29 January 2013
In this October 2011 photo, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter speaks to reporters at CNEWA’s office in New York. (photo: Erin Edwards)
Someone familiar to all of us at CNEWA will be preparing the Way of the Cross, which is prayed in Rome’s Coliseum on Good Friday: Cardinal Bechara Peter Rai, the Maronite patriarch of Antioch. (The VIS announcement is here.)
In 2011, before he was named a cardinal, the patriarch paid us a visit here in New York. The visit attracted lots of media attention at the time.
More recently, the cardinal played a critical role in Pope Benedict’s historic trip to Lebanon.
The cardinal joins a long and storied list of contributors to this particular devotion. Last year, for the first time, a married couple, Danilo and Anna Maria Zanzucchi, composed the meditations. In 2005, the meditations and prayers were written by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Below is a video report, from Rome Reports:
26 September 2012
Tags: Prayers/Hymns/Saints Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai Maronite Catholic Rome
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In this image from 9 September, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, celebrates the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Cathedral in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (photo: CNS/David Lipnowski)
Yesterday, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church spoke to Canada’s bishops, and had some harsh words about the threat from secularism in the West.
From Catholic News Service:
“The current economic crisis is merely the symptom of a much deeper spiritual and cultural crisis,” Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk told the annual plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on 25 September. “As Western society rejects old moral structures and values, it finds that its moral GPS has no fixed and stationary points of reference.”
Archbishop Shevchuk said the church must find “new courage” to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to contemporary society to provide “an anchor and compass.”
”We live in societies where virtue and goodness are frequently a veneer for religious intolerance, personal gratification and moral decay,” he said. “Secularism would like us to be closed in a little box of Sunday worship.”
The former Soviet Union used that approach to religion, he said.
”Separation of church and state has become separation of faith values from society, yet our mission is to preach the word of God to all and to be a constant sign of God’s loving presence through social ministry,” he said.
27 August 2012
Tags: Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk
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Bishop Boris Gudziak was ordained yesterday at St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine.
(photo: Press Office of Ukrainian Catholic University)
On Sunday 26 August, Father Boris Gudziak, a long-time friend of CNEWA and former professor of mine, was ordained a bishop for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Bishop Boris was born in 1960 in Syracuse, New York. After completing his Ph.D. in Slavic and Byzantine History at Harvard University, he went to Ukraine and in 1992 founded the Institute of Church History. He played a key role in reestablishing the Lviv Theological Academy, which in 2002 became the Ukrainian Catholic University, the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union. From 2002 to 2012, he was the university's rector.
Bishop Boris’s consecration took place at St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine, and his Principal Consecrator was His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The new bishop is appointed as the Apostolic Exarch for the Ukrainian Greek Catholics of France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Two weeks from now, Bishop Boris, along with all other bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, will participate in the Church’s Synod in Winnipeg, Canada.
22 August 2012
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada
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Girls wearing traditional dress participate in an Easter celebration in Jakubany, a village in northern Slovakia. (photo: Father Damian Saraka)
In the current issue of ONE, we profile the Slovak Greek Catholic Church and look at some of its rich religious history.
In the celebration of the sacraments, Slovak Greek Catholic parish communities use Slovak and its Latin alphabet as well as Church Slavonic and its Cyrillic alphabet. And its territory is restricted to parish communities in the Slovak Republic.
Yet the church’s origins and development are synonymous with the various Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic churches of Central Europe. Together, the ancestors of these Catholics received the Christian faith from Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the late ninth century. And they professed their full communion with the bishop of Rome in the chapel of the castle of Uzhorod in April 1646, centuries after the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) churches had drifted apart.
You can get a sense of the tradition and culture that continue to enliven Slovakia in the images below, accompanied by a beautiful Carpathian chant.
20 July 2012
Tags: Slovakia ONE magazine Greek Catholic Church Eastern Catholics Slovak Catholic Church
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Last weekend (14 and 15 July) was quite special for a great many young Ukrainians; over 100,000 participated in a youth pilgrimage to the shrine of Mary, the Mother of God, in the western Ukrainian village of Zarvanytsia. The shrine is particularly known for its miraculous icon of the Mother of God. Even in the days of the Soviet Union, when Ukrainian Greek Catholicism was outlawed, the site drew thousands of pilgrims who risked everything to profess publicly their Christian faith. Since the independence of Ukraine, the shrine has become “the Lourdes of Ukraine” and one of the most popular pilgrimage locations of Eastern Europe.
