Metropolitan-Archbishop (Emeritus) Stefan Soroka: welcoming our new metropolitan archbishop with passion

My episcopal crest as Auxiliary Bishop in Winnipeg and as Metropolitan-Archbishop of Philadelphia pictured a burning heart, recalling for me and for all I serve the response of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32) You will recall that the disciples were walking away from Jerusalem in despair and confusion. The Risen Christ recalled for them God’s plan in all that had occurred. They were inspired to understand God’s ways. Their sense of direction and commitment underwent a radical change. They and all of the disciples of the Risen Christ became passionate in their love for God and His ways. 
How heartwarming for all of us to be welcomed by Bishop Borys Gudziak’s call, “Heart to Heart” on the occasion of his installation as our new Metropolitan-Archbishop of Philadelphia. He comes in the footsteps of the Risen Christ to renew our passionate understanding of the Scriptures. He recalls for each of us God’s greatest commandment, “love God with your whole heart… and love one another as yourself” (Lk 10:27). He challenges us to re-focus in our priorities and directions in life, personally, as a community and in our Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States of America. The intensive program surrounding his installation emphasizes the inclusion of all of God’s children. We are challenged to outreach to others beyond ourselves, revealing God’s love and care for all. 
І am personally very pleased that the Metropolitan- Archbishop of Philadelphia is American born. The Archbishop-Elect Borys Gudziak brings with him his wealth of experience and knowledge gained from a life-long ministry in Ukraine and in France. He is a founding ‘father’ of our Ukrainian Catholic University in Ukraine, an exceptional institution offering academic, spiritual and moral formation for new generations of Ukrainians. His ministry in France and various European countries offered him growth in initiating renewal and change in our Ukrainian Catholic Church. He is now challenged with yet another re-focusing of his own priorities and vision, ever mindful of his love for the clergy and faithful whom he served in his previous ministries. We are like those disciples on the road to Emmaus, challenged to understand God’s ways. God takes the initiative in our lives. God is acting in the life of our new Archbishop and in the life of our Ukrainian Catholic Church. I urge your heartfelt support of our new Metropolitan Archbishop as he endeavors to serve the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the USA. It is an awesome responsibility filled with many unique challenges. Yet, understanding that God takes the initiative in our lives invites our prayerful listening and our passionate response to serving God and His Holy Church.

My heartfelt welcome and congratulations are offered to our Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak. He and all in the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan See of Philadelphia will continue to be remembered passionately in my prayers and in my love for you. God bless you richly in ways only He can!

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