When you speak of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, you are at the same time speaking of its Divine Liturgy and other liturgical services.

Many of us are going to have to live inside for quite some time. We really do not know how long.

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Today in the midst of a new plague, the church, in modern times, has to discover how it can continue to be a church in very trying circumstances.

It’s not easy because nothing seems to be the same anymore. The challenge is to re-examine our theology, liturgy services, the way we practice our sacraments, or how we think of ourselves as a church and even our relationships with the outside world.

Even though our public liturgies are halted, our liturgical spirit must continue. Liturgy is a service of God and our neighbour. God is with us and in us. We will continue to offer service and support to one another. We will get creative in how we do that. We will certainly be drawn into deeper prayer. We will discover Christ in new and unique places and circumstances. We will be a better people for it. We will become a better church.

The challenge is to re-examine our theology, liturgy services, the way we practice our sacraments, or how we think of ourselves as a church and even our relationships with the outside world.

Today’s almost indefinite lockdowns, social distancing, closed churches, are forcing us to rethink our idea of the church. The church buildings may be shut down, but the church is open because we in fact are the church.

You have to study church history to realize that quarantine restrictions have always been a part of church practices during plagues or epidemics throughout the ages.

The church has always instructed its followers to take every effort in defence of human life. This at the same time urging them to continue to serve God and their neighbours.

The church buildings may be shut down, but the church is open because we in fact are the church.

One of the challenges is how we can be visible, present in homes without the structures we had had in place for so long? I am pleased to say that in the beginning of this health crisis, our clergy are showing remarkable initiative to be able to do just that i.e. use of social media, modern technology and other creative ventures.

It just seems to me that all of us together, clergy and laypeople, will find a way to overcome this challenge which has been placed before us. The church already has these gifts, we are going to have to rediscover them.

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper, April 2020

This post is also available in: Ukrainian