Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 17, 2002
Monk becomes a bishop
Chomnycky will miss his Basilian community
By GLEN ARGAN
"Ever since I was in high school, there was a voice that was telling me to become a priest and I tried to ignore it."
After two years studying in North America, Chomnycky was sent to Rome to study for the next six years. In 1988, he was ordained in Vancouver.
Since 1990, he has served as pastor of various Ukrainian Catholic parishes in the United States and Canada. He was pastor in his hometown of Vancouver in 1996 when his parents Stephen and Jessie died there.
"I consider it a real blessing that I was able to be with them in the final years of their lives."
More recently, he has served as superior of Sts. Peter and Paul Monastery in Mundare and as pastor of the parish in that town. In 2000, he became superior of St. Basil's Monastery in Edmonton and last year pastor of St. Basil's Parish.
His model as a bishop is a man in whose footsteps he has been following for 20 years - Edmonton Bishop Lawrence Huculak.
"I will certainly try to emulate his style as much as I possibly can in England," Chomnycky said. "He has a lot of pastoral prudence, common sense.
"He never does anything impulsively without thinking things out."
He was surprised to receive the appointment from Pope John Paul to serve Ukrainian Catholics in England. "You puzzle about it. But then you accept it and you follow the call where God calls you."
Going to England "is a demonstration that the Ukrainian Catholic Church is one family spread all over the world. One cousin helps out the other cousin."
Still, he had some trepidation. And so last month he went to London "to see what I was getting myself into."
"It put my mind at ease," he said. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy with the retiring bishop and saw a very different congregation in London than he sees in Edmonton.
"Here, it is basically, a half-filled church with grey-haired people." In London, there was standing room only in the church and most of the people were in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
The Canadian Ukrainian Catholic Church is made up of people who came to Canada at the end of the Second World War or their descendants. In England, the Church is mainly comprised of Ukrainian Catholics who have immigrated since the collapse of communism in 1991.
In London, he also "walked all over town. I even got blisters on my feet," said the man who enjoys hiking in the mountains and Edmonton's river valley.
"London seems to me a very safe city and very historical. I'm sure I'll enjoy myself there."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.