The CNEWA Connection t The Rev. Petro Khudyk chats with his congregation in Tarashcha. y The wooden chapel in Tarashcha offers parishioners a more traditional space for worship.
CNEWA has supported the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church since our foundation, even during the decades when the church was driven underground in Ukraine by the Soviets. Since 1991, when the nation achieved its independence, CNEWA has expanded its work to help a resurrected Greek Catholic Church in its efforts to live, teach and preach the Gospel. CNEWA has helped fund the formation of young men and women to serve as priests, religious and lay catechetical leaders, especially through the Ukrainian Catholic University, helping to provide hundreds of new leaders to rebuild a country devastated by a soulless ideology. CNEWA support also includes assistance to the church’s works — primarily through Caritas Ukraine — with those with special needs, as well as those displaced by war along the nation’s eastern border with Russia. We have sought to give spiritual and material sustenance, as well, by helping eparchies build churches and chapels, providing the seeds to help this growing church continue to bear good fruit. To help the church in Ukraine to continue to grow, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada). To one frequently asked question — “will you bless my car?” — he answers, “sure, but you still have to drive safely.” Such small matters often serve as the entry point for discussion. Blessing an Easter basket of eggs, cheese, ham and bread but containing a bottle of vodka leads to a talk about moderation. A Memorial Day outing to a cemetery
stirs a discussion of reverence and dignity in celebration. A funeral prompts a conversation about the importance of building community beyond a few thoughtful donations and a short ceremony. “I can’t change their whole lives; I emphasize that nothing is absolute or categorical.” Still, the lack of familiarity makes for slow going, the priest says.
“They look at the church as functionary, to provide services like baptisms, to bury the dead,” he explains. “Then they leave, as if they’re delegating the task to me.” To overcome this, he asks his parishioners to come early and stay after liturgy to tidy up, conduct choir practice and socialize while he teaches the catechism to children. “I emphasize that the church isn’t chiefly to satisfy one’s personal needs — that it’s about developing spiritually, about building a community together,” Father Merimerin says. “Like Origen wrote: ‘Jesus, come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet.’ “We must practice the faith together.”
haring the sentiment of his brother priest in Bila Tserkva, the Rev. Petro Khudyk, 36, ventures beyond his tiny wooden chapel to reach out to the community in the district of Tarashcha. Weekly he speaks on the radio about the church, focusing on basics such as Christian ethics and holidays. Seven years ago, fresh out of seminary, he thought he would serve as a fixed pillar, to build up a community from within. Instead, he now “comes to you,” he says. “People call in the studio. It’s really interactive, and I use the feedback for the next show from listeners. I give the address of the church on air and leave my phone number with the radio station.” When not preaching on the airwaves, Father Khudyk does so in person, through words and actions.
The official publication of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)