WE ARE NOT ALONE
September 22, 2015
Here in in the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, we conducted a very comprehensive local Sobor on the eparchial level. I was pleased to hear compliments at the Patriarchal Sobor about the way that we spent so much time on our Archeparchial Sobor and really tried to hammer out - not only ideas, but concrete assessments and plans for action. See our Patriarchal Sobor report.
One thing that became obvious at the Patriarchal Sobor in Ivano-Frankivsk (24-27 Sept 2015) is that we here in Manitoba share very similar hopes and dreams and concerns as the rest of our Ukrainian Catholic brothers and sisters throughout the world. During the fantastic small-group discussion sessions, sometimes before our Winnipeg delegates had a chance to propose our ideas and proposed solutions, someone else expressed the very same idea from Brazil, Germany, Ukraine or one of the other 55 countries represented at the Sobor. As the (very) many resolutions started emerging for our consideration and voting each day, it was even clearer that every country (perhaps every eparchy or exarchate) had a few particular interests, but there were many common themes that rose to the top. Among them… the desire to know the faith more!.... the request for more comprehensive and easily accessible adult catechesis and bible study in every parish… the appeal that priests and bishops be more available in the parish and the eparchy and simply more present to the faithful… better quality liturgy and homilies…. That we would get back to the fundamental mission of the Church to Evangelize all people and draw everyone to true holiness in a daily life in our one and only Saviour – Jesus Christ… etc.
THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
At the beginning of the Sobor in Ivano-Frankivsk, His Beatitude Sviatoslav challenged us that this Sobor “would not turn out like the previous Sobors, where we go home and forget about it after a week”. He stressed that this Sobor was extremely important because it went to the very essence of our life as members of the living Church of Christ. The matters discussed at the Sobor and the resolutions that we made in faith and hope in sincerity CAN NOT BE IGNORED OR FORGOTTEN, otherwise we witness out own demise. In other words… there is no ‘otherwise’. We want to and we must move forward and live our resolutions! Our parishes must become VIBRANT no matter what it takes. Our Archeparchy and our Church must become more vibrant for ourselves and the many that we invite to join us. It is up to each and every one of us.
As for the Vibrant Parish movement in our Archeparchy, we need to advance our work to the next level. As you recall, Metropolitan Lawrence suggested that we wait for the Patriarchal Sobor to see what the other eparchies have accomplished and to see what they plan to do. Besides, we want to know what the Synod of Bishops of our Church will do with all the resolutions of the Sobor.
The materials of the Patriarchal Sobor are now being processed, as are the decisions of the Synod of Bishops (that was held in Ivano-Frankivsk the week after the Sobor!). When we have access to the materials we will surely gather again with our Metropolitan and see what our first moves will be for our Church here in Manitoba.
In the meantime, review the material from our final Archeparchial session and our concluding report that (both available on our Archeparchial website and… continue to pray for the working of the Holy Spirit within our Church! The Lord wants us to move forward. If we have the humility and dedication to follow him, we will see amazing results!