Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration

УКРАЇНСЬКA КАТОЛИЦЬКA ЦЕРКВА ПРЕОБРАЖЕННЯ ГОСПОДНЬОГО


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The Church—The Gathering Place|Церква – місце спілкування


ChurchEaster2017(Interview with Fr. Oleh Kindiy, Professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv – continued)

Many people we interviewed replied that they believe in God but they don’t need a “middle man”. Others go to church when it’s empty. Still others attend for certain “rituals”: baptisms, weddings, or funerals. The majority generally don’t consider Church as community.

This is because, for instance, we teach catechism to children but only rarely in parishes do we have catechetical programs for adults. The Early Christians knew well that Church was a place to continuously deepen our faith, but we today have yet to recognize this. In terms of knowing God, there are no boundaries. On the other hand, at times people demand something from the Church, but when they are invited to, for example, a Parish Bible study, or a group to discover the beauty of the Byzantine Liturgy, they won’t take that next step; few respond to the additional offerings of their church.

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Why go to church? [Pt. 11] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Communion imageSometimes people say their own prayers during Liturgy …
These people aren’t feeling their role in the community event that is Liturgy. They simply have not grasped what is taking place at the Liturgy and naturally they would want to spend that time doing something that is spiritually engaging …

What is the meaning of other Services in our Church, besides the Divine Liturgy?
In our rite, we have a great number and variety of services. Each has its own worth. Too often, we make the mistake of measuring other liturgies as “less than” the Divine Liturgy.

Each liturgy is a glorification of God. We sing various biblical texts, hymns, chants—thus achieving the pinnacle of human ability; the celebration of God.

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Why go to church? [Pt. 9] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Communion imageWhat if at Liturgy there are 200 or 300 strangers around me? How am I supposed to celebrate?

One might disagree, but I say that at Liturgy it makes no difference if people know each other or have anything in common – because the fact that they are present for the Divine Liturgy forms the link between them. This is what we have in common.

We may not recognize this because we usually emphasize psychological aspects of relationships. In order to relate to someone, to show love and kindness, I need to know that person pretty well. Certainly. But the Liturgy leads us to a higher level of awareness of what it is to be human, and what it means to relate to each other. We are united by the ineluctable fact of our humanness, our baptism, our being loved by God.

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Why go to church? [Pt. 8] Що відбувається на Службі Божі?

Communion imagePeople often complain that they don’t understand what is going on during the service. Here are two suggestions:

  1. During the Liturgy, follow along in the prayer books – either in Ukrainian or English.
  2. Find someone who can explain the text, because it was written a long time ago and has archaic terms and unfamiliar phrases. But I’m convinced that these prayers are actually very current today. Their genius lies in that, despite being ancient, they continue to appeal to human emotions and resonate with us.

For example, during the Divine Liturgy the priest says, “We hand over our life and hope to you, Lord, Lover-of-humanity”. This phrase is brimming with significance!

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Що відбувається на Службі Божі? Why go to church [Pt. 7]

But are some sections of the Liturgy more important than others?
No. Absolutely not. I’m not a fan of the (sadly) popular approach of dividing the Liturgy into more or less important segments. Because the Liturgy is a totality in itself and every separate section makes sense only in relation to the whole. If you fragment the unity then everything falls apart, shatters, and we cannot understand what is there.

The Gospel reading, the offering of the gifts, the eucharist, the dismissal, as much as the singing, the incensing of the priest—everything—is absolutely essential.

And for that matter, that we celebrate the Liturgy …
(Supposed to be celebrating)

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Що відбувається на Службі Божі? Why go to church [Pt. 4]

Why should we attend Divine Liturgy?

When people gather together for Liturgy, participate in it, receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ—they
become the Body of Christ—the Church. Thanks to the Liturgy we can understand that the Church isn’t a religious organization, a system of opinions or a creed. It is the body of Christ, a collective of people united by communion in Christ and through Christ.

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