May 14, 2020


On Thursday afternoon, May 14, the clergy of the Archeparchy from around the province of Manitoba gathered together to hear reports, share experiences and discuss the best pathway forward as the Church begins to slowly emerge from its catacomb-like existence. They (well many of them who could make it) were all together and they talked face-to-face! How so!? Well, they participated in the conference by computers, smartphones and, some, via landlines. It was a meeting made possible by the ZOOM social network.

Fr. Yaroslav Buduykevych (who, aside from his pastoral and other duties, serves as the 'tech genius' around the chancery) pre-arranged the Zoom meeting and the invitation and logon information was sent to all our priests, deacons, subdeacons and seminarians. When the predetermined time arrived, they all started to login. After some 'hello's and chatting, the Archbishop of Winnipeg, Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak called the meeting to order and began with a prayer - that he first issued with his first Covid-19 Directives just following the ides of March. The Metropolitan's directives have changed considerably since then - as the pandemic concerns evolve. That is a big reason why the clergy gathered.... changes on the horizon.

Much has been learned since the coronavirus pandemic was first revealed to the world. Much of what has been learned is that we don't know very much. However, we do know that many have been infected, many have pulled through, but many have also died. That is why we joined society in agreeing to keep everyone at a distance not to give the deadly new virus a chance of being spread to anyone. It now seems that many local elected government authorities and healthcare specialists are willing to move in the direction of relaxing the strictest rules that were declared to stop the virus from spreading. The Church's faithful are also asking for a return to normalcy. Even though governments wonder if the sacramental life of the Church should be deemed "essential", those who understand and live the faith know that it is - and they yearn for the day when they may enter their local parish church and spend time with their Lord and with brothers and sisters in Christ. And, especially, to receive the Holy Mysteries... of Repentance and the Holy Eucharist.

His Grace, Metropolitan Lawrence shared something of the discussions that have been ongoing among the hierarchs, the shepherds of the local Church - and various national and international configurations thereof - over the past weeks. There is a great deal of hope that in the near future, the Archeparchy will start a slow, responsible and cautious move toward allowing for wider participation in parish life.

The clergy shared some of their experiences which were truly inspiring - how they continue to keep their parish families engaged in active parish life - albeit more often "online" and via "live-streaming".

The Archeparchial Syncellus for Property, Fr. Mark Gnutel, also shared hopeful information about the financial concerns that parish communities have. Although asking local parishioners to understand the challenges that the Church now faces with fewer fundraisers and regular donations, etc. and to consider how parishioners can respond to those challenges - the Archeparchy is also doing much to find alternative resources and to offer incentives to help local parishes.

The conference showed a lot of goodwill and great spirit among the clergy. God willing, we will make it through this pandemic and go on to serve the Lord and His People in new ways never imagined.

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