Busy Summer Semester for Sheptytsky Institute Staff


 (The following was printed in Progress Ukrainian Catholic News, September 16, 2012,  pp. 8-9,
 used with permission) 

 OTTAWA       Like staff at many educational institutions in North America, the professors and instructors of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (MASI) at Saint Paul University in Ottawa remained almost as busy during the summer as during the academic year.

Right after the semester ended, on April 18, Fr. Peter Galadza presented his Slavonic-English Analytical Catalogue of Liturgical Manuscripts in Ukrainian Repositories at McGill University in Montreal. The launch was hosted by McGill’s Centre for Research on Religion (CREOR). After the presentation, Fr. Galadza was voted in as a permanent fellow of CREOR by the Centre’s Board. He had been a visiting fellow during the academic year.

The following week Fr. Stephen Wojcichowsky, MASI’s beloved director, along with Frs. Andriy Chirovsky and Peter Galadza, were involved in the symposium (already reported on) entitled “Sheptytsky and the Jews,” co-sponsored by the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter. The symposium took place at Saint Paul University.

Early May took Fr. Galadza to Hong Kong, where he participated with more than 20 other theologians in the annual meeting of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III). The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity had appointed Galadza as the Eastern Catholic consultant to ARCIC earlier in the year. For the next meeting in Italy he has been asked to prepare a paper, “An Eastern Catholic Response to ARCIC’s The Gift of Authority.”

On May 14 Fr. Wojcichowsky travelled to the famed Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario, where he spoke on the topic, “‘Utishytel’ — The Holy Spirit: An Eastern Christian Approach.” It was a reflection on Catherine Doherty’s Eastern Christian background and its influence on her formation as a disciple and apostle of Christ. On the following day Fr. Stephen worked with the international board of directors of the Madonna House Apostolate to assist them in clarifying the particular charism of their community.

On May 17, Fr. Wojcichowsky greeted the former ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Ihor Ostash, at the screening of the latter’s film on Ukrainians in Canada. Fr. Wojcichowsky had facilitated the event, which took place at Saint Paul’s. Following the film, Frs. Maxym Lysask, an instructor in spirituality at MASI, and Fr. Peter Galadza, received certificates of recognition from Dr. Ostash for their role as chaplains during the previous year’s memorial train trek across Canada. The voyage marked the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. Fr. Galadza had accompanied the delegation from Halifax to Ottawa, and Fr. Lysack from Ottawa to Edmonton.

Throughout the summer, Fr. Andrew Onuferko continued his work as co-ordinator and animator of “Vision 2020.” The initiative, begun by the Synod of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic, gathers clergy throughout the Church’s eparchies to reflect on and strategize about the Church’s revitalization. The idea is to develop a strong sense of where the UGCC should be in eight years – and beyond. “Vision 2020” took Fr. Onuferko’s to Austria in May, Ukraine in June, and Australia and Germany in August.

In early June, Frs. Onuferko and Galadza travelled to Lviv to present papers at the Ukrainian Catholic University’s conference marking the Fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II. Onuferko spoke on Ukrainian ecumenism since the Council, and Galadza on the Council’s attempt to combat anti-Semitism. He focused on the implications of several Vatican II decrees for the editing of anti-Jewish phrases in Holy Week hymnography.

On June 7, Fr. Andriy Chirovsky and Fr. Andrew Onuferko were at the headquarters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the USA in South Boundbrook, NJ. Along with Bishop Basil Losten, they took part in a meeting with Metropolitan Anthony Shcharba and Fr. Anthony Ugolnik of the UOC regarding the renewal of the Kyivan Church Study Group (KCSG). Between 1992 and 1997 the KCSG existed as an unofficial dialogue bringing together interested bishops and theologians from The Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church on the one hand and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (including those Ukrainian Orthodox Churches under the omophorion of Constantinople) on the other.

At the same time as Frs. Chirovsky and Onuferko were at South Bound Brook, Fr. Galadza was at Hellenic College, Brookline, Massachusetts. There he participated in the three-day semi-annual meeting of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. The dialogue is sponsored by the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of America and the US and Canadian Conferences of Catholic Bishops. At the Brookline meeting Fr. Galadza, who has been a member since 1997, was appointed to the Consultation’s drafting committee to produce a statement regarding the issue of mandatory celibacy within the context of Orthodox-Catholic ecumenism.

