Eparchial Lenten Collection

Єпархіальна Великопосна Збірка

Eparchial_Crest5To the Very Rev. and Rev. Clergy, Religious

and Lay-Faithful of the Eparchy of New Westminster

20 January 2016

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

This more than a year ago our Eparchy held a special meeting – our Eparchial Sobor.  Our Eparchial delegates examined how we can best live the spirit of the pastoral letter of His Beatitude Sviatoslav titled “The Vibrant Parish – a place to encounter the Living Christ”. Later on, delegates from all of our Eparchies in the world (including our own) gathered in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine to hold our world-wide Sobor.  At both our Eparchial Sobor and the world-wide Sobor the six elements of the pastoral letter were discussed.  One of the elements of the Vibrant Parish is of course “diakonia” or put in another way, service to others.  In this letter about the Vibrant Parish His Beatitude reminds all of us about the Christian act of charity and to be in solidarity with those in need. He wrote that an…

“…an important element, which expresses the inner nature of the Church and reveals the vibrancy of a parish is diakonia, which means serving in love or performing “charitable activity.” This service to our neighbor flows from our rootedness in Christ. Active love of neighbor is the vocation and task of each Christian without exception. It is only faith, acting in love, which leads us to salvation (see Gal. 5:6). Faith without works is dead (see James 2:26). “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mat. 25:40), – says the Lord Jesus.

On December 8th, last year, His Holiness Pope Francis proclaimed a special year of Jubilee for the world – a Year of Mercy.  He has encouraged each bishop, each parish priest and every lay-faithful to take this Jubilee Year of Mercy and find ways that we can express in real concrete ways God’s mercy, and that certainly means showing mercy to others.

Each year our Eparchy along with all the other Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies in North America receives requests from our Church in Ukraine for financial assistance for very worthy causes and endeavors in Ukraine.  As has been our Eparchial custom for the last few years, during the Great Fast/Lent we take time to remember our sisters and brothers in Ukraine who are in need and though our donations we show that we stand in solidarity with them.

In St. John’s 1st Letter, he reminds the early Christian church that if anyone has the world’s goods and sees their brother or sister in need yet closes their heart against them, how does God’s live abide in them?

While there are no doubt many worthy causes to donate our funds to in Ukraine, our Eparchy has identified the following beneficiaries for our donations:

Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv  This is the only Ukrainian Catholic University in Ukraine.  It is pivotal to the future needs of the leaders of Ukrainian society.  Today more than ever, we need to support a free and honest educational endeavourer in Ukraine and certainly, the Ukrainian Catholic University is worthy of our support.

Caritas Ukraine Caritas Ukraine continues to be the main charities organization of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine providing social care to the needy of Ukraine in the area of humanitarian aid, clothing distribution, street children’s assistance programs, HIV & AIDS programs, anti-trafficking in people programs, emergency aid, home-care programs and much more.  Since the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine and the invasion of Ukraine’s Eastern territories almost two million people have been internally displaced.  Caritas Ukraine along with partner organizations is attempting to meet the challenges this has brought to Ukrainian society by providing housing, meals, and rehabilitation to these families.

Holy Resurrection Sobor in Kyiv The building project is on going and the interior artwork has begun.  This Cathedral is meant to be not just for our Ukrainian Catholics in Kyiv, but indeed the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral for all of us.

Andrew’s Pence The Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, our Patriarch has many requests for financial support from our Ukrainian Catholic communities of faithful in the poorest areas of Eastern Europe and in the East, in places like Kazakhstan, Siberia, etc.  These communities are often located in areas where the local or national governments are not at all supportive.  They rely heavily on assistance from their sisters and brothers in the other areas where our Church faithful live, like right here in British Columbia.  Our donations to Andrew’s Pence assist the Patriarch in providing financial support for these far away and often desolate communities.

Synod Administration Fund Each Eparchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church throughout our world is asked to assist in the administrative and operational costs of the Synodal Offices in Kyiv.  As members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church our Eparchy is assessed a sum of around $10.000 annually.  Your contributions will assist us in our Synodal Administrative Fund assessment.

In order to assist you in deciding to how much you are able to donate to these worthy causes I have let you know something about them and what your donations will help with.  The envelopes provided allow you to indicate the amount as well as to which fund(s) you would like your donation to be given to.

If you would like to receive a tax receipt for your donation, please make the cheque payable to your own parish (ie: Holy Eucharist Cathedral, or St. Nicholas Parish) and a tax receipt will be issued to you directly from your parish.   Your parish treasurer will then send a cheque made out to the Eparchy of New Westminster for the total amount collected and indicate the amounts and to whom the collected amount is to be given to.  The Eparchy will then add together the amounts collected from each parish and to whom/which organization the donation is to be given to.

I completely endorse and recommend to you dear Sisters and Brothers that the organizations listed above in this letter.  They are truly worthy causes and those in charge will use wisely our donations.  Along with your donations, I would ask for your prayerful support of those who work in the service of our Church in Ukraine, bringing the Good News of Our Lord’s love and salvation to them. So, Dearly Beloved in Christ, if you can find it in your heart and bank accounts to make a donation, please do so.  May the blessing of Our Lord be upon you for your generosities.

I am designating the Sundays of February 21th and 28th of the Great Fast (Lent) for our Eparchial Collection in favour of the needs of our Church in Ukraine.  I would ask that this letter along with special envelopes be distributed to our Faithful in our parish bulletins on Sundays February 7th and 14th  so that they may prepare themselves for the donation. If for good reason they will be absent from the Divine Liturgy on February 21th and 28th they can make their contribution either prior to the general collection date or by the end of the Great Fast (Lent).

I would like to ask that our parishes provide the funds collected noting the amounts for the various projects be sent to our office no later than Monday 25 April so that we can send these funds to the appropriate organizations by the first week of May of this year.

I am uniting my prayers with those of yours in our journey through the Great Fast (Lent) to the joyful celebration of Our Lord’s Holy Resurrection on Easter Sunday!

Sincerely yours in the Lord,

+Ken

Eparchial Bishop of New Westminster