The Bishop of St. Josaphat Eparchy took part in the consecutive meeting of the Review Board of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma on the implementation of the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that was held on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 via Zoom videoconferencing app.

Besides Bishop Bohdan, the meeting was attended by the current six Review Board members: Fr. Michael Polosky, eparchy’s Protosyncellus and Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ambridge, PA and Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Aliquippa, PA; Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, eparchy’s Safe Environment Coordinator and pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, OH and St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown, OH; Ms. Marika Zaliszczuk, eparchial Victims Assistance Coordinator; Dr. Justine Perhosky, PhD, Ms. Olga Perkun, and Mr. Don Fontana.

The meeting began with a prayer, led by Bishop Bohdan, after which the board members considered the most pressing issues vis-à-vis the safe environment issues in the eparchy. First, a brief overview was held regarding the closed case of Rev. George Mullonkal that was presented by Bishop Bohdan and Fr. Lubomyr. Next, Fr. Lubomyr reconfirmed to the Review Board members that the eparchy successfully passed the triannual audit conducted on October 3, 2019 in the eparchial Chancery in Parma by Stonebridge Business Partners, who forwarded the documents to the Secretariat of Youth and Child Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington DC; [the next onsite audit is to take place in 2022]. The eparchy’s Safe Environment Coordinator also informed everyone that the annual 2019/2020 Stonebridge compliance audit was still pending as it covers the audit period between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

Afterwards, the eparchial Policy & Procedures for the Protection of Children and Young People was reviewed with Fr. Lubomyr and Bishop Bohdan informing the board about the revision recommended by the Stonebridge Business Partners following the 2019 onsite audit and a suggestion recently implied by the USCCB’s Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. The eparchial document was promulgated by Bishop Bohdan on April 23, 2020. The Review Board members did not recommend any other revisions to the Policy and Procedures at this time.

Next, the board members also reviewed the USCCB 2019 publication titled “A Continuous and Profound Conversion of Hearts” that comprises Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter in the form of “Motu proprio” titled “Vos estis lux mundi,” which was promulgated on May 9, 2019 and which sets new universal norms in combating sexual abuse in the Church (the regulations went into force on June 1, 2019 for the three-year period ad experimentum), the USCCB’s “Directives for the Implementation of the Provisions of Vos estis lux mundi Concerning Bishops and Their Equivalents,” the USCCB’s document called “Affirming Our Episcopal Commitments,” and the USCCB’s document titled “Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops.” Likewise, Bishop Bohdan informed the board about the eparchy’s implementation of the so-called CBAR (Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting) system, which is a reporting system recently introduced by the USCCB that could be used to report any U.S. bishop of a sexual misconduct.

Closer to the end of the meeting, Bishop Bohdan proposed for consideration to the Review Board to organize a conference (or conferences) in St. Josaphat Eparchy (possibly in the fall of 2020) that could shed some more light to the faithful as to how the eparchy keeps its commitment to safety within its boundaries that could include the review of the safe environment from various angles: spiritual, theological, and lawful.

Before the end of the meeting, both Bishop Bohdan and Fr. Lubomyr thanked the Review Board members for all of their safe environment work in the eparchy. The date for the next Review Board meeting was decided to be established later. The meeting was adjourned with a prayer led by Fr. Mike Polosky.

Press Office of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma