Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 26, 2007
Former religious education director heads Sheptytsky Institute
Fr. Wojcichowsky directed religious education for city Catholic schools
- Photo by Rosemary O'Hearn
"I am edified by your passion for life, your hopeful outlook for the future."
By ROSEMARY O'HEARN
Special to the WCR
The former director of religious education for Edmonton Catholic Schools has become director of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul University.
Father Stephen Wojcichowsky began a three-year term as director of MASI on Feb. 1.
MASI is an academic unit of the faculty of theology at Saint Paul University and offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in Eastern Christian Studies as well as certificate and summer intensive programs both in Canada and in Ukraine.
Over 60 students, professors, support staff and university administrators recently gathered at the (MASI) to greet the new director of the institute.
Wojcichowsky shared some reflections, saying that he is mindful of God's kindness in his life in bringing him to this moment. He is also grateful to the many people who have paved the way for his "coming here to work with and among you."
He expressed excitement in working with the other professors of the institute, Fathers Peter Galadza and John Jillions, and with the administrative staff and students.
Wojcichowsky thanked Saint Paul University for having the vision to integrate into its life and identity the Sheptytsky Institute which, though small in magnitude, is great in scope.
He underscored its mission to communicate, in dialogue with contemporary societies, "the power of Christian faith and living tradition, so that all may share in the very life of God."
He spoke of the differences and similarities between the Eastern and Western churches and noted that while there are differences of emphasis, expression, thought and understanding, there is only one Christ.
He hopes to use these differences, which are not divisive at heart, as a springboard to dialogue and exchange to strengthen the good relations between SPU, the institute and the community.
Wojcichowsky addressed the students in particular saying, "I am edified by your passion for life, your hopeful outlook for the future, your desire to serve, your straining after what is true and right, your appreciation of goodness and beauty wherever you find it. It is with you especially that I wish to work for your joy."
Originally from Montreal, Wojcichowsky was ordained a priest in 1980 at the Ukrainian Catholic Studite Monastery in Castelgandolfo, Italy.
He studied at Loyola College in Montreal, University of Toronto, University of St. Michael's College, and the John XXIII Institute for Eastern Christian Studies in New York, earning degrees in theology, education and political science.
Pursuing a doctorate
He has completed the requirements for a licentiate in theology in Eastern Christian Studies and is currently pursuing a doctorate in ministry at Saint Paul University.
Father Stephen and his wife Maria have three adult children and two grandchildren.
For over 30 years, Wojcichowsky has combined service to Catholic schools and Ukrainian Catholic parishes as a teacher, principal, school district administrator, lecturer in theology, school chaplain, seminary spiritual director, deacon, assistant priest, pastor, and as a member on any number of committees and boards.
His most recent appointments were as director of religious education services at the Edmonton Catholic School District and as assistant pastor of St. Josaphat Cathedral in Edmonton.