Catholic monks consult on their activities in context of war and secularization
Lviv hosts the Assembly of the Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic monastics of Ukraine, which is being attended by over 600 participants. The official title of the event is the “Evangelical communion of the consecrated persons of UGCC and RCC in Ukraine.” However, the Assembly decided not to limit the speeches and debate to the framework of the announced programs.
This was announced today at a briefing by the organizers – clergymen of both Catholic Churches.
“The event taking place in Ukraine is extremely important,” said Bishop Dionisiy (Liakhovich), UGCC. “For the first time in 25 years, so many consecrated persons decided to assemble in a hall in order to respond to the new challenges facing the Ukrainian society and churches.”
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, who also participates in the Assembly, supported this view, noting that the meeting itself is already a great success, and a proof that the Church is alive and developing.
“Yesterday in the Latin Cathedral many laymen were pleasantly surprised seeing so many consecrated persons. They did not even imagine that there are so many monks in Ukraine,” the Nuncio shared his observations.
“I hope that the Assembly will be of great significance for the two Churches,” he added.
Roman Catholic Metropolitan of Lviv in Ukraine Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki said that the first Catholic monastic orders appeared in the VII century. Since then, monks have always been trying to help people share their joys and sadness. The current meeting, according to Archbishop, must answer how the consecrated persons shall act during the war and the onset of secularization.
The hierarch also noted that Ukraine can be proud of its clergy, laity and monastics – Ukrainians kept faith in the context of atheistic USSR, and now they become new gospel preachers of Europe.
The visitor from Poland, Jesuit Fr. Augustine Joseph also spoke approvingly of Ukrainian piety.
While visiting the Ukraine, he noticed that the young people here, unlike their western peers, are not ashamed of their religious feelings. This means that the Ukrainian church has a future and can expect new good vocations, the priest believes.
“In order that there was a vocation there should be good families, solid parishes and devoted pastors. Only in this environment a vocation may be born. Young people are always in search of ideals. If they encounter a highly moral person on their life path, they linger to this person and try to follow. The lack of vocation is a challenge for the Church,” he stresses.
The Assembly “Evangelical communion of consecrated persons of the UGCC and RCC in Ukraine” will last until September 18. In the coming days its participants will hear the speeches of the UGCC and RCC hierarchs, nuns’ experience of religious retreats, prayer, festive Mass in St. George cathedral, the exchange of views and dialogue, which the organizers called the most important item on their agenda.
“The topics are of secondary importance for such an assembly,” Fr Yuzef Augustine stresses. “It is not a meeting of scholars. This is primarily a fraternal meeting.”