JOURNEY WITH ACN is our Friday newsletter which will be regularly posted to our blog. Our weekly newsletter was designed to provide us with an opportunity to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world – and with some of the projects we have been able to realize together with ACN benefactors.
This week: Ukraine
Help for the formation of Ukrainian Catholic seminarians
In 1946 Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was forcibly dissolved by the communists. Believers were violently persecuted, and for over 40 years the Ukrainian Catholic Church – which is in communion with Rome – was only able to exist underground. In 1990 the Ukrainian Catholic Church was at last able to emerge from its catacombs.
In 1993 the seminary in Ternopil was able to officially resume its activities. Thanks to financial support, from ACN among others, it became possible to build a seminary, named in memory of the great Cardinal Confessor, Josyf Slipyj, who endured 18 years imprisonment under the communists and finally died in 1984, in exile. He was a friend of Father Werenfried, who did everything possible to help and support the Ukrainian Catholic Church throughout its time of persecution.
Today the Ternopil Seminary boasts the formation of 143 seminarians. It not only serves the local diocese, but also seminarians from other dioceses that do not have their own seminary. The young men receive an excellent academic formation, but the rector is well aware that study alone does not necessarily produce good priests. Consequently the seminarians are encouraged to become familiar with everyday pastoral work, through a series of practical training sessions and tasks, which help them to have direct experience with the life and problems of ordinary people.
They work particularly with children and young people, helping them to draw nearer to Jesus both in play and in prayer. As a result, they not only gain practical experience in the parish apostolate and in dealing with other people, but through their commitment provide a vital service, for in many regions where the Church is still only in its early beginnings, the few priests who are available are so overstretched that they simply do not have the time for such intensive ministry among all the groups of the faithful. Thus, these seminarians are already serving the faithful today where one day, after completing their training, they will fill an even more urgent need as priests.
ACN is helping the seminary in its work with a contribution of $760 per seminarian, per year.