29 April 2013
Canadian Senator Anne C. Cools introduces the documentary “Across the Divide” to Christian leaders in a Parliament building in Ottawa. (photo: CNEWA/Antin Sloboda)
On 15 April, CNEWA Canada joined with the office of Senator Anne C. Cools to organize a special event in Ottawa highlighting the situation of Christian communities in the Holy Land.
The Parliament Hill event brought over 30 community leaders representing a variety of Christian faith traditions, including Eastern Christians, Anglicans, Catholics, Mennonites, Presbyterians and others. The highlight of the conference was the screening of a documentary about the Bethlehem University, “Across the Divide.” The film is a production of the Salt + Light Media Foundation. CNEWA Canada sponsored its presentation across many Canadian cities in 2012.
Through Bethlehem University, we can see how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has had a negative impact on the local Christians, who desire only to live in peace. Besides presenting the challenges these Christians face, the film also offers signs of hope. It shows how the leadership of the university and the students of many faiths together are committed to working for the benefit of all.
After the screening, participants shared their communities’ experiences in promoting peace in the Holy Land. Carl Hétu, national director of CNEWA Canada, moderated the constructive dialogue. The Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.E.O. of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, played an important part in stimulating the discussion as a panelist.
Senator Cools concluded by encouraging leaders of the Ottawa Christian communities to continue working together so one day peace might become a reality for all in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.
If you would like to order the film, contact Salt + Light Television.
And to learn how you can support Bethlehem University, click here.
22 January 2013
Tags: Middle East Christians Israeli-Palestinian conflict CNEWA Canada Bethlehem University Middle East Peace Process
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Ukrainian Greek Catholics celebrate Theophany in St. Onuphrius Church.
(photo: Antin Slobada/CNEWA)
On 19 January, Eastern Christians who follow the Julian calendar celebrated the feast of Theophany, commemorating the baptism of Jesus.
Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Ottawa have embraced a special tradition to mark the feast under the lead of the Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytski Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (MASI), a long-time partner of CNEWA.
On Saturday, a festive Matins and Divine Liturgy were celebrated at the Canadian Museum of Civilization inside the museum’s St. Onuphrius church. This authentic Ukrainian-style shrine has been donated to the museum by the Ukrainian Catholic community of Alberta to form part of a permanent exhibit on Canada’s history. Theophany is the only day of the year when liturgical services take place at this church.
After the celebrations at St. Onuphrius, clergy and the faithful walked to the banks of the Ottawa River for the traditional Water Blessing Ceremony, featuring a cross made of ice.
After the Divine Liturgy, some braved the cold to take part in the Water Blessing on the banks of the Ottawa River. (photo: Antin Slobada/CNEWA)
21 September 2012
Tags: Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada
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The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, blesses the icon of the Blessed Bishop-Martyr Nykyta Budka, the first Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparch of Canada. (photo: Carl Hétu)
Last Sunday marked the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Winnipeg. So what were all these Ukrainians (whose church is based in Kiev) doing in Canada?
There are a number of reasons. Here are five:
- This year marks the 100th anniversary of when the first bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Nykyta Budka, arrived in Winnipeg. Bishop Nykyta is considered a model of holiness, a man who sacrificed his life for his people. In 1927, he left Canada and returned to Ukraine; 22 years later, he was arrested for opposing Stalin’s elimination of the church. Bishop Nykyta was sent to a concentration camp in Central Asia, where he was martyred in 1949. Pope John Paul II declared him blessed during a visit to Ukraine in 2001.
- The Ukrainian Greek Catholic See of Winnipeg has become the first metropolitan see of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church outside Ukraine.Over the years, Winnipeg has evolved into one of the most important centers of Ukrainian cultural and religious life. In addition to being the seat of theUkrainian Greek Catholic metropolitan archbishop, the city of Winnipeg is also home to the Ukrainian Orthodox metropolitan archbishop. The close ties between Catholics and Orthodox of the Ukrainian tradition in Canada serve as an example of cooperation and ecumenism. At the synod, the Ukrainian Orthodox metropolitan of Canada, Archbishop Yurij Kalistchuk, participated as an honorary guest.
- Canada is home to more than a million people of Ukrainian descent, most of whom have links to western regions of Ukraine that for centuries were under the care of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The synod provided Ukrainian Canadians with a strong reminder that their church leadership cares for them and is serious about addressing their spiritual needs and challenges.
