Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 17, 2002
Ukrainians mark historic day
One bishop for London, another for Winnipeg
By GLEN ARGAN
It was a day that won't be soon repeated - two Ukrainian Catholic bishops ordained in one day in Edmonton, neither of them bound to stay in the city.
Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, head of the world Ukrainian Catholic Church, ordained the auxiliary bishop of Winnipeg, Paul Motiuk, and the new apostolic exarch for Great Britain, Paul Chomnycky, June 11 in St. Basil's Church, the church where Chomnycky is pastor.
About 1,100 people, including 17 bishops, nearly filled the cavernous church to see the local priests raised to the episcopate.
"It was absolutely great," Stephanie Bayduza of Edmonton said after the three and a half hour liturgy. "The singing was terrific. The two bishops are excellent people. It was extremely special."
It was especially poignant for Chomnycky, the 47-year-old Vancouver native who will now head overseas to shepherd a community far from home.
"As I leave all of you today, I really felt that I'm leaving my family," the new bishop said at a banquet following the Divine Liturgy.
Motiuk, the 40-year-old aide to Edmonton Bishop Lawrence Huculak, says he turns to his namesake David as a model for slaying giants. "David turns out to be the true giant when he turns his eyes to God, not to Goliath."
Huculak traced the history of how the first Ukrainian Catholic bishop in Canada came from Ukraine and the next five bishops were born in Ukraine, but served in Western Canada, before being named bishops. Now four Ukrainian Catholic bishops from Canada are serving the Church overseas - in the United States, France, Australia and England where Chomnycky will be installed June 16.
The ordination began with recitation of the Nicene Creed. Then, the two bishops to be ordained recited a second and third profession of faith in which they dissociated themselves from early Church heresies and aligned themselves clearly with an orthodox Christian belief in God.
Then, the bishops-elect embraced Husar and then kissed the four corners of the altar three times each.
After that, they each knelt under the book of the Gospels while Husar blessed them three times and pronounced the words of ordination.
Husar paid tribute to the presence of the apostolic nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, as "a visible link, a visible sign of our communion with the Holy Father."
He also drew attention to the six Roman Catholic bishops in the sanctuary - including Archbishops Thomas Collins and Joseph MacNeil of Edmonton - as a sign of the catholicity of the Church.
MacNeil led Motiuk and Chomnycky in a retreat prior to their ordinations.
In his homily, Husar thanked the two new bishops for "magnanimously accepting the invitation" to become bishops.
"I thank both of you that you have not refused the invitation of the Lord."
The cardinal also asked God that the two new bishops maintain the inner strength throughout their lives to always proclaim the Lord. "Have faith! May it never fail; may it never leave you."
Mike Radziwou, a farmer from Vegreville, told the WCR he also attended Bishop Huculak's ordination five years ago. "This was the same. It's OK. That's the tradition.
"They have to stay by their tradition to keep going."
Collins told the banquet the ordination ceremony held "a tremendous sense of majesty and the power of God." Later, the bishops will find trials. "There is plenty of growth in humility in the pathway that lies ahead."
Archbishop Michael Bzdel was pleased to have Motiuk as his new auxiliary bishop. He wrote Pope John Paul and said, "The Holy Father could not have given me personally or the Church in Canada a greater Easter gift."