Our Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Australia is not only “Zooming”, but it is also “Skyping”, “going to meetings”, “YouTubing”, “Facebooking”, “Twittering”, and not forgetting about the old fashioned “telephoning”.

The coronavirus has had a lot of negative influence in the world, but there are positives out there as well. We have all learned how to effectually communicate with each other.

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On the Patriarchal level, our Patriarch Sviatoslav has been meeting with all our bishops around the world. Recently most of our bishops joined by Zoom to wish him God’s blessings on his 50th Birthday. He is meeting with our Bishops in each Metropolitanate. Two weeks ago, Bishop Peter Stasiuk and Bishop Elect Mykola Bychok participated in a meeting of the Bishops of the Southern Hemisphere. At that meeting, His Beatitude expressed a desire to meet with all the clergy in Australia. That meeting took place on Friday May 29. That was the first time many in our Eparchy met our new Bishop Mykola.

His Beatitude started the meeting by asking “how is the Covid 19 affecting you personally and as a church?” This question started a very diverse discussion amongst the 27 participants in the meeting.

As the Patriarch later pointed out, the pandemic has changed the whole church. It will never be the same again. We have to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit amongst us and be aware of what God is telling us.

A very interesting pastoral discussion developed.

On May 25, 18 priests and Deacons met on Zoom to discuss various pastoral questions. It was decided that these meetings should take place every month. The next one is scheduled on June 11.

Bishops Peter and Mykola meet a couple of times a week on Skype and Zoom to discuss issues.

The Eparchial Financial Council has been meeting once a month on Zoom to work on administrative issues.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference met from May 7-13 through Zoom. 52 Bishops and others met for 6 days at morning and afternoon sessions for their yearly meeting. Bishop Peter attended all the sessions from his office.

Bishop Peter tries to contact the clergy on a weekly basis, just to keep in touch. This is done by the old fashioned way – the phone.

We should not forget that so many of our parishes are webcasting Liturgical services and funerals on a daily or weekly basis on Facebook or YouTube. Numbers of participants vary but there have been some huge numbers (up to 1,700 per service) have been recorded. This is a very good indication that people actually want to be part of it and that our Eparchy is doing a great service to our faithful.

It is obviously important to meet and talk if we are to remain united in our mission which comes from our vocation to serve Christ.