without personal effort, for us to “go with the flow,” while setting aside high aspirations and ideals.

True freedom is not possible without responsibility. Freedom without responsibility, in fact, becomes a blind and destructive force, а recklessness that closes its eyes to that which has been achieved thus far, destroys the present good—personal and common—and places in doubt the personal and national “tomorrow.” During the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, it was the youth that joined the ranks of Christ’s disciples and revealed their openness of heart and responsibility in the face of epochal changes and upheavals.

Dear youth! Today’s Gospel event teaches us to choose with maturity and responsibility—to stand on the side of truth, goodness, and justice, to stand against manipulations, cunning propaganda, and empty promises of an easy and carefree future. The history of salvation shows all of us that the path from slavery to freedom is difficult and long, and it must be travelled from day to day, steadily and patiently. There may be mistakes made on this path, but it would be awful for us to fall into an ill-conceived indifference and thoughtlessness by which we, often even unawares, cross over to the side of our enemy, having freely submitted once again to his tyranny.

Today in Ukraine we are demonstrating our national and Christian maturity through our participation in the elections for President of Ukraine. For some of you, this is, possibly, the first election in your life. This same day may become decisive for the fate of the county for decades, and even for its very existence. Therefore, I call upon you to mature responsibility. Only a mature person is capable of foreseeing the consequences of one’s choices and take personal responsibility for them. Let us not let anyone take Ukraine for a fool, scoff at the blood and suffering of our people, who fight for true freedom at the cost of their own life.

In order for you to be able to better and more conscientiously make a personal decision with responsibility, I would like to recall the criteria which at one time His Beatitude Lubomyr of blessed memory proposed, and according to which, in his opinion, it is imperative to evaluate candidates to positions of authority in government: professionalism, integrity, patriotism. Only one who has all three traits can be worthy of our trust. Today our entire Church calls upon the Holy Spirit to send down His grace on our youth, trusting that its choice, as well as the choice of our entire people, will bring good news to Ukraine and the world, just as the choice of the youth of Jerusalem became a famous part of the Gospel of Christ Himself!

The young faithful of our Church, who reside outside Ukraine and are not participating in the elections today, I wish to also call to responsibility in our communities—ecclesial and social. Take responsibility for the future of the country where you reside, do not be afraid to achieve success and perform service at the highest levels of society and thus to be a source of pride for your native people and your Church. Become active members of your parish and the Ukrainian community. And so will you, as the divine “now” will create a better future for yourselves, your descendants, the Church and all of humanity.

My dear youth! I greet you with this special youth day! Thank you for your active, mature, and responsible Christian life position. Be assured: who follows Christ and their life walks in the ways of God, such a person will always achieve a blessed goal—true freedom and happiness, which do not pass away.

 

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

† SVIATOSLAV

Given in Kyiv
at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,
on the Day of the Venerable Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, and Deacon Cyril, and others martyred by the persecutor Julian, April 11, 2019 A.D.

We instruct the clergy to read this Pastoral Letter to the faithful after every Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, April 21 of this year. We ask that those who celebrate according to the Gregorian calendar make this Pastoral Letter available to the youth of their parish on April 14.


 

ПОСЛАННЯ
БЛАЖЕННІШОГО СВЯТОСЛАВА
ДО МОЛОДІ НА КВІТНУ НЕДІЛЮ

 

Коли Син вас визволить,
то справді станете вільні.
Ів. 8, 36

 

Дорога в Христі молоде в Україні та на поселеннях!

Із великою радістю, як і щороку, хочу скористати з нагоди Квітної неділі, урочистого В’їзду Христа-Господа в Єрусалим, щоб звернутися до вас із пастирським словом. Адже молодь, за словами Папи Франциска, – це Боже «тепер» нашої Церкви й народу, в якому Бог прагне об’явити свою присутність, своє милосердя і своє спасіння. Як це зробив Христос тоді, коли входив до свого царського міста та започаткував урочистий прихід свого Царства у смиренному служінні, так Він у своєму вічному «тепер» через вас хоче сьогодні нести у світ своє світло і свою надію. Від вашої відкритості до Христа, чутливості до того, чим сьогодні живе ваша Церква і народ, від вашої здатності брати відповідальність за себе і світ – залежить майбутнє.

