TRADITIONAL GIFTS — The head and father of the worldwide Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk (left) receives flowers and traditional gifts of bread and salt from students in the Ukrainian program at Bishop Filevich Catholic School in Saskatoon during a visit Sept. 20. Bishop Bryan Bayda (centre) accompanied His Beatitude during his Sept. 18 - 24 visit to the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, which includes the entire province of Saskatchewan. The itinerary included visits to parishes, schools and seniors homes, meetings with youth, catechists and community leaders, as well as social gatherings, celebrations of Divine Liturgy and Moleben, with stops in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Regina. (Tim Yaworski photo)
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
SASKATOON — The world head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church visited Saskatchewan Sept. 19-23, meeting and praying with the faithful in all regions of the Eparchy of Saskatoon.
It was the first visit to Saskatchewan for His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), 42, of Kyiv, Ukraine, and provided an opportunity to talk about Vision 2020, a plan for the future under discussion throughout the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon welcomed His Beatitude, and accompanied him throughout his visit to the province.
The itinerary included visits to parishes, schools and seniors’ homes, celebration of Divine Liturgy, and social gatherings in a variety of settings and a number of communities, including Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina and Yorkton.
His Beatitude met with Catholic bishops and educators representing Saskatoon Catholic schools and colleges Sept 20, before meeting with 200 elementary school children at Bishop Filevich Ukrainian Bilingual Catholic School in Saskatoon, and engaging in discussion with Ukrainian Catholic and Grade 11 students at Bethlehem Catholic High School.
He also blessed the newly constructed Musee Ukraina Museum during his visit to Saskatoon.
While in Regina, His Beatitude visited Miller Comprehensive High School, which has a Ukrainian program, and met with youth and catechists at St. Athanasius Parish, before travelling to Yorkton for celebration of Moleben at St. Mary’s Cultural Church.
In Yorkton he also met with youth and catechists, before returning to Saskatoon for a visit to St. Volodymyr Villa, a residence for Ukrainian Catholic seniors, and holding a meeting with youth and catechists at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Saskatoon. A formal banquet was held at TCU Place Sept. 22.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church is the second largest Catholic Church in the world. Although the majority of Ukrainian Catholics today reside in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Catholic Church also has eparchies and parishes in Central and Western Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The worldwide population is estimated at four million, with approximately 110,000 members in Canada.
In March of 1951, the Apostolic See in Rome established the Apostolic Exarchate of Saskatoon which was elevated to the Eparchy of Saskatoon in November of 1956. The Saskatoon eparchy encompasses the entire province of Saskatchewan.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) was born May 5, 1970 in Striy, Lviv
region of Ukraine, and he was ordained a priest on June 26, 1994.
Upon completion of his doctorate, he returned to Lviv, Ukraine where he held several administrative and formation positions including: rector at Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Seminary; vice-dean of the theology department at the Lviv Theological Academy (now the Ukrainian Catholic University); head of the secretariat of the Patriarchal Curia in Lviv and personal secretary to His Beatitude Lubomyr Cardinal Husar.
In January 2007, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to name Shevchuk as auxiliary bishop of the Protection of the Blessed Mother Eparchy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In April, 2010 he was named Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Argentina.
On March 23, 2011 at an election held by the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church he was named Major Archbishop of the church. On March 24, the election was blessed by Benedict XVI and he was enthroned on March 27, 2011 in Kyiv, Ukraine in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection.