Metropolitan Stefan’s Speech at Opening Synod Dinner
Published: September 27, 2007
Welcome, my brothers and sisters in Christ!
A heartfelt and joyous welcome to all of our guests, and most especially to our Patriarch, His Beatitude, Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, and to all of the 39 Bishops and one Eparchial Administrator who have elected to have the Synod of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops take place within the first eparchy established outside of Ukraine – the Archeparchy of Philadelphia.
Our magnificent Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral complex sits on holy ground. It is the location of the first Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in America. It is where our first Bishop, the Most Rev. Stephen Soter Ortynsky, together with Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky, blessed the first Cathedral. How befitting that we have gathered here celebrating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Greek Catholic Bishop for the USA, Bishop Ortynsky. How special it is that today’s spiritual head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Patriarch Lubomyr Cardinal Husar joins us in this celebration, in the footsteps of Metropolitan Sheptytsky.
This dinner gathering was especially planned to give special honor to the clergy and religious of the Metropolitan See of Philadelphia. All the clergy and religious sisters of our Church in the United States were invited to participate. I am pleased to share with you that among us today are 62 clergy from the Philadelphia Archeparchy, 54 clergy of the Stamford Eparchy, 16 clergy of the St. Josaphat Eparchy in Parma, and 7 clergy of the St. Nicholas Eparchy in Chicago. Also, among us are 13 seminarians from our St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary, which offers formation for priests for all four eparchies in this Metropolitan See. Among us are also 21 Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, among them the newly elected Mother General Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, their Provincial, Sister Laura Palka, and Mother Georgianna Snihur; 26 Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, among them their Provincial, Sister Michele Yakymovitch; 5 Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God, among them Mother Nadia Baranik; and 4 Sisters of St. Anne, among them their Mother General from Brazil, Mother Aquelina. We are also pleased to welcome the wives of clergy who could join us today. Also gracing us with their presence are Very Rev. Archimandrite Joseph Lee of the Holy Cross Monostery in Washington, the Provincial of the Basilian Fathers in the USA, Most Rev. Maurico Popadiuk, and our dedicated Chancery staff.
Today, the Bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church honor you, my brother clergy and religious of this nation. We want you to know of our love for you. We desire you to know of our fraternal concern for your wellness, spiritual and physical. We want to renew our commitment to journey together with you in our service and ministry to the faithful of our Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Bishops want to hear your thoughts and concerns about our holy Church. Today’s luncheon format allows for us to share with one another what is important to us about our Church. It facilitates us to share our joys and our disappointments.
There is no formal program planned for today’s luncheon. There will be no additional speakers to distract our attention. We want to devote this time of sharing a meal around one table to share and dialogue with one another. Let it not become a time of question and answer with the bishop at your table. Rather, we desire that you take the time to share with the bishop and with one another your thoughts and hopes for our Ukrainian Catholic Church, universally and in the United States of America.
So often, the human tendency is to focus on differences among people and societies. I invite you to consider in your dialogue that which we have in common in our journey of faith. Consider for example, the massive exodus of young people from towns and villages into the large cities, in search of better jobs and enhanced education possibilities. This is something which the eparchies in the United States and in Canada have struggled through over the last decades. The eparchies in Ukraine, Brazil and Argentina and other parts of the world are now facing this challenge in a significant way at this time. We can learn from one another by sharing what was done well and what we failed to do in facing the various challenges we face as a Church. I invite you to make the most of this opportunity to learn from one another.
In his short years of ministry in America, Bishop Stephen Soter Ortynsky left us a monumental vision on which to build upon. He inspired the Church to minister beyond itself, with his call to “preach to all nations”. The hierarchy, clergy and religious of the Metropolitan See of Philadelphia see it as a special blessing by God that the Synod Fathers were inspired to convene the Synod of Bishops in Philadelphia. We thank God and we thank our brother bishops for your holy presence amidst us.
Permit me a special word of gratitude to my Auxiliary Bishop John and to the many clergy, religious and staff who have participated in providing for the meeting of the Synod, and for the 100th anniversary celebrations. The team spirit was incredible. Each person put their gifts fully at the disposal of God for the benefit and success of these celebrations. For me, the miracle of the events has already occurred in the holy journey of preparation which was witnessed among all those who participated in the preparations. I ask for your prayers of thanksgiving for them. They deserve our love and admiration and our love.
That’s the last word, my brothers and sisters in Christ! I now invite you to enjoy a delicious dinner and a rich fraternal dialogue at your table. God bless you all!
Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Philadelphia, PA
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Ascension Manor is a non-profit senior citizen apartment complex for people 62 and older. It is located one block away from the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia. It is under the direction of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. For more information on Ascension Manor or for an application, please call 215-922-1116 or visit the website link below.
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Conveniently located in Langhorne, PA, near the intersection of Rt. 1 and Rt. I-95. We are just minutes from center city Philadelphia, Bristol, and Trenton. Our plots are reasonably priced, with pre laid foundations included in the purchase price of the plot. Contact the cemetery office for additional information.
Treasury of Faith Museum
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(1st and 2nd levels)
The museum was founded in 2002 and was established to manifest and preserve the Catholic faith, courage, and determination of our ancestors. It reflects the roots and history of our Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States of America. The museum houses artifacts from parishes within the Philadelphia Archeparchy. Contact the Treasury of Faith Museum for more information and tours.
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In the store, you will find books, icons, crosses, Christian Incense, church supplies, various linens, priest's vestments, and more!
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