За нещодавніми соціологічними опитуваннями, більшість молодих українців найважливішою цінністю свого життя вважає свободу. Варто зауважити, що такої позиції дотримується і велика частина дорослого населення. Для пострадянського українського суспільства такий ціннісний орієнтир можна вважати справжнім проривом. Справді, після десятиліть поневолення і кривавого комуністичного терору в народу пробудився волелюбний дух предків, який дотепер жоден ворог не зміг ослабити чи загасити. Це й не дивно, адже справжня свобода дає нам можливість засвідчити власну гідність, здійснювати свої благородні прагнення і цілі, робить нас здатними почуватися вільними від будь-якого поневолення, щоб жити в правді і творити красу та добро. Як влучно висловився мій достойний попередник Блаженніший Любомир, «свобода – це можливість творити добро».

Наприкінці 2013 року нас намагалися позбавити можливості реалізувати нашу національну мрію, – мрію про вільну, соборну, європейську Україну. І цілком невипадково, що супротивні сили обрали мішенню свого удару саме молодь. Церковні дзвони пробудили нашу совість, і ми на Майдані ціною великих жертв відстояли наше право у свободі чинити добро, вільно жити на своїй Богом даній землі. Серед Героїв Небесної сотні були і ваші ровесники – студенти, спортсмени, волонтери, молоді батьки. Вони з Божого вічного «тепер» споглядають на нас сьогодні, щоб знову дзвонами сумління пробудити нас до чуйності та відповідальності. Сьогодні нашу свободу ціною великої самопожертви оберігають від російського агресора захисники на Сході України, яким ми не маємо права завдати удару в спину.

Дорогі в Христі! Свобода – це не просто людська цінність, якої ніхто не має права нас позбавити. Справжня свобода – це дар Божий, який ми одержали в Христі-Ісусі. «Христос нас визволив на те, щоб ми були свобідні, – нагадує св. Павло і відразу ж застерігає: – Тож стійте і під кормигу рабства не піддавайтеся знову» (Гал. 5, 1). Входячи у стольний град Єрусалим, Господь приносить благовість спасіння, благовість свободи. Цю свободу Він пропонує не як той, хто поневолює і пригноблює. Упродовж нашої національної історії, зокрема в минулому столітті, до нас не раз навідувалися різні «визволителі», які, прикриваючись оманливими гаслами рівності й свободи, приносили зі собою терор, спустошення і смерть. Натомість Христос у смиренному служінні, в якому віддає на хресті своє життя за наше визволення і спасіння, стає джерелом й основою справжньої Божої свободи, що приносить мир, дає надію, кличе до зросту. «Ви бо, брати, покликані до свободи; аби тільки свобода ваша не стала приводом до тілесности» (Гал. 5, 13). Цей заклик до зростання у свободі водночас є закликом до дозрівання у відповідальності. Адже нині ворог нашого спасіння – особистого і національного – знову намагається приспати нашу чуйність. Хоче, щоб ми сприймали свободу як право без особистого зусилля, щоб просто «плили за течією», самі відмовилися від високих устремлінь та ідеалів.

Справжня свобода неможлива без відповідальності. Свобода ж без відповідальності стає сліпою і руйнівною силою, сваволею, що закриває очі на дотеперішні здобутки, нищить наявне добро – особисте та суспільне – і ставить під сумнів особисте та національне «завтра». Під час урочистого в’їзду до Єрусалима саме молодь приєдналася до лав Христових учнів і виявила свою відкритість серця та відповідальність перед лицем епохальних змін і потрясінь.

Дорога молоде! Сьогоднішня євангельська подія вчить нас зріло та відповідально вибирати – ставати на бік правди, добра і справедливості, протистоячи маніпуляціям, підступній пропаганді та пустопорожнім обіцянкам легкого й безтурботного майбутнього. Історія спасіння показує усім нам, що дорога з рабства до свободи – це важкий і тривалий шлях, яким треба крокувати з дня на день, послідовно й витривало. На цьому шляху можливі помилки, але неприпустимо допускатися злочинної байдужості чи легковажності, якими ми самі, часто навіть не помічаючи цього, переходимо на бік нашого противника, самі добровільно повертаємося під його кормигу.

