October 26, 2018


Two Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church are participating in the Synod of Bishops on "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment". The Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church chose Redemptorist Bishop Bryan Bayda of Saskatoon to represent the interests of the Ukrainian Catholic Church at the Synod. Of course, Bishop Bryan has the great task of taking into account the perspective and needs of all the youth of the Church, whether in his home country of Canada, throughout the Americas, Europe and where the vast majority lives their faith in Ukraine. However, he also represents his own pastoral outlook as a longtime minister in the Church. He was ordained a priest 31 years ago and a bishop 10 years ago. A good part of his ministry has focused on young people from being a teacher at St. Vladimir's College right through to leading delegations to various World Youth Days. The Bishops saw his representing the young people of the Ukrainian Catholic a natural choice.

Bishop Bryan, although representing the Ukrainian Synod, is of course, from Canada. He is joined by a number of other bishops from Canada - Most Rev. Luc Cyr (Sherbrooke); Thomas Dowd (Montreal); Lionel Gendron (Saint-Jean-Longueuil); Stephen Jensen (Prince George) and Cardinal Gérald Lacroix (Québec) [who, although not elected by the CCCB, was chosen directly by Pope Francis] Another Canadian Bishop that will be present, but not representing Canada per se, is Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who is attending as the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. There are also 5 Salt&Light staff members that will be attending as auditors and communications personnel.

The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church will be on the select committee of thirteen specialists that will make the final edit to the final document that will be issued as a result of a month of deliberations at the Synod on Young People. His Beatitude Sviatoslav was one of three members specifically appointed by Pope Francis. His Beatitude who has a doctorate in Moral Theology from Rome's Angelicum University is also well versed in several languages, which makes his participation and contribution to the Synod discussions very significant. He too has made young people a focus of his ministry. He worked with university students and seminarians prior to being chosen as Bishop of Argentina. Since being elected by the Ukrainian Synod to be the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church he has written pastoral letters directed to them and has repeatedly met with young people wherever he travels in Ukraine and throughout the world. Many still remember his special encounter with young people at St. Nicholas church in Winnipeg during his 2012 visit.

These two are part of a group of at least 21 Eastern Catholic delegate-bishops from various Churches. They are the heads of or representatives of the Coptic, Melchite, Syrian, Maronite, Chaldean, Armenian, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankar, Ethiopian, Romanian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Eritrean and Hungarian Catholic Churches.

Bishop Bryan Bayda, who has made numerous trips to Mexico related to the famous shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe makes a Spanish presentation to Pope Francis on behalf of Catholic Schools in Saskatchewan and Catholic Youth of Ukraine who wanted to present the Pope with gifts and support.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav in giving an interview to Vatican News, explained why he is convinced that Ukrainian Youth, because of their spiritual values and their love of family and purity of conscience are a light for youth throughout the world. Read comments [HERE].

Every Bishop at the Synod, and lay observers, are given at least one 5-minute speech at some point during the month-long synod. It is then when they can present the points that they feel are most important and that need to be brought to the attention of the whole plenary body. They are encouraged to talk and listen and discuss a lot in the small group meetings that occur throughout the synod. When addressing his brother Bishops from around the world on the Synod floor, His Beatitude Sviatoslav stressed the importance of Bishops, Priests, Sisters and the Church as a whole not only to prayer for young people, but WITH them. Read comments [HERE].

We sort of understand the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. It is the highest governing body of our Church. All the Ukrainian Bishops from around the world gather (usually in Ukraine) for about 10-days of discussions and decision-making and planning for the good of our Church. But this Synod in Rome is more an advisory body at which only representatives of the thousands of Catholic Bishops gather for a whole month. What is the Rome Synod all about and how doe it work? Here is a brief video from the Synod 2018 website that gives a bit of an explanation....

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