Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 16, 2006
Huculak gets call to service
Edmonton eparch to become Canada's top Ukrainian bishop
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"It's a call to use the experience that I've gained here to do more."
- Bishop Lawrence Huculak
As metropolitan, Huculak, 55, will play a leadership role in the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada. While not interfering with the day-to-day running of other Canadian eparchies, he will, from time to time, coordinate activities and functions among them.
"I take this appointment as a call to service," the bishop said. "It's a call to use the experience that I've gained here to do more, to provide still more service for the Church."
As head of the Winnipeg Archeparchy, which includes all of Manitoba, Huculak will be responsible for about 30,000 Ukrainian Catholics in 130 parishes and missions, 50 priests, 15 permanent deacons and 43 religious men and women.
In addition to the Winnipeg Archeparchy, there are four Ukrainian Catholic eparchies in Canada: Edmonton (Alberta), New Westminster (B.C. and Yukon), Toronto (Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes) and Saskatoon (Saskatchewan).
Huculak will continue as administrator of the Edmonton Eparchy until his installation as archbishop of Winnipeg Feb. 11 by Major Archbishop and Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the Kiev-based worldwide head of Ukrainian Catholics.
Following the installation, the priests of the Edmonton Eparchy will elect a priest to administer the eparchy until a new bishop is appointed.
A native of Vernon, B.C., Huculak joined the Basilian Fathers in Ottawa in 1969. After earning a degree in philosophy in Ottawa and a doctorate in oriental pontifical studies in Rome, he was ordained a priest in Vernon in 1977.
In 1986, following 11 years in Rome, he became pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic in Mundare, Alta. While serving there, he became a professor of Byzantine liturgy at the seminary in Edmonton.
He was superior and master of novices at Sts. Peter and Paul Monastery in Mundare when he was appointed Ukrainian Bishop of Edmonton in 1996.
He has been a member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' permanent council and has served on the episcopal commission for canon law-inter rite since 2003.
Locally, he has been active as a lecturer at Newman Theological College and is a firm supporter of the ecumenical movement. He has been on the dialogue committee of the Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches since he became a bishop.
"He has a good pastoral approach with people and people feel comfortable around him."
- Fr. William Hupalo
"I believe this is an extremely important aspect of our Church ministry; we cannot just close into ourselves to think that nobody else exists out there," Huculak said. He now plans to use his influence as metropolitan to encourage Ukrainian bishops across Canada to continue their involvement in the ecumenical dialogue.
"When I was first made bishop somebody pointed out that a bishop has three areas of concern: his concern for his flock, his concern with the other churches and Christians in the world that he lives in, and his concern with his relationship with God," he said. "Those three areas of concern, which I had up to now, will continue in my new role (as metropolitan and archbishop of Winnipeg)."
Those who work close to Huculak in Edmonton feel they are not just losing a spiritual guide but also a close friend.
"We are certainly going to miss him; he's been a good bishop," said vicar general Father William Hupalo, who has twice served as administrator of the Edmonton Eparchy.
"He has a good pastoral approach with people and people feel comfortable around him. People are not afraid of talking to him about any subject." In his nine years in office, Huculak brought openness, transparency and stability to the eparchy, Hupalo said.
"This is a nice promotion for him," said eparchial chancellor Father Michael Kowalchyk. "We got used to him in the last 10 years. It's going to be hard to be without him but we accept the decision of the holy father."
Huculak is a bishop who understands his flock, Kowalchyk said. "He was very close to the people and he conducted himself as a model."
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