Сьогодні ми в Україні виявлятимемо нашу національну і християнську зрілість через участь у виборах Президента України. Для когось із вас це, можливо, перші вибори в житті. Саме цей день може стати вирішальним для долі країни на десятиліття, а навіть і для її подальшого існування. Тому закликаю вас до зрілої відповідальності. Тільки зріла особа здатна передбачити наслідки свого вибору та брати на себе особисту відповідальність за них. Не даймо нікому висміяти України, глумитися над кров’ю і стражданням нашого народу, який ціною власного життя виборює справжню свободу!

Для того щоб ви краще і якомога свідоміше прийняли особисте й відповідальне рішення, хочу пригадати критерії, які свого часу висловив святої пам’яті Блаженніший Любомир і за якими, на його думку, необхідно оцінювати претендентів на пости в органи державної влади: професіоналізм, порядність і патріотизм. Тільки той, хто має всі три риси, може бути гідним нашої довіри. Сьогодні вся наша Церква прикликає благодать Святого Духа на нашу молодь із вірою в те, що її вибір, як і вибір усього нашого народу, буде доброю новиною Україні та світові, подібно як вибір єрусалимської молоді став славною частиною Євангелія самого Христа!

Молодих вірян нашої Церкви, які не живуть в Україні й не беруть сьогодні участі у виборах, хочу також закликати до відповідальності в наших громадах – церковних і суспільних. Беріть відповідальність за майбутнє тієї країни, у якій перебуваєте, не бійтеся досягати успіху та здійснювати служіння на найвищих щаблях суспільства і в такий спосіб ставати гордістю рідного народу та своєї Церкви. Ставайте активними членами вашої парафії й української громади! Так ви, як Боже «тепер», будете творити краще майбутнє для себе, своїх нащадків, Церкви й усього людства.

Дорога молоде! Сердечно вітаю вас з цим особливим молодіжним днем! Дякую за вашу активну, зрілу та відповідальну християнську життєву позицію. Будьте певні: хто йде за Христом і ходить у своєму житті Божими дорогами, той завжди досягне благословенної  мети – правдивої свободи й щастя, які ніколи не переминають.

Благословення Господнє на вас!

 

† СВЯТОСЛАВ

Дано в Києві,
при Патріаршому соборі Воскресіння Христового,
у день Святого преподобного Марка, єпископа Аретусійського,

і Кирила диякона, і інших, що з ним при Юліані-мучителеві постраждали,

11 квітня 2019 року Божого

  

Отцям-душпастирям доручаємо зачитати вірним це Послання після кожної  Божественної Літургії у Квітну неділю, 21 квітня цього року.

 

PASTORAL LETTEROF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAVTO YOUTH ON PALM SUNDAY (ENG/UKR)

PASTORAL LETTER
OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV
TO YOUTH ON PALM SUNDAY

If, therefore, the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed.
Jn 8:36

Beloved in Christ Youth in Ukraine and abroad!

With great joy, as every year, on the occasion of Palm Sunday commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem, I wish to address you with this pastoral message. For indeed youth, in the words of Pope Francis, is the divine “now” of our Church and people to whom God wants to reveal His presence, His mercy, and His salvation. As Christ did then, when He entered into His royal city and inaugurated the triumphant coming of His Kingdom in humble service, so also in His eternal “now” through you He wishes to carry His light and His hope into the world. The future depends on your openness to Christ, your sensitivity to the living reality of your Church and people, and your ability to take on responsibility for yourselves and the world.

According to recent sociological surveys, the majority of young Ukrainians see freedom as the most important value in their life. It should be pointed out that this is also the position of a great part of the adult population. For post-Soviet Ukrainian society, such a shifting of values can be seen as a real breakthrough. Indeed, after decades of captivity and bloody communist terror, the freedom-loving spirit of our ancestors has awoken, a spirit which until now no enemy could break or extinguish. This is not surprising, for true freedom gives us the possibility to express our dignity, to fulfil our noble aspirations and goals. It enables us to feel free from all kinds of enslavement so that we might live in truth and create what is beautiful and good. As my predecessor, His Beatitude Lubomyr, aptly stated: “freedom is the possibility to create the good.”