- The year 2012 has been declared by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church a “Year of the Laity.” Over the last century, members of the church in Canada have helped create a network of civil and faith-based organizations. Over the decades, groups such as the Ukrainian Canadian Women’s League, Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada, Ukrainian branches of the Knights of Columbus and the Ukrainian Catholic Youth of Canada have played a crucial role in helping the community and the church to thrive. The synod acknowledged their valuable achievements. The synodal fathers also reflected on the ways this positive experience could benefit the entire church. In particular, they discussed how the Canadian experience could benefit their brothers and sisters in Ukraine who, due to decades of Communist authoritarianism, did not have the opportunity to create similar institutions.
- By holding its executive leadership meetings and synods in various places around the globe, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church manifests its “catholic,” that is, universal, identity, and that it lives and flourishes around the world. Recently, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who leads this church, emphasized that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is not a church of Ukrainians, but first of all a church of Christ following the ancient Byzantine Ukrainian tradition open to all.
CNEWA works closely with many Ukrainian bishops in Canada and Ukraine. And, as an expression of solidarity with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, CNEWA Canada’s national director, Carl Hétu, participated in the closing liturgies of the synod in Winnipeg and had a chance to greet personally the synod’s participants and members of the Winnipeg Ukrainian community.
27 August 2012
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada
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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.
17 August 2012
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada
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Carl Hétu, left, and Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt+Light Television, participated in a panel discussion at the “Across the Divide” screening in Vancouver earlier this summer.
(photo: The B.C. Catholic Paper)
Antin Sloboda is a development assistant in our Canada office.
Many of you may know that CNEWA’s headquarters are in New York City. But what you may not know is that we have another office in North America, in Canada.
Below are some interesting facts about CNEWA’s Canadian family:
We have an archbishop for a neighbor. Our national office is based in Ottawa, situated in the same building on 1247 Kilborn Place where the Archdiocese of Ottawa has its administrative headquarters. It’s also just a short walk to the offices of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Being based in Canada’s capital helps us to work closely with our church leadership as well as to interact with other NGOs and country leaders that play a crucial role in areas important to CNEWA’s mission.
We’re the new kids on the block. Among all CNEWA’s offices, the Canadian one is the youngest. We’ve only been in existence since 2005. We were established with the support and endorsement of the Archbishop of Ottawa, Marcel André J. Gervais.
We’re busy. We support projects in all regions where CNEWA has been historically present. Since the day of CNEWA Canada’s founding, its priorities have been focused on helping people in the Middle East, in particular the Christian minorities of Iraq. A lot of our energy these days is devoted to assisting the victims of violent conflicts in Syria and Egypt. Our Eastern European program is also well-established and grows as needs arise.
We have some special projects, too. Among our special projects this year is a public awareness campaign on the important role that Bethlehem University plays in the Holy Land. This project has been undertaken in cooperation with the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, which produced a special documentary about the university, “Across the Divide”. This summer the documentary is being screened in many cities across Canada. At recent screenings in Vancouver and Halifax, auditoriums were filled to capacity. There are also plans to show the film in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor.
Another special initiative undertaken this year is a joint project with the Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). The project is called “Velma’s Dream” and it aims to assist children from Christian minorities in Jerusalem. It will help to create favorable learning conditions for children, so more of them will be able to succeed in school and life. Last Monday, a detailed presentation of the project was given by our National Director, Carl Hétu at the National CWL Convention in Edmonton, and it was enthusiastically received by the convention’s delegates who represented over 100,000 Canadian Catholic Women.
We have our own board. CNEWA Canada is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of six bishops. It is chaired by Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast, S.J, Archbishop of Ottawa. The other five bishops represent different regions of Canada. Our vice chair is Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.
In our Ottawa office, there are five of us who implement CNEWA’s mission on a daily basis: Carl Hétu, Judith Poitevien, Melodie Gabriel, Francois Moniz and myself. We’re a small team, but we work well together, sharing our tasks, challenges and hopes.
We also share various responsibilities, from fundraising to data processing and managing donor relations — and writing occasional posts for CNEWA’s blog!
20 July 2012
Tags: Canada CNEWA Canada
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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:
16 May 2012
Tags: Ukraine Pilgrimage/pilgrims Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Ukrainian Catholic Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour
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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.
