To the Reverend Clergy, the Venerable Religious, and the Lay-Faithful of the Eparchy of New Westminster,
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 1:2-3)
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today, the Holy See of Rome and His Beatitude Sviаtoslav on behalf of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have announced my appointment as the new bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London, with its Cathedral in the City of Westminster, England. This means that as of today, I am no longer the Bishop of the Eparchy of New Westminster. Most Reverend Bishop David Motiuk the Bishop of Edmonton has been appointed Apostolic Administrator. He will be in charge of the Eparchy until my successor has been appointed. Please keep him in your daily prayers and commemorate him at the Liturgical celebrations.
I have been your bishop for almost twelve and a half years. In this time, I have come to know most of the faithful of the Eparchy and have had the wonderful opportunity of journeying in faith together with you our clergy, religious and the lay-faithful. The years have truly gone by very quickly for me. Although I am a prairie boy, I have come to love the ocean, the mountains and the cities and towns where our parishes are located.
In my first homily at Holy Eucharist Cathedral as Bishop of the Eparchy, I emphasized that in order for me to serve as your bishop, I would need your help and support. I want to thank you not only for your help and support, but also for the love you have shown me and the many prayers you have offered for me and my ministry. The direction that we have taken over the last decade has been to ensure that we are an ever-vibrant Eparchy, with vibrant parishes, dedicated clergy and active lay-faithful. In the words of Saint Paul, “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
As I prepare to take up my new assignment in the United Kingdom, I would like to ask you to continue to pray for me. Over the next few weeks I will need to address many challenges related to my move from New Westminster to Westminster proper in the city of London. On my part, I assure you of my continued prayers for you. And if in your travels you find yourself in London, please let me know so that I can welcome you!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my own predecessor Bishop Severian Yakymyshyn, OSBM, who over these years has provided me with advice and prayerful support. I would like to thank my brother Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada for their fraternal understanding, cooperation and fellowship. Also, I wish to acknowledge the support and kindness that our Eparchy and I personally received from my neighbours and brothers in faith, the Roman Catholic Bishops of British Columbia and Yukon.
Many of you know that I have been very active over the years with the Knights of Columbus, and was privileged to serve for three years as State Chaplain for British Columbia and the Yukon. Over the years and in various ways the Knights have supported our Eparchy, our parishes, and especially our Summer Youth Camp, for which I am truly grateful. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the UCWLC Eparchial Executive and indeed to all of the UCWLC parish branches for your good work in the Eparchy.
Catholic Missions in Canada has been one of our Eparchy’s greatest benefactors over the years and because of their support we have been able provide good pastoral care in our parishes throughout British Columbia. May God bless Catholic Missions in Canada and all of the benefactors who have been so generous.
To the clergy who have served and are currently serving in our Eparchy, I also want to let you know how very dear you are to me and that I am proud of each of you. May God continue to bless your pastoral ministry.
Our Eparchy was established in 1974, and since that time we have received pastoral care from many dedicated priests, both eparchial and religious, in particular, the Basilian Fathers. We have greatly benefited from the prayerful dedication of many Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. I believe that the Eparchy of New Westminster has been built on solid ground, and that it will continue to do the Lord’s work under the prayerful protection of the first bishop of the Eparchy of New Westminster, Bishop Jerome Chimy, OSBM, of blessed memory.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (see Philippians 4:7). Placing you and the new Apostolic Administrator under the Protection of our Holy Mother of God and Every Virgin Mary, I remain,
Prayerfully Your Brother in the Lord,
New Westminster, January 15, 2020