On June 30, 2021, the second session of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was held online. The meeting was attended by bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from Ukraine, Western and Central Europe, North and South America and Australia.
According to the UGCC Information Department, this is the second session of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in 2021, which was preceded by the first session held on March 30 this year and four regional meetings with bishops from all over the world in May.
The participants of the meeting analyzed the program of the current Synodal Act and the state of implementation of previous developments and decisions.
Therefore, the main topics of this second meeting were the further development of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the continuation of the development of the draft church-wide pastoral plan. First of all, Bishop Kenneth Novakovsky, Chairman of the Pastoral Council, and Bishop Bogdan Danylo presented the initial stages of developing this vision of the Church. At this first stage, Metropolitan Borys Gudziak of Philadelphia proposed guidelines for creating a new pastoral plan, after which, during regional meetings with bishops from all over the world, the working group participants had the opportunity to get acquainted in more detail with the challenges and pastoral initiatives of various dioceses and exarchates of the UGCC. Thus, it was the impetus for intense discussion and discussion.
Members of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC noted that the new pastoral plan should take into account the circumstances of the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the specifics of the pastoral life of each diocese/exarchate of the UGCC in Ukraine and around the world. In particular, this concerns the cohesion of parish communities, the invitation of the faithful to return to churches, the transition from online meetings to live communication and participation in the holy sacraments, and the renewal of pastoral care in modern conditions.
The Synod fathers also noted that families should not be ignored as the first community of educating a person in the faith. In the context of the current crisis of institutions and growing individualism, the family needs special support from the church to realize itself as a home church. His Eminence Borys Gudziak stressed that today we are dealing with “a wounded anthropology and a wounded person” who needs wound treatment and healing.
In addition, the bishops stressed the need to coordinate a new pastoral plan with Pope Francis ‘ call for pastoral conversion. This appeal, according to the Synod participants, primarily concerns the bishops themselves, and therefore priests and pastors, who must go together with the people of God entrusted to their care. Only in this way will the Church be able to give a decent and effective response, which consists in healing the wounds of modern society wounded by the pandemic.
The second session of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC ended with a joint prayer of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from all over the world who took part in the meeting.