Our Bishop’s post-Synodal message has just been issued, encapsulating the challenges of our time. The proclamation of the Episcopal Synod of the UGCC “Our Lord’s Call to Hope” embodies Pope Francis’s appeal for a conversion that enables us to better witness Christ’s presence in our global Church.
The epistle encourages us “to consider how we can be a dynamic and authentic Church, a community of peace and joy, followers of Christ, in the midst of today’s dilemmas.” The pastoral letter is comprised of seven sections that “continue the themes of the “Living Parish” plan, introducing questions of pastoral conversion, developing networks of communion, healing wounds, and addressing trauma. The bishops emphasized the necessity of paying practical attention to those who are marginalized and impoverished. Also, the document speaks of the meaning of the
Christian family as the domestic church and the crucial need for every church member’s active involvement in missionary outreach to the world. In the spirit of Laudato Si, our bishops underline the requisite conversion: “Conversion is not refusing something—it is meeting someone: Christ Jesus. . . this frees us so that in Christ we can become a vibrant community of God’s children. Conversion makes us fruitful in spiritual life and pastoral service, fulfilling the mission of the Church throughout all ages and amongst all peoples.” The bishops speak of the dire need for personal, social, and global healing in that “paradoxically we find wholeness not in focussing on ourselves, on our own problems and needs, but rather when we open ourselves to others in empathy and generous love, so that, through our human presence and caring, they might feel God’s healing presence and life-giving love . . .The Holy Father, Francis, calls us to be an ever larger Church, one that goes beyond itself in service. In this way each of us is given a mandate to leave our personal comfort zones, detach from our self-interest, and open up more to those around us.”
The epistle ends with an appeal: “Beloved in Christ! For the priorities and proposals we proffer here to be instituted in the next few years in our Church, we, each of us, you and I, must hear our calling and feel our responsibility before God for the gifts we have been given. Let’s reject everything that keeps us from Christ! Let’s be open to the Holy Spirit, who is with each of us and acts through us. May we be living icons of God’s goodness in the world!”
Full text of the Pastoral Letter in Ukrainian: http://news.ugcc.ua/documents/komun%D0%86kat_sinodu_yepiskop%D1%96v_ukrainskoi_grekokatolitskoi_tserkvi_2021_roku_94484.html