The gospels of Matthew and Luke contain diverse and multi-faceted accounts of the birth of the Messiah.

The Church recalls these accounts in her liturgies over the Christmas period. It is most appropriate that we recall here that part of the account popularly known as “the flight into Egypt.” This is the story of the Holy Family on its journey to Egypt. Mary and Joseph accompanied by the infant Jesus set out into the desert for Egypt. The journey is long and arduous. By undertaking this journey they have become the archetypes of all migrants. Their story is the story of our ancestors too. Essentially the storyline concerns the rescue of the child saviour from the machinations of the wicked king by to Egypt. This story is found in the gospel of St Matthew chapter 2 verses 13-23. It is a backdrop to the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s plan to reflect on emigration at its 2020 Sobor. Bear in mind that 1 million Ukrainian workers have left Ukraine for Poland.

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The theme of the Patriarchal Sobor in 2020 is “Emigration, settlements and the global unity of the UGCC.” The main motto is: “The Church is with you always and everywhere.” As mentioned in the post-synodal Pastoral Letter of this year on Communion and unity in the UGCC: “Our Church is no longer a local reality, limited to a particular territory or pastoral context. Today she is at the same time global and particular, Ukrainian and multi-national.” The upcoming session of the Patriarchal Assembly-Sobor aims to broadly analyse the challenges which stand before the global UGCC, and to help us find the best ways to “gather those who have been dispersed,” and to grow in the communion of our autonomous Church. Therefore, its chief task is a common search of mechanisms to build our unity at the parish, eparchial/exarchical, metropolitan and global levels.

How do we find our faithful where they are today?

The steps to be taken in preparation for our Eparchial Sobor involve reflection on three questions which are here spelt out by His Beatitude.

First – where are we today?  “Today we see three phenomena of migration, immigration and emigration. Migration is when people move within their country, their state, even their diocese. And every time we move, we are in danger of falling out of the network of our communities. Immigration is when a lot of people come to us from abroad. How can they be integrated into parish communities? There is also the phenomenon of emigration when people leave our diocese, metropolis, Church, country. How do we find our faithful where they are today?”

As far as our diocese, the parish meets the needs of pastoral care that our faithful have today

The second question – what are we like today? How do we respond to the specific needs of our faithful? “The Church must become dynamic and mobile following the mobility of our faithful. At your local diocesan councils, ask yourself whether the network of the presence of our parishes correspond to the actual presence of our faithful? How can we focus on going where we are not today? How do we go where we are expected today? As far as our diocese, the parish meets the needs of pastoral care that our faithful have today.”

The Christmas break may provide time for relaxation and prayerful reflection on these questions.

The third question is what should we do today, how should we be a Church today? The phenomenon of the new atomization can be very dangerous if we do not find the appropriate elements, how to gather today, how to create a community in that dynamic movement. How can we be one global Church at different levels?”

There is a great deal to think about here. The Christmas break may provide time for relaxation and prayerful reflection on these questions.

 

This post is also available in: Ukrainian