Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 20, 2006
Edmonton oracles foresaw Huculak's future elevation
Archbishop, chuckles over 1997 'prophecies'
By GLEN ARGAN
"You mean you have the gift of prophecy?"
- Archbishop Lawrence Huculak
Daunted by becoming a bishop in the first place, he was also reluctant to assume the higher post.
But having seen the complex process, with numerous people giving input, that went into choosing a new metropolitan, Huculak says he was reluctant to say "no." "You really have to think twice: Do I really know better than all these people?"
He reconciles himself with the thought: "I suppose that if someone were overly eager for the position, we would say that's a bad sign already."
Still, he had to discern before offering his "yes" when the request to become metropolitan came just before Christmas.
"I'm never eager to pack up my things and move," Huculak said, adding that he is now at peace with the decision.
"The Holy Spirit is a major player in the choice of people in these positions of episcopal ministry or Church leadership."
As metropolitan, Huculak becomes the senior member of Canada's Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy. He coordinates activities and projects among the country's five eparchies. He watches over eparchies without a bishop and will sometimes officiate at liturgical events in a vacant eparchy when a bishop is needed.
But it's not as though he is a boss to the other bishops. All bishops have a lot of autonomy, "so it's not like I go sticking my nose into other eparchies," he says.
The challenge is to provide leadership and to be looking to the future of the Church. "You almost have to be a prophet. Our people very much want a sign of hope."
A hundred years ago, the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada was a Church of young immigrants, he says. Today, the culture and identity are being lost by many members with some being absorbed into mainstream society. "That can be very discouraging to the people who are left."
So the metropolitan has a special job of encouraging people to live by the Gospel message and to make the Church relevant to young people, he says.
He has to help the Church avoid being "a ghetto Church that lives only for Ukrainian Catholics." It must share its gifts with the wider society.
Those gifts include the artistic expression of the faith through music, art and language. And while united with Rome, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, due to its Eastern roots, has a different understanding of the sacraments and the Gospel.
Ukrainian Catholics have lived through persecution in Ukraine and suffered as a minority culture in Canada. "We have not been the major player in the Christian world or in the Catholic world."
The Ukrainian Catholic Church also has much to offer to ecumenical dialogue as "a Church that has come into union with the Church of Rome." Its experience can provide a model for Christian unity.
So, in all those areas, the metropolitan must contribute. With a vision, he must lead his people and he must share the Ukrainian Catholic experience with the wider Church and with all of Canada.
It is a task that Lawrence Huculak has been called to shoulder for the next 20 years. It is a ministry that he has accepted with some reluctance, but one which many others see God as having prepared him for.
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