From June 25 to 27, 2022, Bishop Mykola Bychok, the Eparch of Melbourne, paid a pastoral visit to the most remote church of the Eparchy, parish the Nativity of John the Baptist in Perth, Western Australia.

Preparations for the parish feast as well as for the first Solemn Holy Communion took place on Saturday. Before performing the first Holy Sacrament of Confession for children, Fr. Ihor Holovko, administrator of the parish, addressed the children with a catechetical word, after which eleven children began their first holy confession.

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Sunday was crowned by many events in the parish and beyond it. Eleven children solemnly received Holy Communion on the day of the parish feast, which will forever be etched in their memories in a unforgettable way. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was presided over by Bishop Mykola Bychok together with Fr. Ihor Holovko, pastor of the church, Fr. Richard Charleswood, assistant of pastor, and Fr. Brian McKenna, Vicar for the Clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.

In his sermon, the Bishop addressed the children in a special way, using a basket with various bread products and grapes, teaching children about earthly and heavenly food. The Hierarch emphasized the words of Christ: “Do not forbid children to come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Children are a good example for us adults how to sincerely love, forgive and give joy to others. The Lord who comes to your heart today wants to live in it forever. May the first Solemn Communion be a good start for you in your spiritual journey to a loving God.”

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Mykola expressed his gratitude on behalf of the entire Melbourne Eparchy of Sts Peter and Paul to s. Nicodema Zemlyak, Sister Servant for many years of service in our Eparchy and in particular way in the parish of the Nativity of John the Baptist in Perth, Western Australia. As a special gift of gratitude, the Bishop presented to s. Nicodema a letter of great recognition and gratitude.

In the evening, Bishop Mykola and Fr. Ihor Holovko took part in the concert “Prayer for Ukraine”. The bishop addressed all those present with an introductory speech, noting that in this war the enemy is purposefully destroying the Ukrainian people as a nation and, unfortunately, very often innocent children suffer from this. The Hierarch also expressed his gratitude to the organizers, musicians, attendees and the whole of Australia for their great support for Ukraine. The concert featured works by Ukrainian and Polish composers performed by Ukrainian Iryna Buevska-Kovel (piano) and Japanese Aikiko Miyazawa (violin).

This ended the three-day pastoral visit of Bishop Mykola to Western Australia.