Bishop Mykola Bychok paid a pastoral visit to the faithful of the farthest part of the continent, Western Australia.

As the father visits the children or his relatives, such were the visit of the faithful Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne for Ukrainian Catholics in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

The bishop stayed in Perth for two weeks so that the faithful could meet and get to know the local Ukrainian community, which is very far from other states. A meeting with the Parish Council took place on Saturday, 26 of March, and a broader meeting with representatives of all Ukrainian organizations took place on Monday, 28 of March in the parish hall. The main question that was asked by all present was: how the Ukrainian church, parish and community can help new arrivals from Ukraine fleeing the war. Deacon Greg Lowe, Director of the West Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, and Mr Stefan Romaniv, Chairman of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations, were also invited to the Zoom Conference.

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This visit was marked by two events. The first, through close cooperation with the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, on Sunday, 27 of March, in St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral was celebrated the Hierarchial Divine Liturgy for Peace and Security in Ukraine, presided over by Bishop Mykola Bychok, C.Ss.R., with concelebrants Bishop Timothy Costelloe, SDB, Archbishop of Perth and Bishop Don Proxton, Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Perth together with the clergy and faithful of our Eparchy and the Catholic Archdiocese.

The second event took place on Sunday, 3 of April. Bishop Mykola celebrated the Hierarchial’s Divine Liturgy in St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Perth with Father Ihor Holovko, Parish Administrator and Syncellus of clergy, and Father Richard Charlwood, Assistant Priest.

In the homily, the Hierarch emphasized: “The Gospel reading today gives a concrete answer to the patience and trials brought by the war caused by insatiability, when the devil completely occupies man, depriving him of freedom and the right to life. We see something similar today in this war – the enemy seeks to take away our freedom, independence and take away the right to life. Our Lord gives the answer: “This race is cast out only by prayer and fasting.” Therefore, no victory is possible without God’s participation – the preacher continued.

After singing “Mnohaya Lita”, Bishop Mykola especially thanked the priests, Sister Nicodema, SSMI, the church choir and the Parish Council for their service in the Church. Later in the  evening, the Bishop celebrated the Second Hierarchial Divine Liturgy at the Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church in Northam, 90 kilometres East of the state capital, with Father Ihor Holovko and Father Konrad Gagatek, Assistant Priest of the local St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish.

After each Holy Liturgy, the parishioners cordially greeted their Bishop with delicious dishes in the Ukrainian tradition. During the lunch, Sister Nicodema, SSMI, Parish Council, and other representatives of the organizations greeted the Bishop as well. Also, Bishop Mykola addressed the audience, first of all thanking the pioneers, who are an example for us today in the service of the Church, who sacrificed all the best for God. The Bishop further explained that we, the clergy and the laity, are happy to be in the same ship of salvation called the Church of Christ, headed by the Lord.

In conclusion, Father Ihor once again expressed his gratitude to Bishop Mykola and to all; also he invited the Bishop to the Parish Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. So, also he continued, that the faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Western Australia live far from the Cathedral and other Ukrainian communities, but we know that we are especially close in the heart and in the prayers of our Bishop Mykola Bychok.