From June 10 to 17 Fr. Chirovsky took part in the Eparchy of New Westminster’s Cruise to Alaska, marking MASI’s 25th anniversary. This was the last of a series of eparchial events across Canada celebrating MASI’s silver jubilee. Bishops Ken Nowakowski, David Motiuk and Paul Chomnycky were on board with some 70 faithful. During the cruise, Chirovsky delivered two lectures: one outlining the achievements of the Sheptytsky Institute since 1986 and another on iconography. Two members of the MASI Foundation’s Board of Directors, Julian Koziak of Edmonton and Motrya Koropecka of Victoria, BC, were also on board.

Fr. Stephen Wojcichowsky was busy throughout the spring and early summer overseeing preparations for the annual Sheptytsky Institute Study Days, June 29-July 3 (reported on earlier). The event was again a resounding success with over a hundred participants from all over North America. Fr. Andrew Onuferko presented a well-received plenary address on the basics of scriptural interpretation. Among workshop presenters who are MASI instructors were Frs. Andriy Chirovsky, Roman Rytsar, Maxym Lysack and Subdeacon Brian Butcher.

Presvitera Melita Mudri-Zubacz, a MASI alumna, now working in the Winnipeg Archeparchy, again led the annual cantor training program during Study Days. Her practical approach allowed the students to master the contents of several liturgical services. Dobrodika Mudri-Zubacz was assisted by another MASI alumnus, Yuriy Derkach, who was recently hired as chaplain at Ottawa’s Algonquin College.

The two MASI summer courses this year (reported on earlier) were taught from July 3rd to the 16th by Fr. Andriy Chirovsky and Fr. Roman Rytsar respectively. Theosis (deification) was the topic of the first, and kenotic theology – the second. Last January Fr. Rytsar defended his doctoral dissertation on kenosis (sacrificial “self-emptying”) at the Sheptytsky Institute. More than twenty students from Canada and the USA took part in the two-week intensive courses. Deacon Alex Laschuk, another MASI graduate, was responsible for organizing the daily cycle of services during the summer semester.

Fr. Rytsar also completed another unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). CPE is a requirement for chaplains hoping to be certified at the highest level for work in hospitals, prisons and similar institutions. Fr. Rytsar has been gaining wide experience in these areas of pastoral work.

Throughout the spring and summer Fr. Wojcichowsky also oversaw the administration of MASI’s two theology courses at the Studite Monastery in Univ, Ukraine. 2012 marked the seventeenth year that the courses have been offered. For years MASI staff travelled to Ukraine to teach. UCU, however, now has a pool of local theologians who are able to take over the task. Nonetheless, credits for the program are still granted by Saint Paul University.

July 5-15 saw Fr. Galadza and Dr. Brian Butcher at Notre Dame University (NDU) in Beirut, Lebanon. Butcher, a subdeacon of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, has been lecturing at MASI since last year. NDU was the site of the bi-annual congress of Societas Orientalium Liturgiarum (SOL) founded by Fr. Robert Taft in 2004. Two years ago Fr. Galadza was elected president of SOL at its congress in Greece. His presidential address in Beirut was entitled, “New Frontiers in Eastern Christian Liturgy: Studying the Whole of Worship.” Among the SOL Congress events in Lebanon were excursions to the Orthodox University of Balamand, the Maronite Patriarchate, and the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. Fr. Galadza distributed Sheptytsky Institute publications at all these sites as well as at Holy Spirit (Maronite) University in Kaslik.

The incoming president of SOL, Professor Bert Groen of the University of Graz, thanked Galadza for his leadership of the international academic association in a letter to the membership. Groen wrote: “Besides being a fine scholar, editor, and priest of his Church, Peter Galadza is a great team-builder and communicator, giving a great deal of energy to the other members of the executive board as well as to the entire membership.”

At the SOL Congress, Dr. Butcher presented a paper on the Theophany Blessing of Water as interpreted through the narrative theory of Paul Ricoeur, a modern French philosopher. After travelling through the Middle-East, Dr. Butcher flew to Lviv, where he participated in the summer program in Ukrainian language and culture at the Ukrainian Catholic University. Ukrainian is becoming the ninth language in which Dr. Butcher can work.

