Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 5, 2007
Motiuk returns to lead Ukrainian Catholics
Family, fellow pastors to welcome Motiuk back
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
It will be a pleasant homecoming for Bishop David Motiuk.
After serving the last five years as auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, the Vegreville native is returning to Alberta as spiritual leader of the province's 28,750 Ukrainian Catholics.
Pope Benedict made the appointment Jan. 25. The installation is tentatively slated for 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 at St. Basil Church in Edmonton.
The Edmonton see has been vacant since Bishop Lawrence Huculak was named archbishop of Winnipeg and metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada a year ago.
"I was delighted to receive the news of the appointment. Of course, I very much felt at home in Winnipeg the past five years," said Motiuk, 45, from Winnipeg. "Being a native son of Alberta, I do look forward to serving our Ukrainian Catholic faithful in the province."
Motiuk was born on Jan. 13, 1962 in Vegreville. He was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 21, 1988 for the Edmonton Eparchy. He served in several parishes in Alberta following his ordination and was associate rector of the St. Josaphat Cathedral.
"I spoke with my family early this morning (Jan. 25) and they are delighted, just as delighted as they are in my episcopal ministry wherever my appointment would have been," he said.
"We have many vacancies throughout the Ukrainian Catholic Church, not only in Canada, but beyond. When a family member and a son is able to be closer to family and friends, it's always welcomed news on their part."
Motiuk has a licentiate in canon law at Saint Paul University in Ottawa and obtained a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. He served as rector of Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Ottawa from 1996 to 2001.
On June 11, 2002 in Edmonton, Motiuk was ordained auxiliary bishop for the Winnipeg Archeparchy.
Motiuk has published several journal articles and a book, Eastern Christians in the New World: An Historical and Canonical Study of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, published in 2005.
He has been a member of the senate of Newman Theological College and a consultor with the episcopal commission for canon law/inter-rite of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Father William Hupalo has been the eparchy's administrator since Huculak went to Winnipeg. He was not surprised that Motiuk was tapped for the position.
Time to come back
"It's about time," Hupalo said with a chuckle. "He was here just a brief time and he has been gone for five years, so there will be a bit of a transition.
"But his family is nearby so I don't expect it will be too tough."
Hupalo expects the new leader will update himself with office procedure. Motiuk is suited for the position because he enjoys leading, Hupalo added.
"I feel confident with him because he doesn't get too worked up about things.
"He's fairly calm, cool and collected. Overall, it will be good to work with him again.
His own territory
"I wasn't too surprised when he was named. Being an auxiliary bishop for five years, it was time he was in charge of his own territory."
With few pressing issues at the moment, Motiuk will be able to take some time to get reacquainted with the eparchy. He cautions, however, that people not assume he knows everything about the Ukrainian Church in Alberta.
"I have been ordained for 18 years and for many of those years, I served outside the Eparchy of Edmonton," he said.
"I hope people are not presumptuous that because I was born and raised in Alberta and was ordained a priest for the eparchy, that I have a fair understanding of the needs and concerns of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Alberta.
"I want to take time to listen and to consult with the laity, the religious and the clergy as to what the needs of the Church might be at this time."