PASTORAL LETTER OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF CANADA ON THE OCCASION OF THE FEAST OF THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD 2015

April 4, 2015

To the 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!

 

“Behold, today is the day of the Resurrection,
 let us glory in the Feast; let us embrace one another in joy…”
 (from the stichera of Resurrection Matins)
 

The glorious proclamation of Our Lord’s Resurrection marks the most joyous and transformative event in human history. During the Resurrection Matins we are overwhelmed by the power of God’s graciousness, a power that moves us to recognize more clearly the meaning of life itself: human life. “Come, o faithful! Let us drink a new drink . . . springing from the tomb which is a fountain of immortality.” On this day our world is transfigured; we stand with the apostles on Mt. Tabor and revel in the transfigured Lord who teaches us that death is conquered, the devil is vanquished!

This joyous day, this new day, this feast of feasts fills us with a renewed sense of hope that our earthly trials will pass, that our suffering will not endure. This new day, that comes through the cross and tomb, reminds us that even the evil of injustice and war shall not endure. In spite of the horrors that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine face, they too sing these joyous hymns today and they too will know the victory of love over hatred, truth over lies, life over death!

“Today is the day of the Resurrection” and we pass from death to life. Today we “cleanse our senses that we may be able to contemplate Christ.” Today we come to know life—in its fullness! But today we also pray that we “who dwell on earth, [be made] worthy to glorify [God] with pure hearts.” Our hearts must be made pure because, like the myrrh-bearing women, we are called to carry the truth of this New Life into a world that lives in the shadow of death; a world that too often ignores the power of Christ’s Resurrection. We must be witnesses of the passage through the Cross to Life, where in the name of so-called compassion, many countries have opened the door to doctor-assisted suicide. On this Resurrection day our parish communities, every one of us, are called to reflect Christ’s Life and Love. We are called to overcome a culture of death with the vibrant embrace of true Christian compassion, a compassion which means (as the Latin word portrays) being with the one who suffers. This calls us to commit to a joy that proclaims the value of human life, the value of our dependence on each other. Today reaffirms our commitment to welcome those who despair of their lives into an embrace of care and value that radiates the joy of life with Christ! We remind the world of the Innocent One who “through His sufferings … has clothed [us] mortals with the splendour of incorruption.” Thus, “we sing a hymn of praise to Your passion and we glorify Your Resurrection.”

We are the bearers of this great joy, of this great news, for “a glorious Passover has shone upon us, a Passover of the Lord, a Passover perfectly honourable: let us then embrace one another with joy” so that together we may sing:

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs He granted life.”

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

Sincerely in Christ,

+Lawrence Huculak, Metropolitan Archbishop of Winnipeg
+Michael Wiwchar, Eparch Emeritus of Saskatoon
+Severian Yakymyshyn, Eparch Emeritus of New Westminster
+David Motiuk, Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton
+Stephen Chmilar, Eparchial Bishop of Toronto
+Ken Nowakowski, Eparchial Bishop of New Westminster
+Bryan Bayda, Eparchial Bishop of Saskatoon

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