One phase of World Youth Day (WYD) is over; perhaps the easy part of it.  What have we all learned?  What does it all mean?  What opportunities are now opened to us?  These are all good questions!  Obviously it will take some time to let it all sink in, but we can now start writing our observations on paper.  We can only start by thinking about the event, ourselves and later sharing our thoughts with each other.

 My first impression?  The music was such an important part of our program!  The WYD choir, under the direction of Symon Kohut and the choir inSydneyunder the direction of Wasyl Opryshko, seemed to be at the heart of our celebrations.  Perhaps it is because we Ukrainians love to sing and we can do so quite beautifully.  The music was not only central but, in fact, an agent of the Holy Spirit.  After all, as we say, “he who sings – prays twice”.  Our Ukrainian Catholic Church is a liturgical church and all liturgies should really be sung.

 The music of the two weeks in Melbourne and Sydney was world class.  It helped us to pray, to focus on God, to teach us, to unite us as a community and to put a perspective on all that happened.  Our music and our choirs made us proud to be Ukrainians fromAustralia.  They united us in common purpose as a Ukrainian community.  The music empowered us and all who heard it to be creative on our future of liturgical life.  In addition to approximately 500 Ukrainian who were present at these events, we have been told that about 500 million people around the world saw the events of WYD on television.  It was a huge blessing just to be on the stage and in the program.

 What am I trying to say?  It’s simple.  Our future in the Eparchy depends on our ability to carry on with our choirs and music.  We need to pray more through our lovely musical tradition.  Each parish needs to continue to search for means to use our church music in the most professional way possible to make our prayers as meaningful as possible. 

 We need to continue what we have already done and look for new ways to show our church and the Byzantine tradition with all the beauty it has.  During WYD08 the Holy Spirit used our music to speak to us.

 There are other elements of God’s ways which we can learn from our WYD experience.  For example, the preaching, catechesis from the Pope and Bishops was simply outstanding.  How this can help us will be explored.

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