The Portal November 2017 - Page 21

THE P RTAL November 2017 Page 21 A Portal Exclusive! Eastern Catholic Bishops of Europe The Annual Meeting of The Eparchy of The Holy Family in London was attended by Ronald Crane I t was my colleague, Fr Mark Woodruff, who alerted me to the fact that this Annual Meeting was to be held in the UK for the first time. It was a double celebration as it marked sixty years of the Ukrainian apostolic exarchate in 1957. It achieved the status of Eparchy in 2013. So I made my way to Welwyn Garden City where I mingled with Eastern Rite bishops, clergy and laity from twelve Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. The welcome from Myroslava Matwijiwskyj (or Myrosia for short) was as warm as can be. Fr Mark had smoothed the way for me, but even so, Myrosia was warm and generous in her welcome. The daughter of the Chancellor of the Eparchy, she has held the meeting together with other members of the Secretariate. The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family is the Eparchy or bishopric Myroslava Matwijiwskyj for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Great Britain. It is one of two Eastern Rite Catholic dioceses in Great Britain, along with the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Great Britain. Unlike many other nations outside Ukraine to which the Ukrainian diaspora have emigrated, such as Canada and Australia, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Great Britain did not have Eparchal status until recently. The Ukrainian Catholic Church has Bishop Hlib Lonchyna sixteen parishes in England and Scotland. Myrosia told me that many of their faithful have Ukrainian backgrounds. They may come from the Ukraine, or be second or third generation Ukrainian as she is herself. A measure of the way the Eparchy has cemented itself into life in the UK is shown by the fact that at their Cathedral in Mayfair in London, the Litur gy is celebrated in English on at least one Saturday evening a month. The fifty or so delegates were welcomed Sister Iryna SSMI by the Ukrainian Bishop in UK, The Right Revd Hlib Lonchyna. He, together with Myrosia and Sister Iryna SSMI gave us a brief history of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the UK. His Excellency Edward Joseph Adams, the Papal Nuncio in England and Wales, read a message of encouragement and blessing from the Holy Father. Bishop Paul McAleenan, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, represented Vincent, Cardinal Nichols and welcomed those present in a spirit of brotherly love. There were questions to Bishop Lonchyna about other Eastern Rite Churches in the UK, Ecumenical relations with Anglicans, Ukrainian Orthodox Christians in UK, other Eastern Churches in UK, and, I was pleased to hear, the Ordinariate. The Conference met over four days at the end of October and included Bishops from Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in Europe. Discussions covered topics such as Kerygma and the difficulties of proclaiming the Catholic Faith in a secular society that understands little about religion, let alone Catholic Christianity. Delegates were concerned that many of their faithful were being lured away by other churches in the UK, Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion often being given to ex- patriot Eastern Rite Catholics and