Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 17, 2002
The season for new evangelization
By WCR Staff
Ask Bishop Paul Chomnycky about the Church in the Western world and he raises the issue of re-evangelization.
"In the Catholic Church what we have are baptized pagans," he said. At significant times of their lives birth, marriage and death they remember their affiliation with the Church.
But at other times, the Church is far from central to their awareness. "People have to feel the need to have Christ, the Church and the sacraments in their lives."
"We have to try to keep the children and grandchildren (of the immigrants) here in the Church," he said. "Anyplace in the diaspora (outside Ukraine), its going to be very difficult for the Church to preserve itself."
Intermarriage is the unstoppable force that tends to lead young people away from the Church, Chomnycky said.
Prior to the fall of communism in 1991, any possibility of immigration from Ukraine to the West was non-existent and numbers were decreasing in the Canadian Church, he said. The Church tried to address this falling-away by introducing English sermons and English in the liturgy.
"We have to pray with the people in the language they understand."
In England, where there are two groups those present in the country since the end of the Second World War and those who have arrived since 1991 the Church has been slower in adopting English as part of its liturgy, he said.