Sheptytsky Institute in Canadian Government Delegation to Papal Inauguration
The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, invited the participation of the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies in Ottawa, to join his official delegation representing Canada at the Inaugural Papal Mass on March 19. Fr. Peter Galadza, assistant director for academic affairs, was designated to represent the Institute.
The delegation included almost 20 Canadian Catholic leaders as well as a small group of Parliamentarians. Representatives of male and female religious orders, academics, and a broad range of lay Church leaders from across Canada departed with the Governor General on March 17 for the two-day event.
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, participated in the parliamentary delegation. “Minister Kenney has a remarkable knowledge of Eastern Christianity – not to mention Church matters in general – and it was a joy to observe his work in Rome,” said Fr. Galadza. Kenney has met Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk on several occasions both in Ukraine and in Canada.
March 18, the delegation was hosted at the Canadian Pontifical College. Canadian Cardinals Marc Ouellet, Thomas Collins and Jean-Claude Turcotte greeted the delegation. Minister Kenney delivered an engaging address highlighting Catholic contributions to Canadian life.
Before the reception, Fr. Galadza concelebrated a Mass for the delegation at Santa Maria Maggiore with two Roman-Rite priests of the delegation. The basilica is where Sts. Cyril and Methodius first celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Old Slavonic in the presence of Pope Hadrian in the ninth century.
The next day, after the papal Mass, Fr. Galadza was interviewed by Vatican Radio about the significance of the new pope for Eastern Catholics. He noted that Patriarch Sviatoslav refers to Pope Francis as his mentor from their days together in Argentina. The new pope was also an acolyte at Ukrainian Catholic liturgies during his school years. “But maybe most significant is that he is a pope of the poor. Most Eastern Catholics live in relative poverty. The people of Ukraine in particular will appreciate his concern for the lowly and forgotten.”
Minister Kenney noted at the conclusion of the delegation’s visit to Rome: “Eastern Catholics are an important part of Canadian life, and it is wonderful that the Sheptytsky Institute was represented in our delegation.”