On Monday, April 16th, 2018, the Vatican Information Service announced that the Holy Father has accepted the resignation for medical reasons of Most Rev. Stefan Soroka, Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians and Metropolitan for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in USA. Pope Francis has declared the Archeparchy of Philadelphia as “sede vacante”. Most Rev. Andriy Rabiy has been appointed by Pope Francis as the Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia until the appointment of the new Archeparch.
I take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the clergy, religious, seminarians and laity of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. These past seventeen years have been filled with many challenges and blessings, some unique in the experience of the Philadelphia Archeparchy. Success in responding to the varying needs of the Archeparchy and its parishes was achieved with the positive and hopeful participation of clergy, religious and laity enabled by the Grace of God. Most gratifying to me was the personal journey of prayer and fraternity experienced with the clergy, religious and faithful of the Archeparchy. The highlight of my ministry in leadership was experienced when amidst parishioners and their ministers in parish liturgical celebrations, visits, pilgrimages, festivals, and in personal sharing. I was inspired by the dedication of the clergy, religious and faithful and their love for their Church.
I am also especially grateful for the fraternity and cooperation shared with my brother bishops of USA, with whom common needs of clergy, religious and faithful were addressed in our regular meetings, and in gatherings of our Church. The Grace of God provided richly in our many shared endeavors.
On Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Vatican it was announced that His Holiness Father Francis gave his consent to canonical election of priest Petro Losa, (C.Ss.R), a former administrator of Chernihiv parish of Sts Petro and Pavlo (Kyiv Archeparchy) as the auxhiliary bishop for Sokal-Zhovkva Eparchy, providing him with the title seat of Panio.
We will announce the date and place of his bishop ordination later.
Biography of Fr. Petro Losa, C.Ss.R
He was born on June 3, 1976 in Kolodenka, Lviv Oblast.
In 1997 entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (fathers redemptorists), taking eternal vows in 2003.
His priestly education he began in the Seminary of Fathers Redemptorists in Lviv (1998-2001), and later – finished his theologian studies at the University of Insbrook (Austria), where he studied in 2001-2009.
After his ordination, on August 26, 2008, he started his pastoral ministry in Vinnytsia, where he first served as the vice-eparch, and later as the administrator in Hnizdychiv-Kokhavyn.
Since 2011 till 2014, he was a provincial councellor for Lviv’s province of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Since 2014, he has served as an administrator of the parish of Sts. Petro and Pavlo in Chernihiv and at the same time, as a chaplain in two local prisons.
Have you ever felt alone even when surrounded by people? You feel that no one really knows you for the person you really are. Jesus knows how you feel. The Palm Sunday Gospel story tells of one such occasion in the life of Jesus. Jesus knew the crowds singing ‘hosanna’ was hollow. They had hoped that Jesus would deliver them from political domination by Rome. Jesus had not come to give them political freedom. He had come to give them something more. He had come to Jerusalem during the Passover to be their sacrificial lamb. He had come to give them eternal life with God. Even the disciples did not comprehend the significance of that ride into Jerusalem. No one seemed to be aware that Jesus had come to Jerusalem to die. He would not set up an earthly kingdom, but he would establish a spiritual kingdom by sacrificing himself. How lonely Jesus must have felt. Jesus carried the weight of loneliness. Jesus survived Palm Sunday because he had hope and faith in his heavenly Father. Next time you feel alone or think that no one really understands your secret thoughts, take heart. Someone does know how you feel. He is waiting for you in the calm lonely eye of the stormy crowd. He went through his Palm Sunday experience alone, so that you will not have to go through yours the same way. Even when those around you will not, or cannot understand you, God does! Reach out to Jesus Christ this Holy Week in special prayer, meditation and through Holy Confession. You will come to know Him more personally in His resurrection on Easter Sunday! A Blessed Holy Week!
St. Mark tells us of the disciples walking on the road to Jerusalem with Jesus walking in the lead. He tells us that “their mood was one of wonderment, while that of those who followed was fear” (Mk 10:32). Then we hear of two disciples vying to sit, one at the right and other on the left, when Jesus comes into His glory. This caused some anger among the other disciples. Jesus calms them by instructing them, “You know how among the Gentiles those who seem to exercise authority lord it over them; their great ones make their importance felt. It cannot be like that with you. Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all” (Mk 10:44). Fear, mutual distrust, envy, and pride rob you and me of the special gift of walking with Jesus with wonderment. We can be blinded to the needs and sufferings of others around us. We can forget the importance of being of service to others. Great Fast invites you and me to walk alongside Jesus Christ with wonderment as to where He will lead us. We are reminded, “… the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…” (Mk 10:45). Saint Teresa of Calcutta saw the face of Jesus in every person she ministered to, especially the sick and the dying. Through her inspiration, may we also cherish and search for opportunities to see Jesus Christ in the faces of those we serve!
Jesus cures a sick boy telling his father, “Everything is possible to one who has faith” (Mk 9 23). Jesus observed that this type of cure could only come about through prayer. The disciples were men of faith but could not cure the boy. Jesus seems to become impatient with them when he says, “How long will I endure you” (Mk 9:19). Even Jesus’ closest apostles needed to be reminded of the power of prayer, and the need to nurture it. Great Fast invites you and me to nurture the power of faith with steadfast and honest prayer with Jesus. It involves our reflecting on our priorities in life as we stand before Jesus. Recall the parables which speak of the Kingdom of God as a treasure found in a field, or as a pearl of great value. Those who find it sell all that they have in order to possess it. Are we zealous in nurturing the value of our precious faith? Do we do and give what we can to see that the faith is valued, taught and shared? The journey of Great Fast leads you and me to nurture our faith in steadfast prayer and with acts of charity with the hope that Jesus Christ will not ask “How long must I endure you”, but rather rejoice in the powerfully living of our faith. Join with others in the parish to nurture your faith as a family of God.