This is a national proverb very much appropriate to my year, which with God’s grace and help is slowly and quietly approaching its end.

In December 2019, when I was returning from Ukraine to America, I had plans. However, God had his plans for me. On January the 15th, my plans were completely changed, but not only my plans, my whole life. First of all, I was nominated bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church in Australia.

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It was not straight forward to accept this decision and to agree to become bishop. However, after one test came another- the corona virus pandemic was announced. Everything came to a halt and my consecration as bishop was postponed from April 26 to June 7. All my plans were changed again. I was planning to travel to America on May 22 and serve my first Divine Liturgy as bishop there. I planned to then travel from America to Australia where my enthronement was to take place on June 7- the rite of leading me in as ruling bishop.

In the prayer at Great Compline which we serve at the feasts of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, Theophany and Easter we read these words: “Draw up plans, but they will not succeed…”

The pandemic has paralysed a great number of people throughout the world. And I was not an exception. After the ceremony, I truly believed that I would be able to fly to Australia to commence my episcopal ministry. All documentation for granting a visa was in place. However, this certainty soon changed unexpectedly to it is not possible to be granted a visa, because there was a stringent quarantine in the state of Victoria.

We, as an Eparchy, turned to the government of Australia to assist us in the visa application. At the initiative of His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav a dialogue was held between the Vatican and Australia. We were assured that in a short time I would be granted a visa to serve in Australia. Unfortunately, this did not eventuate.

God allowed me to share in the sufferings of millions of people when I contracted corona virus. Bishop Peter wrote the latest application for me to be granted a visa in early November. Again, I believe and hope that I will be able to be present with the faithful of our church in Australia at the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. I request all the faithful of the Eparchy in Melbourne, Australia   to pray for this intention.

May God bless and lead you and your families.

   + Mykola Bychok CSSr