‘Hope Is Not Blind Optimism,’ Says Archbishop

Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia received CNEWA’s Faith & Culture Award on 21 June at the Catholic Media Conference in Atlanta.

Just months after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, CNEWA became the “first official U.S. Catholic delegation to visit Ukraine during the full-scale war,” said Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia at the Catholic Media Association’s annual conference, held this year in Atlanta, 18-21 June.

The delegation, led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and chair of CNEWA’s board, included Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, CNEWA’s president, and Michael J.L. La Civita, CNEWA’s director of communications.

“Monsignor, people remember your visit, they remember Cardinal Dolan and they remember Catholic Near East Welfare Association,” he said.

“Your visit two years ago brought hope and humanitarian aid to Ukrainian faith-based organizations and those helping Ukrainian refugees in Europe. It has been invaluable,” he added.

“You provide shelter, food and comfort to the displaced, and your reporting through ONE magazine has been indispensable during times of turmoil.”

The archbishop spoke via Zoom from Lviv on 21 June after receiving CNEWA’s Faith & Culture Award, which Mariana Karapinka, director of communications for the archeparchy, accepted on his behalf at the conference in Atlanta.

“I’m deeply honored to receive the Catholic Near East Welfare Association’s Faith & Culture Award,” the archbishop said. “I would like to thank Msgr. Vaccari and the CNEWA team for this recognition and for their constant support of Eastern churches worldwide and our Ukrainian Catholic Church.”

Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, CNEWA president, speaks to members of the Catholic Media Association at its conference in Atlanta before conferring CNEWA’s Faith & Culture Award to Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, 21 June. (photo: Laura Ieraci)

Msgr. Vaccari presented the award, established in 2022, to Archbishop Borys for his constant promotion of the innate dignity of every child of God, especially in this time of fear, anger and rage. Last week, the archbishop published a statement encouraging “all Christians and people of good will” to “abstain from political violence of any kind” and instead pursue peace “through dialogue, seeking justice.”

Archbishop Borys has written for CNEWA’s flagship publication, ONE, on numerous occasions, the most recent being “A Letter From Ukraine” in the September 2022 edition. He is also a member of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, the Dicastery for Communication and the Permanent Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Speaking to an audience of Catholic media professionals, Archbishop Borys turned his attention to the importance of the “pursuit of truth,” and what it means to proclaim the “good news.”

“There isn’t much feel-good, soft news from war-torn Ukraine. Yet there is truth and there is hope,” he said. “Good Catholic journalism can provide a counter-narrative to despair and cynicism.”

With this notion in mind, he emphasized that this responsibility includes sharing the reality of those suffering, the challenges they face and the truth of tragedy. “Hope is not blind optimism,” he said.

“God is ultimately in charge. That’s what CNEWA brought to Ukraine in May 2022. That’s what Ukraine’s resilience teaches us. That’s what good Catholic journalism is about. I thank you so much.”

Olivia Poust is assistant editor of ONE.

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