August 11, Fr. Andriy Chirovsky celebrated vespers at the Annual Slavic Vatra at Mount Lemmon, Arizona and preached on the traditional kindling of the bonfire. He stressed the importance of recognizing Christ as the light of our lives.

While bringing “Vision 2020” to Australia, Fr. Andrew Onuferko preached the annual Ukrainian Catholic clergy retreat from August 13 to 17 in Millgrove, near Warburton. He also found time for a special meeting with Ukrainian laity at the café “Trembita” near Ardeer.

From August 16 to 19, Fr. Stephen Wojcichowsky and Melita Mudri-Zubacz participated in “Unity 2012,” a gathering of Ukrainian Catholic Youth and Young Adults, in Pinawa, Manitoba. This year more than 120 youth attended. Father Stephen, who has been a part of “Unity” since its inception in 1996, was invited to help the participants with their questions about confession, notably, why we need to confess at all, much less to a priest. He used movie clips, quotations from Eastern Christian thinkers, the prayer of the Church on repentance and his own experience of the joy of being embraced by the love of God through confession (both as a penitent and a confessor). The presentation gave many of the participants a renewed vision of the sacramental encounter known as the “Kiss of Christ.”

Dobrodika Mudri-Zubacz presented a workshop on liturgical music entitled “So They Say We Should Sing! Congregational Singing in the UGCC: Its Brief History but Immense Significance.” She explored the importance of the congregation’s active participation in public worship. Historical as well as spiritual implications were considered in order to show why we worship as we do.

On August 21 Fr. Andriy Chirovsky and MASI alumna Dr. Suzette Phillips of the University of Alberta took part in a webinar bringing together eminent scholars from the fields of spirituality and health. The group is planning ways for researchers to bring these two fields into closer conversation. Drs. Bernard McGinn of the University of Chicago and Harvey Koenig of Duke University were the principal interlocutors in the discussion.

Father Stephen Wojcichowsky, participated in the Black Ribbon Day commemoration at Saint Hyacinth Church in Ottawa on August 23. Representatives came from the Polish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Slovak and Czech communities. Father Stephen and Mykola Bilaniuk, who organized the participation of the Ukrainian community of Ottawa, represented Ukraine. Father Stephen offered a prayer which read in part: “Lord of peace and life, Father of all, we pray for the victims of the tyranny imposed by the Nazi and Communist regimes on the people of Ukraine and the lands of our brothers and sisters represented here and other nations as well.”

From August 25 to 27 Fr. Peter Galadza participated in three events marking the episcopal ordination of Fr. Borys Gudziak, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv. At an UCU conference entitled “For you I am a bishop; with you I am a Christian,” he spoke on the symbolism of the rites of episcopal ordination. The next day he served as master of ceremonies at the banquet honoring the newly-ordained bishop. And at an awards ceremony on August 27 he reflected on the work of Dr. Oleh Turiy, an UCU professor and recipient of a generous prize from the Gudziak family for scholarly commitment to working with sources.

Via video link, Fr. Chirovsky also spoke at the August 25th UCU conference. His topic was “The Ministry of the Bishop in the Circumstances of the Ukrainian Diaspora.” It should be remembered that Fr. Chirovsky hired Bishop Borys for his first teaching position in the Sheptytsky Institute’s Summer program at Mount Tabor Monastery in California. Then doctoral student Gudziak taught there for several summers from 1992 on. The new bishop’s principal consecrator, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, was a student at this same program in 1996.

The aforementioned does not include other activities that professors engaged in during the summer, for example, research and publishing. This, in fact, takes up most of their time during the summer months. It also does not include the important work of professors associated with MASI who are employed full-time elsewhere. Among the latter is MASI’s alumnus, Dr. Adam DeVille, the inimitable editor of the Institute’s Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. DeVille, a professor at St. Francis University in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and subdeacon of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, is gaining renown as the most prolific Eastern Catholic author in North America.

Since January, Fr. John Jillions, the third tenured professor at MASI, has been on leave, serving full-time as chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America. He shuttles between Syosset, Long Island and Washington, DC – not to mention scores of other cities – and MASI is looking forward to welcoming him back in the near future.