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 CNS Story:

UKRAINE-SYNOD Sep-26-2007 (480 words) xxxi

Ukrainian bishops to discuss evangelization, priestly formation

By Regina Linskey
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The world's Ukrainian Catholic bishops were to discuss evangelization and priestly formation in Philadelphia, where they were celebrating the first Eastern Catholic synod to be held in the United States.

The bishops also will discuss the revival of youth ministry, said Msgr. Peter Waslo, chancellor, judicial vicar and director of communications for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

Because of the lack of youth ministry, "we lost probably two generations already," he told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview Sept. 26.

Liturgical renewal of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and staying "true to who we are" are on the list of topics, Msgr. Waslo said. The Eastern church's liturgical traditions have been abandoned and are more like the Latin-rite church, he said.

The Sept. 26-Oct. 6 dates for the synod, which will move to Washington Oct. 4, were chosen to coincide with the centennial celebration of the arrival in America of the first Byzantine Catholic bishop, Bishop Stephen Ortynsky.

Ukrainians began to migrate to the United States in large numbers in the late 1800s. Today, the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America has its own jurisdiction and four eparchies, or dioceses: the Archeparchy of Philadelphia and the eparchies of St. Nicholas in Chicago; Stamford, Conn.; and St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church is one of 22 Eastern Catholic churches that originated in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church is fully in union with Rome but has maintained the liturgical and spiritual heritage shared with the Orthodox churches. The Ukrainian church has its own distinctive liturgical and legal systems, but is considered equal in dignity, rights and obligations to the Latin tradition within the Catholic Church.

In Ukraine, the Eastern-rite church is larger than the Latin-rite Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has urged Ukraine's Eastern- and Latin-rite bishops to meet regularly to coordinate pastoral programs and further ecumenical relations with the Orthodox churches. In a Sept. 24 Vatican audience with 22 Ukrainian bishops from both rites, the pope said that meeting together at least once a year would give the bishops a chance to plan ways to make their pastoral work "ever more harmonious and effective."

Inspired by prayer to do God's will, it will not be difficult for the Eastern- and Latin-rite Catholics in Ukraine "to intensify a cordial collaboration" for the benefit of all Christians, he said. Harmony between the two rites is also "an indispensable condition for ecumenical dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters and the other churches," he said.

During previous meetings, Ukrainian bishops have addressed the church's and priests' roles in Ukrainian politics. In 2006, Ukrainian Catholic Church officials barred priests from campaigning in the country's elections.

New bishops for the dioceses in Ukraine are ordinarily elected at a synod, but are subject to papal confirmation.

END


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