Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 26, 2007
Mentors played formative role for young Motiuk
Greschuk played key role in directing protégé to canon law.
- Photo supplied
Bishop Demetrius Greschuk (right) steered young David Motiuk to the priesthood and then to the study of Canon Law
By WCR Staff
A mentor is a precious thing for a young person. The mentor can build your confidence, help you find your vocation, steer you away from blind alleys and show you the proper way things are done. A mentor can spare you years of learning in the school of hard knocks.
Young David Motiuk had a mentor in Bishop Demetrius Greschuk, the second bishop of the Edmonton Eparchy.
Even before young David decided to enter the seminary Greschuk made himself present in Motiuk's life.
In a 2002 interview, Motiuk, who had been pondering a career as a physician, recalled coming home. "My sister said, 'You're thinking of going to the seminary, aren't you?' I said, 'Yes, how do you know?' 'Bishop Demetrius is calling more often.'"
Visits with Greschuk
After entering Holy Spirit Seminary in Ottawa, Motiuk would come home in the summers and always visit the bishop. "We would sit for hours and just talk. It didn't matter what was on his agenda; you had his undivided attention."
When Motiuk wanted to do graduate studies, he planned to do it in an area such as liturgy, spirituality or doctrine. "But Bishop Demetrius kept coming back to canon law."
So Motiuk agreed to take a couple of courses in canon law "and I fell in love with the discipline."
Then, after completing his canon law degree, Greschuk asked him to come and work in the chancery office. Motiuk showed up on a Friday, Greschuk told him he had been appointed chancellor and then promptly left town for a couple of weeks.
"It was kind of sink or swim," Motiuk recalled.
On July 9, 1990, Greschuk, only 66, died of a massive heart attack while working at his desk in his residence on Ada Boulevard. Father Motiuk was 28.
One cannot help but think that the late bishop with the warm smile will be watching the March 24 ceremony from above as his prot‚g‚ is installed as his successor as bishop of Edmonton.
But if Greschuk was Motiuk's mentor in his early days, the bishop says many people have influenced him since then.
Hermaniuk avant garde
One was Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk, leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada from 1965 to 1993.
"I felt there's a great leader (Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk). There's someone I could follow."
- Bishop David Motiu
"I felt there's a great leader. There's someone I could follow," Motiuk said of his first meetings with Hermaniuk when he was a seminarian.
Hermaniuk "was a great Churchman, a great statesman, a great spiritual father, very avant garde in his desire for spiritual growth in the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada," he said in a recent interview.
"He was someone I felt was deeply in love with God and with his faith."
Another hero was Pope John Paul II. Motiuk began to follow the Polish pope when he was a university student.
"At exam time, I would reward myself for a good study period by reading the childhood, the early years of Pope John Paul, of Karol Wojtyla," he recalled.
"His challenge in discerning the priesthood reverberated with my own spirit," Motiuk said. "That helped me through my exams as a light spiritual retreat. But I also knew that Christ was beginning to concretize my own vocation."
Yet another cleric whom Motiuk reveres is Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, the head of the Church in Ukraine who died in 1944.
Sheptytsky was "a spiritual giant," said Motiuk. He stood tall against the onslaught of communism, developed a good relationship with the Jewish community, twice visited Canada and was "a great pastoral shepherd."
"I began to fall in love with him," he said.
All those people, each in their own way, Motiuk said, have influenced his own approach to ministry.