Among the pilgrims to Zarvanytsia this year was Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour, bishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee. The archbishop came to Ukraine to witness the flourishing faith of the Ukrainian people and to ask them to pray for Christians of the Holy Land who currently face challenges due to violent conflicts and extremism.
The program in Zarvanytsia was led by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, apostolic nuncio to Ukraine, and other bishops of both Ukrainian Greek and Latin Catholic Churches also participated. Many of the faithful walked hundreds of kilometers in order to enjoy the spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage to the fullest.
One highlight of the event was the candle procession from the parish church to the recently built monument dedicated to the Theotokos. For video footage, see below:
2 July 2012
Tags: Ukraine Pilgrimage/pilgrims Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Ukrainian Catholic Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour
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Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches; and Pope Benedict XVI meet at the end of the ROACO general assembly in Rome. (photo: L'Osservatore Romano)
“Rome has a way of bringing it all into focus,” Monsignor John Kozar observes. It is the “universality” of the city that the CNEWA president credits with providing a unique sense of perspective on the matters at hand.
Two weeks ago, he visited Rome to meet with religious and civil leaders at several important events, including the 85th annual ROACO (Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Eastern Churches) and the meeting of the Bethlehem University board of regents. Now, back in his New York office, he recounts the details of his trip.
Convoked by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and hosted by the pope, ROACO gathers representatives from Catholic donor agencies serving the Eastern churches and church leaders to plan and coordinate aid.
“It’s exciting to know firsthand how many other agencies there are committed to reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the Eastern tradition,” Msgr. Kozar says enthusiastically. He adds that engaging with Eastern churches has been a source of growth for him. “It’s like learning to use my other lung.”
The proceedings gave Msgr. Kozar the opportunity to confer with members of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches — Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect; Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, secretary; and Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, undersecretary — as well as church leaders, such as Cardinal George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Joining them were other important leaders, such as Archbishop Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio to the Holy Land; and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., custos of the Holy Land (the leader of the Friars Minor in the Holy Land) and a “dear friend and great collaborator.”
With world-class translators working in four languages, they discussed the pressing issues facing the churches and regions they serve. “We all want to improve: to do good works better,” Msgr. Kozar says.
One of the most important subjects discussed was Christian emigration: Iraqi Christians migrating to Switzerland, Ukrainian Christians moving to Canada, and other such trends in the wake of political upheaval and strife. These trends, Msgr. Kozar notes, require not only attention, but also the ability to change some operations to accommodate geographically shifting needs.
At the event’s conclusion, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an address to the assembly, discussing the challenges facing the churches of the East, insisting that “every effort should be made” to achieve peace in Syria. “May you always be eloquent signs of the charity that flows from the heart of Christ and presents the church to the world in her true mission and identity by placing her at the service of God who is love.” Following tradition, the pope then warmly received each participant.
“I had the opportunity to thank the Holy Father for the honor and privilege of doing this great work on his behalf,” reports Msgr. Kozar.
The work of sharing the light of charity and cooperation with the churches of the East is great, with much to be done the world over. However, those who attended the assembly left ready and eager to continue this work — armed with clear focus and two strong lungs.
14 June 2012
Tags: Unity Msgr. John E. Kozar Eastern Churches Eastern Catholics Rome
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Olha Tomkiv, Daryna Palykh and Iryna Tomkiv come together for a family reunion.
(photo: Petro Didula)
In the March 2011 issue of ONE Mariya Tytarenko reported on the disappearance of Ukraine’s villages and the efforts to preserve Ukrainian culture and history. She met with many elderly residents, such as the Tomkiv sisters, who shared a desire to keep tradition alive:
Though a widow living on her own, Mrs. Palykh–Tomkiv has three sisters living nearby, 61–year–old Daryna Palykh, 70–year–old Iryna Tomkiv and 80–year–old Olha Tomkiv. The sisters survive their parents as well as two brothers and a sister.
On the feast day of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God, the family gathers at Iryna’s home. “Glory to Jesus Christ,” she says, using the traditional greeting in the village to welcome visitors, who include several relatives from the area and two nieces from Lviv.
Iryna has earned a reputation in the region for her exceptional embroidery skills. Her elaborate needlework adorns almost every item in the house, including napkins, tablecloths, pillowcases, curtains, wall décor and icons.
For more, read What’s Next for Ukraine’s Villages?
