Stamford, CT—The Patriarchal Catechetical Commission of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, under the chairmanship of Bishop Peter Stasiuk, C.Ss.R., Eparchy of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, held a two day meeting here, October 23-24, 2017 with the hierarchs and catechetical representatives of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States.
The meeting is one of a series of meetings that the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission is holding throughout the world with eparchial catechetical commissions to assess the present status of catechetical formation and evangelization in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The findings will be presented at the Patriarchal Synod of Bishops in 2018.
The Monday session began with a welcome address from Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka from the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.
In his remarks, Metropolitan Soroka expressed his optimism for the future of catechetical instruction and formation.
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Metropolitan Stefan stated, “We need to inspire new approaches to sharing the faith in life-giving and relevant ways. My hope for this gathering is that we will focus on imaginative ways we can share the excellent catechism material which has recently been developed within our Ukrainian Catholic Church. I am fearful that if we confine ourselves to traditional methods of teaching catechism, the results will continue to be minimal.
He asked, “Can we develop creative ways by which we can entice parents to seek catechism material on various websites? Can we provide for the parents to study the material with their children and then to meet periodically in a group with a catechism teacher or with their parish priest? Can we develop appealing short messages which might raise the interest of young minds and their parents to know more about their faith? Such messages could be shared on websites, Facebook, twitter, and other such sites.”
Bishop Stasiuk addressed the topic, “We Have the Catechism (Christ, Our Pascha)—What Next?” In his presentation he candidly expressed many of the difficulties that exist in parishes, from size, to lack of children, to commitment of parents, to secularization, that must be confronted in the present age. He cited the need to transform parish life from one of maintenance to one of mission, drawing upon the central theme from the book of Father James Mallon, Divine Renovation: Bringing your parish from Maintenance to Mission.
Rev. Dr. Bryan Kelty made a presentation about the importance of Sacred Scripture in Catechetical Service and the interrelationship of both in the lifelong formation of Christians.
Considerable time was given to discussing the present state of catechesis with presentations from representatives of the Philadelphia Archeparchy and the eparchies of Stamford, Chicago and Parma.
Nazar Duda and Oksana Boiko, from the UGCC Patriarchal Catechetical Commission made presentations on catechesis for young adults and also on the materials that have been prepared by the UGCC Patriarchal Catechetical Commission.
Sister Luiza Ciupa, SSMI, a member of the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission, presented insights and the needs for updating the Catechetical Directory of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, from the St. Nicholas Eparchy of Chicago also made a presentation on the importance of liturgy to catechesis and how all the members of the entire church must strive to grow into experiencing a living faith, which must include all the services of our liturgical tradition.
In considering future needs, the group would like to see the establishment of a Metropolitan Catechetical Commission, the development of ongoing formation and certification programs for catechists, coordination of the list of catechetical materials available in both the English and Ukrainian languages, and the increased access of these materials on the internet for clergy, catechists, parents, youth, and all the faithful.
Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, Bishop Andriy Rabiy, Rev. Archpriest John M. Fields and Rev. Volodymyr Popyk represented the Philadelphia Archeparchy.
Bishop Paul Chomnycky, OSBM, Bishop emeritus Basil H. Losten, Sr. Eliane Ilnitski, SSMI, Rev. Kiril Angelov, Rev. Vasyl Colopelnic and Rev. Roman Malyarchuk were the representatives of the Stamford Eparchy.
Representing the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas Eparchy in Chicago were Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, Kateryna Stasyukand Rev. Volodymyr Kushnir.
Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Rev. Andrii Romankiv, Sr. Ann Laszok, OSBM, Zachary T. Svdiak,
Renata Harmatiy and Kathy Rudakewich were the participants from the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio.
Metropolitan Soroka was the main celebrant during the Monday morning Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Chapel of St. Basil’s Seminary. On Tuesday morning, Bishop Chomnycky was the main celebrant during the Divine Liturgy.
Very Rev. Archpriest John M. Fields