3 May 2012
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Orphans/Orphanages CNEWA Canada
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Archbishop Lawrence Huculak, center, leads the burial prayers for the repose of Archbishop Michael Bzdel at Holy Family Cemetery in Winnipeg. Joining him are Archbishop Stefan Soroka and Bishop John S. Pazak. (photo: Carl Hétu)
A month ago today, Archbishop Michael Bzdel, the retired metropolitan archeparch of Winnipeg, died. His Grace was one of the founding directors of CNEWA Canada and he played an instrumental role in establishing our organizational structures. Three weeks ago, Carl Hétu, CNEWA’s national director in Canada, traveled to Winnipeg to pay his respects to the late metropolitan, who headed Canada’s Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
He was born in Wishart, Saskatchewan, on 21 July 1930, and was the 11th of 14 children. After completing primary schooling in Wishart, he attended St. Vladimir’s College in Roblin. This is where Michael Bzdel discovered his vocation to the religious life. In 1947, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He completed his priestly formation at St. Mary’s Seminary in Waterford-Meadowvale, and later received a graduate degree in Pastoral Counseling from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1954. After years of pastoral ministry in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, in 1993 Father Michael was ordained as archbishop of Winnipeg and metropolitan for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Canada, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. The metropolitan was a member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and had various responsibilities within the Catholic Church in Canada and Ukraine.
Numerous bishops, clergy, religious and lay people from all over North America and Europe participated in the funeral ceremonies of the archeparch, which took place on 11 and 12 April. The funeral was led by Archbishop Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., successor of the beloved departed pastor.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…
27 April 2012
Tags: Ecumenism Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Canada CNEWA Canada
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Metropolitan Archbishop Andrey Sheptytsky in Rome in 1921.
(photo: Institute of Church History of the Ukrainian Catholic University)
Last week brought many meaningful moments to the Ukrainian communities in Canada and the United States, and also to the general public of the two countries as they welcomed leaders of all the major religious denominations of Ukraine: Greek and Latin Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim, as well as leaders of mainstream Protestant organizations.
Members of the delegation represented The Ukrainian Union of Churches and Religious Organizations, which represents some 95 percent of Ukraine’s believers. The main purpose of this North American visit was to promote awareness of the heroic work of Metropolitan Archbishop Andrey Sheptytsky, who spoke and acted courageously to protect ethnic and religious minorities targeted by the Nazi regime in Europe during World War II, risking for example his own life to save more than 160 Jews from the Nazis. The metropolitan archbishop was also a champion of Christian unity and interreligious cooperation.
The delegation’s visit to North America includes stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Washington and New York. The representatives are scheduled to participate in a series of conferences and meetings with state officials and leaders of the local religious communities.
This visit proved to be exceptionally productive in Ottawa, where a special motion in Canada’s parliament was unanimously passed in the House of Commons to honor Metropolitan Sheptytsky for his courageous actions on behalf of the oppressed Jewish people in Ukraine during World War II. Also, an organization that has long worked closely with CNEWA Canada — the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies —hosted an excellent symposium at Saint Paul University called "Ethical Actions in Extreme Conditions". The symposium elaborated on the personality of Metropolitan Sheptytsky and the socio-historical context of his work. Among the distinguished speakers at the symposium were Rabbi Yaakov Don Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine and Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who succeeds Metropolitan Sheptytsky as the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
The visit opened a new era in Ukrainian-Jewish dialogue, and it has initiated development of a common approach in addressing sensitive issues of the past and fostering mutual cooperation in the future. The visit was organized and sponsored by the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter, a non-profit organization that promotes dialogue and cooperation between Jewish and Ukrainian peoples; it was established in 2008 by a a Ukrainian-Canadian businessman Mr. James Temerty.
17 October 2011
Tags: Ukraine CNEWA Canada Ukrainian Orthodox Church
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Participants in MASI’s 2011 Study Days, an academic and spiritual conference to enlighten and deepen the faith of Eastern and Western Christians alike.
As you may already know, this week CNEWA Canada and the Sheptytsky Institute are organizing a special symposium in Ottawa on the future of Christianity in the Middle East. Now, I would like to tell you more about The Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (MASI) — a long-time collaborator of CNEWA that celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend.
This Institute is named after the greatest leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky (1865-1944). Metropolitan Sheptytsky was a forerunner of Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism who made significant contributions to the enhancement of relations between the East and West.
The institute was established in 1986 at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and in 1990 it moved to its present location at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. The Institute is the leading North American school specializing in Eastern Christian Studies. In the 25 years of its existence almost 100 students have graduated and many more have participated in the Institute's special programs. The Institute also publishes an award-winning theological review in three languages: English, French and Ukrainian.
Over the last few years CNEWA was able to help the Institute with scholarships to students from Ukraine. Because of this CNEWA/MASI cooperation, many young Ukrainian scholars received graduate degrees and participated in the Institute’s theological programs in the summer. I am also proud to share with you that one of these participants (Sheptytsky Institute’s 1995 Summer Intensive Program) was Father Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who this year was elected as the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
To learn more about the Sheptytsky Institute and its programs, please visit its website.
Tags: Ecumenism Eastern Christianity CNEWA Canada
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