risu.org.ua - From 26 to 29 October, 2017, the Annual Meeting of Eastern Catholic Bishops in Europe was held in London, at the invitation of H. Ex. Msgr. Hlib Lonchyna, bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family in London. The meeting was held at the Center for Unity of the Focolare Movement at Welwyn Garden City. They were intense days of meetings, conferences, and debates, but above all days of brotherhood and prayer, during which the bishops shared hope and suffering, projects and hardship of the Eastern Catholic Churches of Europe. There were about forty participants including bishops, priests, and experts in catechesis, coming from countries ranging from England to Ukraine, from the Scandinavian regions down to Greece. The general theme of the meeting was the proclamation, the knowledge, and the life of faith in Christ (Kerygma-Catechesis-Mystagogy), informs Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae press release.
In the same period, also the 60th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Eparchy of the Holy Family of London was commemorated. This recurrence gave us the opportunity to remember with gratitude the pastoral attention of the Holy See in meeting the pastoral needs of the Eastern Catholic faithful scattered throughout Western Europe. In this way, it was possible to evaluate the specific situation of the Eastern Catholic Churches in all diaspora circumstances, with the hope that the experience of the past can still be an inspiration in continuing the pastoral engagement of all ecclesial realities in favour of the faithful who have emigrated from their own countries. The inaugural session was attended by the auxiliary bishop of London, H. Ex. Msgr. Paul McAleenan, who conveyed Cardinal Vincent Nichols's greetings and wished the presence of the Holy Spirit in our meeting. Then the Apostolic Nuncio in Great Britain, H. Ex. Msgr. Edward J. Adams, conveyed the greetings of the Holy Father. Pope Francis imparted his Apostolic Blessing on the meeting and extended his greetings to the faithful of the Ukrainian Eparchy and the Archbishop Major. The Apostolic Nuncio insisted on the need to announce the Gospel, to proclaim it, and to discover the beauty of a life of communion with God and with others. He proposed the image of Christ as an antidote to the evils of the present moment.
"At the conclusion of these works, all of us, shepherds of the Eastern Catholic Churches of Europe, are comforted by the love of the Lord in our ecclesial service, by the Divine Grace that heals our weaknesses, and by the Lord's love for his Church that drives us to proclaim his Gospel. We are convinced of the central and fundamental necessity of the proclamation of Christ by means of a catechesis and a mystagogy that arise from the celebration of the Divine Liturgy as a place of confession and celebration of our faith. A mystagogy that flows from the Gospel, from the texts of the liturgy, and from the iconography, to lead our faithful to the contemplation of the mystery of Christ, the Word of God incarnate, through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Virgin Mary", read the final statement.
Bishops mentioned the situation in Ukraine. "We particularly invoke the gift of peace and reconciliation for the Ukrainian people, who have been overwhelmed for too long by violence and war, and we also recalled the persecution and suffering of our Christian brothers in the Middle East".
In 2018, our meeting will take place from 14 to 17 June in the Eparchy of Lungro of the Italo-Albanians in Italy, at the invitation of H. Ex. Msgr. Donato Oliverio.
The meeting ended on Sunday, 29 October, with the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the cathedral church of the Holy Family in London, presided over by Archbishop Cyril Vasil' SJ, secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.