On December 31, 2020, our Eparchy proclaimed 2021 as a special “Year of the Family”. Since then, a national committee has been formed and March 2021, the “Year of the Family”, officially begins.
I personally believe that this celebration is God’s blessing on our Church and Ukrainian Community in Australia.
The change in leadership in our Eparchy is an important moment in our history. We have a new Bishop, Mykola. He will need to get to know all the faithful in our Eparchy. He fully endorses the “Year of the Family”. He has already been engaged in planning the activities. He has assisted in the creation of the program which is already in the hands of all parishes.
Our new bishop will have to invite people to take up the challenge to work with him in the various pastoral and legal structures that are necessary to manage the Eparchial ministry. Our Eparchial Statutes and Canon law require that all officials, committees, and positions be filled with the coming of the new Eparch. There is no doubt that the new leadership in our church may come from those who volunteer to work on the Year of the Family activities.
The future of our Ukrainian Community, especially our Christian Community is based on strong families and a deep faith. Religious education is the key to all of this. We have some of the resources we need, others will need to be acquired.
We live in Australia, but we need to identify very strongly with our1000 year tradition we come from in Ukraine.
Being a Ukrainian Catholic in Australia presents us with definite challenges. Our Eastern Church is so different to the church we find here in the western world. We live in Australia, but we need to identify very strongly with our1000 year tradition we come from in Ukraine. These are our spiritual family roots. They will need to be strongly emphasised as we explore these roots.
Many of us have family connections in Ukraine, or with those who have immigrated from Ukraine. The Year of the Family is also about the family tree, both spiritual and physical.
There is a generational change happening in our community at present. Our future also depends on our close ties within our own families and parishes. Parish life will need to be re-examined in the light of all these needs.
At present we have very strong leadership on the worldwide stage of our church. Our Patriarch is young and vibrant. There are many people working on producing the resources we need in all aspects of family life. We now have a new Bishop who is also young and energetic and has a lot of enthusiasm.
We need the “Year of the Family” more than we might realize. I pray that our Lord will bless us and guide us.
Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM
This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper