Germany lacks priests to serve Ukrainians

30.11.2022, 10:00
Ukraine and world
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After the outbreak of a full-scale war, the large influx of refugees has posed a new challenge to the Exarchate, which has the task of granting pastoral care to Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine rite in Germany and Scandinavia. According to its head, there are now about a million Ukrainian refugees in Germany and more than 150 thousand in Scandinavia.

This was stated by Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh in an interview for Vatican News.

"During this time, we tried to involve new priests to work on the territory of the Exarchate, but they are still not enough. We need very good priests and missionaries who are ready to support and serve our people with their hearts and souls.

Over the past six months, thanks to the openness of the Roman Catholic bishops, we have been able to engage eleven new priests in one way or another, and this has increased the number of our clergy by almost a third, but we need more, so we take this opportunity, I invite those who feel really competent and ready for such a sacrificial service to come forward, so that during the transition period, until the war in Ukraine ends, we can support our people in the exarchate and serve them as best we can as the Church of Christ."

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Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh noted that for priests who want to respond to this invitation, knowledge of the German language is not mandatory because now the main task is to serve Ukrainians and German bishops are sympathetic to this urgent need.

"So, for a short period of service, we can limit the requirements with knowledge of the Ukrainian language," he explained. "Obviously, when it comes to long-term service in Germany, knowledge of the German language is mandatory here and at a fairly solid level. And this is for two reasons: on the one hand, to have a direct connection with the German structures of the Catholic Church and civil society in Germany or in the Scandinavian countries, and on the other hand, to also be open to helping our Latin brothers in their pastoral ministry. Our priests help in many Roman Catholic dioceses to perform various kinds of services, in particular in hospital chaplaincy or serve as confessors. And on the one hand, this is a manifestation of our fraternal support for the German Church, and on the other hand, it is also an expression of our solidarity with them and our gratitude for their support, in particular, the material support that the German Church provides to our Exarchate."