Ukrainian Catholic Leader Visits Canada

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (CNS) — The major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church sent greetings to Canada’s Ukrainian Catholics as he prepared for a multicity visit that includes leading the church’s Synod of Bishops.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev- Halych, Ukraine, said the synod would “fill all our Canadian community with the special blessing of the Holy Spirit, blowing the fresh wind of this Spirit into the sails of the Ukrainian Church in this country.” His remarks were contained in a message to be read in Canada’s Ukrainian Catholic churches Sept. 2.

Canada will host the annual worldwide synod of Ukrainian Catholic bishops in Winnipeg Sept. 9-16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Nykyta Budka in Canada in 1912. The bishop, now beatified and known as Blessed Nykyta, laid the groundwork for a united Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, gathering the scattered clergy, religious and laypeople.

Though the synod agenda has not been released, earlier this year Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Huculak of Winnipeg said it would renew ties between the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine and Canada and would “affirm the struggle of … the early pioneers who did so much to establish our church in Canada and bring it to what it is today.”

In his message to the Canadians, Archbishop Shevchuk appealed for their prayers and support for the synod members. He also expressed thanks for the Canadians’ preservation of the church’s religious and cultural traditions and for their help after the Ukrainian Catholic Church — a Byzantine rite — began emerging from decades of communist oppression in Ukraine late in the 20th century.

The major archbishop was scheduled to begin his visit to Canada in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area Aug. 31 before traveling to Winnipeg. After the synod, he is scheduled to visit Saskatoon and speak to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at its 2012 annual plenary in Sainte-Adele, Quebec, Sept. 24.

He visited Ukrainian Catholics in the Edmonton, Alberta, area in June and will visit Toronto and eastern Canada early in 2013.

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