As the year 2013 drew to a close, they sought to deprive us of the possibility to fulfil our national dream—the dream for a free, united, European Ukraine. And it is not by chance that opposing forces chose as their target none other than the youth. Church bells awoke our conscience, and on the Maidan, with great cost, we defended our right to do good in freedom, to live in liberty on our God-given land. Among the heroes of the Heavenly Hundred were our colleagues—students, sportsmen, volunteers, young parents. From the divine eternal “now,” they look down on us today in order to once again by the bells of our conscience awaken us to sensitivity and responsibility. Today our freedom is being preserved before the Russian aggressor by those fighting in the Eastern part of Ukraine at great cost and personal sacrifice. We have no right to stab them in the back.

Beloved in Christ! Freedom is not merely a human value, of which no one has the right to deprive us. True freedom is a gift from God which we received in Jesus Christ. St. Paul reminds us: “for freedom Christ has set us free,” and he immediately cautions us, “stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). Entering into the capital city of Jerusalem, the Lord brings the good news of salvation, the good news of freedom. This freedom he proposes not as one who enslaves and oppresses. Throughout our national history, especially in the last century, we were visited many times by “liberators” who, hiding behind deceptive slogans about equality and freedom, brought with them terror, destruction, and death. Christ, on the other hand, in humble service by which He gave His life on the cross for our liberation and freedom, becomes the source and foundation of authentic divine freedom, which brings peace, gives hope, calls to growth. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh…” (Gal 5:13). This call to growth in freedom is at the same time a call to mature responsibility. For today the enemy of our salvation—personal and national—once again seeks to lull our sensitivity. He wants us to see freedom as a right without personal effort, for us to “go with the flow,” while setting aside high aspirations and ideals.

True freedom is not possible without responsibility. Freedom without responsibility, in fact, becomes a blind and destructive force, а recklessness that closes its eyes to that which has been achieved thus far, destroys the present good—personal and common—and places in doubt the personal and national “tomorrow.” During the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, it was the youth that joined the ranks of Christ’s disciples and revealed their openness of heart and responsibility in the face of epochal changes and upheavals.

Dear youth! Today’s Gospel event teaches us to choose with maturity and responsibility—to stand on the side of truth, goodness, and justice, to stand against manipulations, cunning propaganda, and empty promises of an easy and carefree future. The history of salvation shows all of us that the path from slavery to freedom is difficult and long, and it must be travelled from day to day, steadily and patiently. There may be mistakes made on this path, but it would be awful for us to fall into an ill-conceived indifference and thoughtlessness by which we, often even unawares, cross over to the side of our enemy, having freely submitted once again to his tyranny.

Today in Ukraine we are demonstrating our national and Christian maturity through our participation in the elections for President of Ukraine. For some of you, this is, possibly, the first election in your life. This same day may become decisive for the fate of the county for decades, and even for its very existence. Therefore, I call upon you to mature responsibility. Only a mature person is capable of foreseeing the consequences of one’s choices and take personal responsibility for them. Let us not let anyone take Ukraine for a fool, scoff at the blood and suffering of our people, who fight for true freedom at the cost of their own life.

In order for you to be able to better and more conscientiously make a personal decision with responsibility, I would like to recall the criteria which at one time His Beatitude Lubomyr of blessed memory proposed, and according to which, in his opinion, it is imperative to evaluate candidates to positions of authority in government: professionalism, integrity, patriotism. Only one who has all three traits can be worthy of our trust. Today our entire Church calls upon the Holy Spirit to send down His grace on our youth, trusting that its choice, as well as the choice of our entire people, will bring good news to Ukraine and the world, just as the choice of the youth of Jerusalem became a famous part of the Gospel of Christ Himself!

The young faithful of our Church, who reside outside Ukraine and are not participating in the elections today, I wish to also call to responsibility in our communities—ecclesial and social. Take responsibility for the future of the country where you reside, do not be afraid to achieve success and perform service at the highest levels of society and thus to be a source of pride for your native people and your Church. Become active members of your parish and the Ukrainian community. And so will you, as the divine “now” will create a better future for yourselves, your descendants, the Church and all of humanity.

My dear youth! I greet you with this special youth day! Thank you for your active, mature, and responsible Christian life position. Be assured: who follows Christ and their life walks in the ways of God, such a person will always achieve a blessed goal—true freedom and happiness, which do not pass away.