16 May 2012
Tags: Village life Ukraine Eastern Europe Eastern Catholics
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Children from Zolochiv orphanage in Ukraine thank their generous supporters.
(photo: Sister Martyna Kostak)
Earlier this month, CNEWA Canada received good news from the apostolic congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Mary Immaculate in Zolochiv, Ukraine. Sister Martyna Kostak has happily informed us that renovations to their orphanage were successfully completed and that the funds given by CNEWA Canada’s donors in 2011 were used to equip an in-house gymnasium for their adopted children.
Currently in Ukraine, due to various socioeconomic problems, there are around 100,000 orphans and street children. Only a small percentage of them end up in orphanages because of parents’ deaths; the rest are orphaned mostly because of abandonment, imprisonment or alcoholism of their parents. Most of these kids are cared for by massive, poorly financed and badly managed state orphanages, which inherited their approach to dealing with social problems from the Soviet times.
With the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church reemerged from half a century of underground existence. Now, its religious orders once again engage systematically in establishment of social institutions that not only help people in need, but also teach the Gospel values of compassion, love and solidarity.
In 2011, besides supporting children in Zolochiv, CNEWA Canada has also helped orphans through the Sisters of the Holy Family in Bibrka and through the Social Center Prominnia in Zaporizhzhia, in central Ukraine.
15 May 2012
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Orphans/Orphanages CNEWA Canada
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Pictures of the Virgin Mary are ubiquitous in the village of Hodasz, Hungary. Above, an image of Mary adorns the wall of a home. (photo:Balazs Gardi/VII Network)
Earlier this month, we wrote about how during the month of May, Catholics around the world are honoring Mary. The Catholic News Service drew attention to how Catholics in Rome pay tribute to the mother of Jesus this month.
In CNEWA’s world, the Virgin Mary is revered in various ways. Images of the Virgin Mary, like the one above, appear in almost every house in Hodasz, a Hungarian village that is home to a large Romany community. To learn more about this community, check out Our Town in the March 2008 issue of ONE.
23 April 2012
Tags: Icons Greek Catholic Church Hungary Gypsy
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CNEWA’s Vice President for Communications Michael La Civita, Father Martin Vavrak, Bishop Milan Šášik and CNEWA’s Vice President for Development Gabriel Delmonaco met at our New York offices on Friday. (photo: CNEWA).
Central Europe’s Carpatho-Rusyns have been engulfed in a violent whirl of ethnic antagonism for centuries. Subjugated as serfs, these Eastern Slavs worked the soil, kept the livestock or cut the timber of their Austrian, Hungarian or Polish masters. Such conditions, coupled with forced assimilation, hardly favored the development of a distinct Rusyn identity. Nevertheless, such an identity did grow, thanks to their distinctive Slavic dialect, their Byzantine Christian faith and their unique plainchant, or prostopinije.
A unified church, gathering them all under one mantle, does not exist. Carpatho-Rusyns — who have also been called Ruthenians — make up four distinct churches that share the same origins, traditions and rites and yet remain independent of each other.
On Friday, the man who shepherds the mother church of this distinct Catholic Eastern church visited CNEWA’s New York offices. Bishop Milan Šášik is a 59-year-old Vincentian who has guided the Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukacevo in southwestern Ukraine since 2002, first as its apostolic administrator and, since 2010, as its eparch.
Though the church was erected as an eparchy in 1771, and is directly dependent on the Holy See, Bishop Milan told us that he has had to rebuild it from scratch with little or no outside resources. In 1946, the Soviets declared his church illegal and drove it underground, shuttering churches, imprisoning clergy, religious and lay leaders and murdering many of its spiritual leaders, including one of Bishop Milan’s predecessors, Blessed Bishop Theodore Romzha.
In nine years, the bishop has renewed 420 parish communities, building 165 new churches. He has opened more than 40 centers for catechesis and ordained 142 priests, 90 percent of whom are married. Most parish priests are self-sufficient, somehow living and rearing their families on a salary of $150 a month or less.
While grateful for the support this eparchy receives from generous Catholics in Europe and North America, the bishop spoke glowingly of the generosity of his own people. Their sacrifices, he said, have enabled him to accomplish much of this work. To learn more about the Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic Church, click here. To read about its sister Orthodox church, which was founded in Pennsylvania in the late 1930’s, click here.
Tags: Catholic Communism/Communist Carpatho-Rusyn Ruthenians
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