Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 26, 2007
Latin rite, Ukrainians now collaborators
By WCR Staff
The initial reaction of The Roman Catholic clergy and hierarchy to the arrival of Ukrainian Catholics in Western Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was far from welcoming.
Perhaps it was the different liturgy and the possibility of married priests coming to Canada. But even the senior Roman prelate of the region, Archbishop Ad‚lard Langevin who was bishop of St. Boniface, Man., from 1895 to 1915, suggested it would be better if all Ukrainian Catholics simply joined the Latin rite.
Langevin was quickly chastised by Bishop Vital Grandin of St. Albert. He eventually came to take a much different view of the Ukrainians and helped to establish permanent Ukrainian Catholic structures in the West.
Bishop David Motiuk chronicles some of the struggles of the early Ukrainian Catholics in the West in his book Eastern Christians in the New World.
In an interview, Motiuk said there's "a great difference" today in relations between Ukrainian and Latin rite Catholics from what they were a century ago.
"We were unknown," said the Ukrainian bishop.
The Latin Church had looked after the spiritual needs of Canadian Catholics for hundreds of years. "Then en masse, Eastern Catholics arrived with their own spirituality, liturgy and culture which were very different."
Today Latin and Ukrainian Catholics enjoy close collaboration and admiration and support for each other, he said.
"We've gotten to know each other. We appreciate to a greater degree the diversity of legitimate traditions."
In the end, Motiuk said, the faith of the whole Church in Canada has been enriched by the awareness of diversity within unity.