 

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

† SVIATOSLAV

Given in Kyiv
at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,
on the Day of the Venerable Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, and Deacon Cyril, and others martyred by the persecutor Julian, April 11, 2019 A.D.

We instruct the clergy to read this Pastoral Letter to the faithful after every Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, April 21 of this year. We ask that those who celebrate according to the Gregorian calendar make this Pastoral Letter available to the youth of their parish on April 14.


 

ПОСЛАННЯ
БЛАЖЕННІШОГО СВЯТОСЛАВА
ДО МОЛОДІ НА КВІТНУ НЕДІЛЮ

 

Коли Син вас визволить,
то справді станете вільні.
Ів. 8, 36

 

Дорога в Христі молоде в Україні та на поселеннях!

Із великою радістю, як і щороку, хочу скористати з нагоди Квітної неділі, урочистого В’їзду Христа-Господа в Єрусалим, щоб звернутися до вас із пастирським словом. Адже молодь, за словами Папи Франциска, – це Боже «тепер» нашої Церкви й народу, в якому Бог прагне об’явити свою присутність, своє милосердя і своє спасіння. Як це зробив Христос тоді, коли входив до свого царського міста та започаткував урочистий прихід свого Царства у смиренному служінні, так Він у своєму вічному «тепер» через вас хоче сьогодні нести у світ своє світло і свою надію. Від вашої відкритості до Христа, чутливості до того, чим сьогодні живе ваша Церква і народ, від вашої здатності брати відповідальність за себе і світ – залежить майбутнє.

За нещодавніми соціологічними опитуваннями, більшість молодих українців найважливішою цінністю свого життя вважає свободу. Варто зауважити, що такої позиції дотримується і велика частина дорослого населення. Для пострадянського українського суспільства такий ціннісний орієнтир можна вважати справжнім проривом. Справді, після десятиліть поневолення і кривавого комуністичного терору в народу пробудився волелюбний дух предків, який дотепер жоден ворог не зміг ослабити чи загасити. Це й не дивно, адже справжня свобода дає нам можливість засвідчити власну гідність, здійснювати свої благородні прагнення і цілі, робить нас здатними почуватися вільними від будь-якого поневолення, щоб жити в правді і творити красу та добро. Як влучно висловився мій достойний попередник Блаженніший Любомир, «свобода – це можливість творити добро».

Наприкінці 2013 року нас намагалися позбавити можливості реалізувати нашу національну мрію, – мрію про вільну, соборну, європейську Україну. І цілком невипадково, що супротивні сили обрали мішенню свого удару саме молодь. Церковні дзвони пробудили нашу совість, і ми на Майдані ціною великих жертв відстояли наше право у свободі чинити добро, вільно жити на своїй Богом даній землі. Серед Героїв Небесної сотні були і ваші ровесники – студенти, спортсмени, волонтери, молоді батьки. Вони з Божого вічного «тепер» споглядають на нас сьогодні, щоб знову дзвонами сумління пробудити нас до чуйності та відповідальності. Сьогодні нашу свободу ціною великої самопожертви оберігають від російського агресора захисники на Сході України, яким ми не маємо права завдати удару в спину.

Дорогі в Христі! Свобода – це не просто людська цінність, якої ніхто не має права нас позбавити. Справжня свобода – це дар Божий, який ми одержали в Христі-Ісусі. «Христос нас визволив на те, щоб ми були свобідні, – нагадує св. Павло і відразу ж застерігає: – Тож стійте і під кормигу рабства не піддавайтеся знову» (Гал. 5, 1). Входячи у стольний град Єрусалим, Господь приносить благовість спасіння, благовість свободи. Цю свободу Він пропонує не як той, хто поневолює і пригноблює. Упродовж нашої національної історії, зокрема в минулому столітті, до нас не раз навідувалися різні «визволителі», які, прикриваючись оманливими гаслами рівності й свободи, приносили зі собою терор, спустошення і смерть. Натомість Христос у смиренному служінні, в якому віддає на хресті своє життя за наше визволення і спасіння, стає джерелом й основою справжньої Божої свободи, що приносить мир, дає надію, кличе до зросту. «Ви бо, брати, покликані до свободи; аби тільки свобода ваша не стала приводом до тілесности» (Гал. 5, 13). Цей заклик до зростання у свободі водночас є закликом до дозрівання у відповідальності. Адже нині ворог нашого спасіння – особистого і національного – знову намагається приспати нашу чуйність. Хоче, щоб ми сприймали свободу як право без особистого зусилля, щоб просто «плили за течією», самі відмовилися від високих устремлінь та ідеалів.

