Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 15, 2002
Local Ukrainian priests called to be bishops
Motiuk goes to Winnipeg, Chomnycky to England
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Two prominent local Ukrainian Catholic priests have been appointed to episcopal positions in Canada and Europe.
Pope John Paul April 5 appointed Father David Motiuk, canonical advisor to the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton, as auxiliary bishop of Ukrainian Archeparchy of Winnipeg.
The same day, he named Basilian Father Paul Chomnycky, pastor of St. Basil's Parish and superior of the local Basilian monastery, bishop of Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland and Wales.
The announcements came as a shock to Bishop Lawrence Huculak of Edmonton who had just appointed Motiuk pastor to the new parish of Sherwood Park.
"It's quite a shock almost for our eparchy to lose two very good men," Huculak said. "Both of them were part of my (team of) consultors and I worked closely with both of them."
Both will be ordained bishops at St. Basil's Church June 11. Chomnycky, 47, will be installed in England June 16. Motiuk's installation date has not been set.
Motiuk said his heart stopped when he received the call from the apostolic nuncio announcing his appointment. Once he reflected on the appointment, he called the nuncio back to accept it. Then he sent a letter of gratitude to the pope for placing his confidence in someone young.
"It's a symbol of the pope's love for youth," Motiuk said of his episcopal appointment at age 40, which makes him the youngest bishop in Canada.
He has been described as academic and intellectual but Motiuk is also a people person who enjoys playing racquetball, attending social gatherings with family and friends, and travelling. His favourite movie is The Mission with Robert de Niro and his favourite TV show is Star Trek.
He also enjoys spectator sports, describing himself as "die-hard Oilers fan." As auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Motiuk will be the right hand man of Archbishop Michael Bzdel, metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada.
Huculak believes Motiuk will be an "excellent bishop" because he has a lot of experience in the type of work that a bishop does, namely theology, pastoral work, discipline and administration.
He described Motiuk as "a very spiritual man who keeps his prayer life in order, is good with the public, has an ability to work with both lay people and clergy, and knows the Church's theology and discipline."
Born in Vegreville in 1962, Motiuk was raised in Lavoy along with a brother and three sisters. He was ordained for the Edmonton Eparchy in 1988.
He has a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.
Motiuk served in several parishes in Alberta and was associate rector of St. Josaphat Cathedral. He has also served a five-year stint as rector of Holy Spirit Seminary in Ottawa.
Chomnycky was surprised when he learned of his appointment. "I've never been to Great Britain before and I don't know anybody there. My first reaction was I'm being sent into exile."
He meditated on the appointment and after realizing it was "the will of God," he accepted it.
Chomnycky was born in 1954 in Vancouver and has a university degree in commerce.
He worked as an accountant for two years and then entered the Order of St. Basil the Great. He was ordained a priest in October 1988. Following ordination, he studied philosophy and theology in Rome.
Over the past 12 years Chomnycky has served as pastor of several Alberta parishes as well as a parish in Vancouver.
In 1997 he became superior of Sts. Peter and Paul Monastery in Mundare and pastor of the parish in that town.
In 2000 Chomnycky became superior of St. Basil's Monastery in Edmonton and last year pastor of St. Basil's Parish.
His only plan for the15,000 Ukrainian Catholics in Great Britain is to "get to know them, listen to their concerns, try to be a good spiritual father to them and guide them according to the teaching of the Church."