Pope Francis to the members of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC: The closeness of pastors to people is a channel that carries the living water of hope

Saturday, 09 July 2022, 16:18
“We are with you in thoughts, prayers and actions!” said Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio in Poland, at the beginning of his address on behalf of the Holy Father Francis to the members of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, the clergy and all the faithful gathered in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Przemyśl (Poland).

On this day, July 7, the community of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist celebrates its church feast. At the same time, this very day marks the beginning of the 2022 Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, which is taking place in Przemyśl on July 7-15. Traditionally, the beginning is marked by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which was led by the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav in co-service with the bishops of the Synod.

Before the start of the divine service, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio in Poland, addressed all those gathered on behalf of the Holy Father Pope Francis.

The Holy Father began his address, noting that it was the war in Ukraine that made it impossible to hold the Synod in Kyiv, as planned before.

Therefore, the Pope recalled that not so long ago, namely on June 27, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church liturgically celebrated the feast of the Holy Martyr Mykola Charnetsky and other Ukrainian new martyrs.

“In this very moment we better understand the circumstances in which these martyrs lived and died, among whom there were bishops, priests, monks, nuns and laymen who became victims of the communist, Soviet regime. Today, they protect their suffering people from heaven. I entrust all members of the Synod to their care.”

The Holy Father affirmed that even today he spiritually unites with suffering Ukrainian people, assuring of his prayer and commitment, “which sometimes, in terms of the delicate situation, do not always appear in the mass media.”

According to His Holiness, the Synod of Bishops, the theme of which is “Synodality and catholicity: the experience of the UGCC”, should aim at the good of the Church and individual believers. It should also become a place of meeting and mutual assistance on a common life path, in search of new ways of accompanying the faithful.

“The closeness of pastors with the faithful is a channel that is built day by day and carries the living water of hope. It is built exactly this way, meeting after meeting, with priests who know and take to heart the anxieties of people, as well as with the faithful who, thanks to the care they receive, assimilate the good news of the Gospel, which is conveyed by pastors. They do not understand it if the shepherds are ready only to pronounce God. They perceive it if they make an effort to give God: by giving themselves, by being close as witnesses of the God of hope, who became flesh to tread the paths of a man, so that the Church is a place where people derive hope from, find an always open door, receive consolation and encouragement,” Pope Francis recalled his words addressed to His Beatitude Sviatoslav and the metropolitans of the UGCC during a joint meeting in July 2019 held in Rome.

Expressing his heartfelt wishes for the beginning of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, Pope Francis said: “This meeting may inspire you to creatively continue the extraordinary tradition of faith of the Fathers, rooted and supported by generations of people of God within your nation. I pray that your Church and your people, enlivened by the power of the Holy Sacraments, peering into the Immaculate Heart of Mary, do not lose Christian hope for a better future.”

Press Service of the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC


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