Справжня свобода неможлива без відповідальності. Свобода ж без відповідальності стає сліпою і руйнівною силою, сваволею, що закриває очі на дотеперішні здобутки, нищить наявне добро – особисте та суспільне – і ставить під сумнів особисте та національне «завтра». Під час урочистого в’їзду до Єрусалима саме молодь приєдналася до лав Христових учнів і виявила свою відкритість серця та відповідальність перед лицем епохальних змін і потрясінь.

Дорога молоде! Сьогоднішня євангельська подія вчить нас зріло та відповідально вибирати – ставати на бік правди, добра і справедливості, протистоячи маніпуляціям, підступній пропаганді та пустопорожнім обіцянкам легкого й безтурботного майбутнього. Історія спасіння показує усім нам, що дорога з рабства до свободи – це важкий і тривалий шлях, яким треба крокувати з дня на день, послідовно й витривало. На цьому шляху можливі помилки, але неприпустимо допускатися злочинної байдужості чи легковажності, якими ми самі, часто навіть не помічаючи цього, переходимо на бік нашого противника, самі добровільно повертаємося під його кормигу.

Сьогодні ми в Україні виявлятимемо нашу національну і християнську зрілість через участь у виборах Президента України. Для когось із вас це, можливо, перші вибори в житті. Саме цей день може стати вирішальним для долі країни на десятиліття, а навіть і для її подальшого існування. Тому закликаю вас до зрілої відповідальності. Тільки зріла особа здатна передбачити наслідки свого вибору та брати на себе особисту відповідальність за них. Не даймо нікому висміяти України, глумитися над кров’ю і стражданням нашого народу, який ціною власного життя виборює справжню свободу!

Для того щоб ви краще і якомога свідоміше прийняли особисте й відповідальне рішення, хочу пригадати критерії, які свого часу висловив святої пам’яті Блаженніший Любомир і за якими, на його думку, необхідно оцінювати претендентів на пости в органи державної влади: професіоналізм, порядність і патріотизм. Тільки той, хто має всі три риси, може бути гідним нашої довіри. Сьогодні вся наша Церква прикликає благодать Святого Духа на нашу молодь із вірою в те, що її вибір, як і вибір усього нашого народу, буде доброю новиною Україні та світові, подібно як вибір єрусалимської молоді став славною частиною Євангелія самого Христа!

Молодих вірян нашої Церкви, які не живуть в Україні й не беруть сьогодні участі у виборах, хочу також закликати до відповідальності в наших громадах – церковних і суспільних. Беріть відповідальність за майбутнє тієї країни, у якій перебуваєте, не бійтеся досягати успіху та здійснювати служіння на найвищих щаблях суспільства і в такий спосіб ставати гордістю рідного народу та своєї Церкви. Ставайте активними членами вашої парафії й української громади! Так ви, як Боже «тепер», будете творити краще майбутнє для себе, своїх нащадків, Церкви й усього людства.

Дорога молоде! Сердечно вітаю вас з цим особливим молодіжним днем! Дякую за вашу активну, зрілу та відповідальну християнську життєву позицію. Будьте певні: хто йде за Христом і ходить у своєму житті Божими дорогами, той завжди досягне благословенної  мети – правдивої свободи й щастя, які ніколи не переминають.

Благословення Господнє на вас!

 

† СВЯТОСЛАВ

Дано в Києві,
при Патріаршому соборі Воскресіння Христового,
у день Святого преподобного Марка, єпископа Аретусійського,

і Кирила диякона, і інших, що з ним при Юліані-мучителеві постраждали,

11 квітня 2019 року Божого

  

Отцям-душпастирям доручаємо зачитати вірним це Послання після кожної  Божественної Літургії у Квітну неділю, 21 квітня цього року.