At the Sobor: Day 4, Entry 1

August 26, 2015

Monsignor Michael Buyachok arrived Tuesday, - on the first actual day of the Sobor. He was met in Lviv by the Sobor staff and brought to Ivano-Frankivsk in time to take part in the afternoon international discussion. Our Winnipeg delegation is now complete!

It was a long first day and so the night was short at the Nadia Hotel in downtown Ivano-Frankivsk. Before you knew it, alarm clocks and cellphones were ringing before 6:00 am so that everyone could shower and get ready to take the bus to the Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection for Matins and Divine Liturgy. It must be for that; the beautifully sung and user-friendly liturgies that brought everyone gladly to the buses on time.

Truly we vested and joined the crowd of clergy, sisters and lay faithful in the breathtaking church for a couple hours of prayer that raised us all heart and soul into the presence of living Christ. When our Divine Liturgy is fully and carefully celebrated as it has been these past days, it is no wonder that the emissaries of St Volodymyr wondered of they were really still on earth or actually in heaven...

Before leaving the cathedral back to the hotel, a few friends from seminary days learned that our former seminary rector, Fr. Sophron Mundry, OSBM, was buried in the crypt under the church. He was here, because he went on to become the bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk. We went down to say a prayer at his tomb.

Rather than breakfast at the hotel, I joined a couple of delegates - from Germany and England - at a café for fresh crêpes and a good cappuccino.

The first session of the day dealt with Liturgy, prayer, communion and unity".

Before the speakers were given the podium, a summary was read covering the results of the afternoon discussions from the yesterday. This was an effective way of saving time rather than having sixteen groups present all their results.

The first speaker was Rev. Dr. Vasyl Rudejko who spoke on "The Liturgical Life of the Ukrainian Catholic Church". Among many points, he suggested that we really need to see the Liturgy not as a duty or solemn obligation, but as an enjoyable visit with a friend or relative. "A real loving conversation with our Heavenly Father".

A young priest of the Divine Word religious community, Fr. Josaphat Boyko, gave an excellent talk on the actually prayer life in the parish - including the Eucharist and prayer at home as a family.

Finally, Fr. Peter Galadza, spoke on "Communion and the promotion of Unity in the Ukrainian Catholic church." Among various ideas he spoke about reinstating a "kiss of peace" of all the faithful at the Divine Liturgy, rather than just among concelebrating priests.

The morning ended with a praying of the 6th Hour in the conference theatre before lunch.

Watch this site for updates on the activity of the Winnipeg delegation to the 6th Session of the Patriarchal Sobor on "The Vibrant Parish - The Place to Encounter the Living Christ" in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. 24-28 August 2015.

Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski

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