Hundreds of young US Greek-Catholics arrive in Philadelphia to celebrate Day of Youth
Hundreds of young people gathered in Philadelphia, PA on June 8 for the Day of Youth of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the USA. This event is part of celebrations under the slogan Heart to Heart which take place in the United States on the occasion of the enthronement of the new Metropolitan of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak.
The celebration began with the Liturgy in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the main Cathedral of the UGCC in the US. The Liturgy was led by Metropolitan Borys Gudziak.
In his speech, addressing the youth in Ukrainian and English, the Metropolitan called them to unity.
"Our community possesses such a wealth – embroidery, songs. We can rise up at the Maidan [major square in Kyiv], but something insignificant can bring in opposition, misunderstanding. Dear young people, we must be together. Know that the Church is with you because the most important thing is faith.
The Lord asks, "Do you love me as much as I love you?" So, let us be together in faith and love for your neighbor, do not focus on the fate of others, do not condemn, be open to communication, have a pure heart and communicate from heart to heart."
All the young people who came to the celebration were divided into age groups: pre-schoolers, children, youth. Each group had its own Gospel-based program with game elements for the youngest and interesting discussions for the older groups.
"Such events are very necessary. As Taras Shevchenko said: "Learn from the others, but do not forget things of your own." Parents and children have the opportunity to get acquainted with each other, maintain relationships. Our children have the opportunity to understand that the Ukrainian language is not only the language of communication in the family, it is not only the language spoken by father and mother," says Volodymyr who came to the Day of Youth with his wife and two children from New York City.
A member of the youth group Andriana Vaskin, who came to America with her parents three years ago, spoke about the importance of the Day of Youth for the preservation of national and spiritual traditions: "I have already completely integrated in the American society, so it is very important that we have such events in the Church. And they should become annual, traditional. This makes it possible to unite us, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic youth, not to close Ukraine before us, to help us maintain contacts. It works the same way the Ukrainian school works here on Long Island. Americans profess different religions, and we the Ukrainian Greek Catholics are monolithic in our belief".
As part of the celebration of the Day of Youth, the service of healing was held, led by Metropolitan Borys. "Healing may not occur just by itself. We need God [for us] to get healed. This is especially important when a war is ongoing in Ukraine and our military are being killed. Leading someone to healing is a special mission of the Church," the Metropolitan said in his speech.
After the Service of Healing, the clergy, children with parents and young people walked in a procession from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter where the relics of St. John Newman rest.
In the evening, young people will gather for the youth evangelization program, after which Bria Blessing and Taras Chubai will perform.
The Day of Youth of the UGCC in the USA will end with a night vigil with Mothers in Prayer.