Christmas Appeal for the Archeparchy of Philadelphia


For your sake our Lord Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich, so that by  

his poverty you might become rich. It is appropriate for you who began not only to  

act but to act willingly last year: complete it now. Your surplus at the present time  

should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs.”  

2 Cor. 8: 9-11, 13. 

December 2021 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Glory to Jesus Christ!  

I thank you for your faithfulness in the arduous pandemic circumstances. I thank you because you reach out  to each other. You keep community prayer going. You welcome each other, and me, warmly in our parishes  and schools. You show how the Lord continues to encounter us. God comes to meet us in our real-life joys and  hardships. This is particularly true in Christmas and in the family celebrations and challenges that are before  us.  

All of humanity has suffered. Millions have died. Covid continues to rage in many counties, especially Ukraine.  Here in America, during the first year of the pandemic, our Metropolia lost 22 of approximately 300 clergy  and religious (not all from the coronavirus) — a mortality rate of 7% over twelve months during which we  had no new ordinations nor vocations to our religious orders.  

Last  year’s  Christmas  letter  identified  the  severe  clergy  shortage  as  the  single  greatest  obstacle  to  our  ministry. We all need and want priests to be in our parishes sharing our joys and be compassionately present  in our pain. Many of our priests have had little or no time off for years. We shared the hope of bringing new  clergy from Ukraine to address this dire need. 

Thank God, in the spring and summer, eight new missionaries — six priests, a subdeacon and a lay woman — arrived to begin serving in the Archeparchy, the culmination of almost two years of preparatory work. They  are open to God’s call and have an impressive range of talents. By now, many of you have met at least one of  them.  They  bolster  our  parishes  and  ministries,  gladly  facing  the  challenges  of  new  circumstances.  Their  presence is a blessing and a joy!  

Fathers Ruslan Borovyi, Andriy Chornopysky, Ihor Kolisnyk (CSsR), Yaroslav Lukavenko, Ostap Mykytchyn,  and Roman Oliinyk have served in over a dozen parishes throughout the Archeparchy substituting for pastors  wherever needed. Some have already embraced long-term assignments. Five of the six missionary priests are  husbands and fathers, and their families take active roles alongside them. Mariana Karapinka, along with the  married team of Halyna Vasylytsia and Deacon Andrii Rubel, work to transform and develop the Archeparchial  Communications Office.  Their  professional  output is  prodigious.  It is  recognized  by many  of  you  but  also  outside of our community, especially by our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. I hope you enjoy following  news from various parishes and communities as much as I do. They are showing the personal and human side  of the Archeparchy, especially through the top-notch videos! 

A key development of the last months has been our Archeparchial Planning, part of the Pastoral Plan of the  global Ukrainian Catholic Church. The four Sobors (councils) conducted in 2019 and 2020 served to collect  your input on topics like communion and unity, catechesis, liturgy and prayer, and service to those in need.

They became the foundation of our first formal planning meetings in August 2021 and led to the creation of  four teams of more that 50 laity, religious, and priests who will ensure the implementation of financial, social,  and ministerial  strategies. These  four  teams are  responsible  for making  “the  rubber  hits  the  road.” These  intentions  will  not  remain  on  paper.  With  the  active  involvement  of  our  clergy,  religious,  and  laity,  the  carefully  recorded  desires  expressed  by  representatives  of  our  parishes  during  the  Sobors  are leading  to  action. 

All aspects of our Pastoral Plan are animated by your voices. The Archeparchy is yours. As Paul teaches, based  on the example of Jesus himself, my vocation as Metropolitan is to be a servant of servants, not an ecclesial or  secular CEO: “For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the  sake of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:5). In this ministry, I need your help and you deserve to be informed. Transparency  and  frequent  communication  are  top  priorities.  The  Sobors,  the  Archeparchial  Planning,  The  Way are  all  conduits between the pews and the Chancery. I am asking that you follow our progress, especially by reading  The Way, and participate in every way possible. (If you are not on the electronic mailing list and would like to  receive The Way, please write to or call our chancery in Philadelphia (215) 627-0143) 

Allow me  to share with you a special request. Would you consider giving generously to our Christmas  Appeal  to  support  the ministry  of  our  new  priests  and  lay workers? Your  Christmas  donation will  be  doubled! A  generous  anonymous  donor  has  extended  his  pledge made  in  February  to match  every  donation for the new missionary project. 

The work  of  the new missionaries is  only a part  of  the Archeparchy’s activity. Our dedicated experienced  priests, with your help, have kept our parishes running despite formidable obstacles. We have established a  growing food pantry and social ministry bringing the light of Christ to the darkest corners of Philadelphia. Our  new Commission for Youth Ministry is headed by a wonderful laywoman from Philadelphia, Sofia Zacharczuk,  who at 28 became my new chief-of-staff and coordinator of the Archeparchy’s pastoral planning. We have a  new head of the Vocations Office in deacon Volodymyr Radko, who will be ordained a priest in February. We  have a new seminarian  from our Northampton parish, with  two others already in  formation, and 11 more  candidates  from  Ukraine  who  have  begun  a  year-long  virtual  preparation  program  to  come  to  our  Archeparchy. Please pray for them all! 

God draws souls to Himself especially in troubling times. New life is proof of this. A newborn child in the  harshest of circumstances gives us perspective and hope. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a den for animals,  not in a sparkling and sterile maternity ward. The manger, our Lord’s crib, was a trough  for livestock. The  challenges only mounted! Herod sought to kill the infant Jesus. The Holy Family became homeless refugees in  Egypt. The life of the Lord on earth began in dearth, dung, and danger…but He is the Son of God who brings  hope and salvation to the world! 

Soon we will celebrate God’s closeness in the Nativity. We will greet one another exclaiming CHRIST IS BORN!  God’s love never shies away from our hardships. Let us extend and multiply that divine gesture and continue  to reach out to each other. Please help the Archeparchy develop new missions serving those in need by giving  to the Christmas Appeal that this year will be generously matched one for one. I sincerely thank you for your  prayers, for your spiritual and material support. 

May the peace of the Lord and the joy of the Savior’s Nativity be with you and your loved ones this Christmas  and throughout the New Year.  

Христос раждається! Славіте Його! 

Christ is born! Glorify Him! 

Gratefully yours in the Newborn Savior,


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