An Eparchial SOBOR* (assembly) will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Saskatoon. The theme of the Sobor is “Families Evangelizing Families”, a discussion about how the Eparchial community can better meet the needs of families as they face the struggles of modern day life. Families are the building blocks of vibrant parishes. The Teaching of the Church has consistently acknowledged parents as the primary educators of their children. Recent studies have shown that the parents of today have an extremely significant impact on the faith of their children. This meeting will focus on helping families to pass on a ‘living’ and ‘vibrant’ faith to their children and grandchildren, despite difficulties and brokenness. The speakers will share their lived experience of profound faith in some of the most challenging areas of family life. Participants will then be given the chance to respond and suggest how our Eparchy can grow in providing an environment where the faith of families can flourish.
Eparchial Pastoral Council is currently finalizing arrangements. Further details regarding participation, location and agenda will be forthcoming soon.
The May 2014 SOBOR will be part of a larger process taking place in our Eparchy, in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) at the international level, and in the global Catholic Church as well. At the Eparchial level, building upon our SOBOR of 2005, we are now moving forward in the process that each parish is asked to undertake in connection with Vision 2020, initiated in 2011 by our Patriarch, Sviatoslav, and the UGCC Synod of Bishops, a program of renewal of our entire Church, and described His Beatitude’s letter, “The Vibrant Parish – a place to encounter the living Christ”.
The SOBOR will be preceded and assisted by other initiatives and activities across the Eparchy. Training sessions will be held in each deanery, led by Fr. Ivan Nahachewsky, regarding the development of pastoral plans, followed by planning sessions in parishes where we will be invited to apply the six themes of Patriarch Sviatoslav’s Pastoral letter, including understanding and applying the word of God in our families, to a pastoral plan individually tailored for each parish. A comprehensive eparchial survey has been prepared which includes questions about the needs of individuals and families. This questionnaire will be available both in printed form and through the internet. All of our faithful, thirteen years of age or more, are asked to complete the survey. Results will be made available to each parish to assist the development or enhancement of programs for families.
At the national and international levels, Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary synod in October 2014 to discuss the subject of the family. This synod will see heads of Eastern churches, presidents of the bishops’ conferences, and heads of Curia offices gather at the Vatican in October 2014 for a meeting entitled “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. The results of our SOBOR in May 2014 and our subsequent plans will contribute to the working documents of this synod. All of this will lead up to the Patriarchal Sobor of the UGCC in 2015 on the theme of the “Vibrant Parish” where, again, the work that we are now doing in our parishes will contribute to the spiritual renewal of our entire Church.
* SOBOR – Eparchial Assembly convened by the bishop to assist him regarding special needs of the eparchy. The Clergy, Religious and certain Lay organizations are to be in attendance/represented. (CCEO cc. 235,236,237,238) We are hoping to have many laityobserve as is reasonably possible.