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Bishop Peter Stasiuk
Bishop Peter Stasiuk / ©catholicukes.org.au

Bishop Peter Christmas Pastoral Letter

Christ is born!

Glorify him.

All of us love to give and receive gifts. Gift giving is a tradition we have inherited from the first gift which was the gift God gave to us when he sent his Son to dwell amongst us. When Jesus was born the three wise men came and gave their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. So we too who have received the gift of God’s presence amongst us have an obligation to share our gift. Parents and grandparents give Christmas gifts to their children. We should not forget that God has given us the Church as his gift to us. In turn our Church gives us the gift of the Ukrainian Catechism, Christ Our Pascha which was translated into English in October, 2016. Just last month the catechism was also made available online in a user friendly fashion at the website: http://catechism.royaldoors.net Thus it is now easier than ever to access the text this invaluable resource. We are now able to readily share our faith through the many forms of catechetical instruction. These include learning from the catechism, Biblical catechesis, liturgical catechesis and adult catechesis. By this I do not mean to imply that we need to know every detail in the Catechism and the Bible for our salvation. What we need to know is that these are the sources of life for us. Our Journey in faith to God is supported by these means.

We should not forget that God has given us the Church as his gift to us

Next year the Ukrainian Catholic Church will hold a synod dedicated to considering the theme of catechesis. Our Church will invite us to share the gift of our faith with those who need it in order to live a life which God intended for us.

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I take this opportunity to also mention the theme of Evangelization. It is centre stage in the mind of many in our Church. That theme is not new. Our Popes have been telling us from the time of Paul VI to Francis that there must be a new evangelization. Jesus Christ must be proposed anew! We must work to create spaces for people to come to know Jesus as the living Lord, awaken that hunger and begin to form them to make them disciples. Evangelization takes the heart of our Christian identity to be mission.

We must work to create spaces for people to come to know Jesus as the living Lord, awaken that hunger and begin to form them to make them disciples.

The reason we come to Church and celebrate the Divine Liturgy is so that we may become close to God, to pray to him and to communicate with him. At Christmas time we should especially make an effort to renew our faith. Every year we baptise around forty babies and so initiate them into the life of faith. The faith which most of us received through Baptism and Chrismation must be constantly renewed if it is to be a living faith. Christmas is the right time to commit ourselves again to the loving Lord Jesus Christ who is always ready to welcome us home.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk 

This post is also available in: Ukrainian