Ukraine

The meeting of Latin and Greek-Catholic bishopsOn May 20 the Diocesan Major Seminary of the diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr in Vorzel, hosted the Fourth joint panel meeting of the Ukrainian Latin and Greek-Catholic bishops. 11 Latin and 16 Greek-Catholic prelates attended the meeting. Spiritual exercises performed by the Bishop Emeritus of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, Msgr. Stanislaw Padewski were held previously (May 16-19). It is the first time that the bishops of the two Catholic rites jointly take part in the spiritual exercises. The opening Mass presided over by the President of Latin Bishops archbishop Mieczyslav Mokrytski, and by the head of the Greek-Catholic Church patriarch Lubomyr Husar, was attended also by apostolic nuncio Msgr. Ivan Jurkoviè, who briefed on the latest developments of the relations between the Holy See and Ukraine. As reported by the Catholic Media Center, in his address the nuncio underlined “the role of the priesthood within the Church” and urged priests “to follow the sequel of Christ”. “Also today the bishops should become like the saintly priests whose role model of sanctity has been highlighted by the Church across the centuries”. “As bishops – the nuncio concluded – we carry a major responsibility, namely, to create the favourable conditions for priests to perform their ministry in the best ways”. During the encounter the bishops focused on the question of pastoral care and the joint attendance of liturgical celebrations in dioceses. Items addressed by the panel included the possibility and the conditions enabling Greek Catholics in Eastern Ukraine, who have no place to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, to hold the services in the Latin churches. The 35th session of the Conference of the Latin Bishops was held upon the conclusion of the joint panel meeting (May 20-21), which approved the celebration of the Eucharist Congress in Ukraine due to start in 2011 in Kyiv and conclude in Lviv. Other meetings of the Congress will take place in dioceses with the participation of local bishops and bishops coming from abroad. In 2012 the archdiocese of Lviv will celebrate the 600th anniversary of the transfer of the Episcopal capital from Halych to Lviv. Patriarch Husar on the rights of workersDuring a meeting with Oleksandr Dzhulyk, president of the All-Ukrainian Union of Workers’ Solidarity (VOST), the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) Patriarch Lubomyr stated that a person’s “rights must be properly defended, especially his spiritual and socioeconomic rights. The worker and the employer can not exist without the other”. Hence “there need to be harmonious Christian relations between them”. “Free democratic labor unions must have a decisive role. It is an important Christian task”, the Patriarch said. Card. Husar noted that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, as part of the Universal Church, “has always held social questions in sight”. This is to be found in a number of encyclicals, from “Rerum novarum” to “Centesimus annus”. His Eminence recalled that the UGCC conducts annual social weeks in Ukraine, and abroad helps Ukrainian labor migrants”. During the meeting the cooperation of the UGCC and VOST in respecting the individual and the defense of rights for workers was discussed. Dzhulyk Dzhulyk described the 20-year history of VOST as “the continuer of Christian and democratic traditions of the Ukrainian labor union movement” and pointed out that VOST is “the only labor union association of free labor unions in Ukraine that states its activity is based on universal principles of Christian moral”. However, he explained, “despite international acknowledgment, VOST encounters difficulties in the development of free labor unions because of the lack of labor union reform”. VOST chairman confirmed the organization’s commitment, “in accordance to Christian principles”, to continue “the struggle for dignified labor, for timely and complete payment of salaries, and the creation of proper conditions of labor”.The rector defends the freedom of the Catholic UniversityThe rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University Fr. Borys Gudziak, referred on the visit of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) that took place a few days ago. Ensuing the meeting with the agent responsible for contacts with Churches the rector declared that “UCU will be subject to particular attention and possible pressure in the coming months”. He also noted the importance for the solidarity of the international community and, of the academic world in particular, so the university “may defend its principled position in intellectual and social freedom”. The SBU agent visited UCU in response to the students’ participation in protests against the new government.

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