Metropolitan Borys Participates in 4th All-American Youth Pilgrimage
The 4th All-American Youth Pilgrimage took place June 3-5 at the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Parish in Parma, OH. Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, along with Bishop Bohdan Danylo of Parma and Bishop Pavlo Chomnytsky of Stamford, joined pilgrims from Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
For three days participants attended lectures presented by the three bishops. The following topics were covered: “Nationality: Gift or Punishment? Spiritual and Physical War”, “Jesus in Jeans: What Can Young People Hope for?”, and “Healing of Deep Emotional Wounds.”
In his introductory speech to the pilgrims, titled “In Christ Is Our Hope, Protection, and Healing,” Metropolitan Borys focused on encounters and relationships because it is through these things that people are likened to God. “We are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is the Three Persons who are in constant perfect communication. Therefore, the human person is defined by the ability and need to communicate – we feel good when our relationships are good, and when there are quarrels and conflicts we suffer,” he said. The Metropolitan added that pilgrims came to this encounter to strengthen and enrich their communication with God and others.
He then discussed historical and modern Ukrainian traumas. “Even if we do not fully understand our history, it puts pressure on us. It has been forbidden to talk about our traumas for generations. The system killed, and therefore a protective mechanism was created which affected the relationship and the trust between people. There was an acquired fear of another who could be dangerous.”
The Archbishop stressed that although the traumas of the past have not yet healed, Ukrainians do in fact move from fear to dignity – through the Revolution on Granite, the Orange Revolution, and the Revolution of Dignity. “Step by step, generation by generation, they want to leave this fear in the past and demand recognition of their God-given dignity. Even during the war, we hear from people about faith and dignity. We have not heard any complaints from people I have met recently in Ukraine, but there is the confidence that they cannot give up,” he said.
In an address called, “Jesus in Jeans: What Can Young People Hope for?”, Metropolitan Borys spoke about how to be a Christian in today’s culture. “Popular culture sometimes presents Christians as aliens. However, let us remember that the Church has always been embodied in culture and transformed that culture. We Christians do preserve ancient traditions, but there is a difference between tradition and traditionalism. Tradition is always alive. Wisdom emerges when we accept and value tradition, but do not instill it artificially.”
He spoke about identity which is particularly important for young people. “It is important to live truthfully and authentically as Patriarch Joseph the Blind called us to do. And who are we? We are beloved children of God – this is one of our basic identities. To be yourself is to be a beloved son or a beloved daughter. And we need to accept this love, then we will be able to live in God’s way, preach, serve, and give.”
After a brief presentation, there was a lengthy Q&A session with the pilgrims.