Youth from East and West, Clergy Gather at UCU

Monday, June 25, 2018

Thirty civic activists from eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast were in Lviv from June 4 to 6 for a project organized by the Institute of Leadership and Management of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). And UCU’s Sheptytsky Center hosted a forum for Catholic youth leaders and clergy from June 8 to 10.

The civic activists from Donetsk came to Lviv to get acquainted with local initiatives and organizations, to gain experience in practices that will lead to more effective influence on the development of their region. In February and March, more than 100 activists took part in a three-day workshop in five cities of the Donetsk Region. The participants then began to carry out their projects, and 30 of the most active then came to Lviv.

Vitaliy Arano, a student at the Architectural Faculty in Kramatorsk, was inspired by meeting activists in western Ukraine. “I saw people who are extremely enthusiastic about their work… You look at a person and his eyes are ‘on fire.’ Regardless of difficulties, he gets to work.”

And as an architectural student, Arano was very interested in UCU’s new campus. “Where we’re from, they don’t build like this. The project is of high quality: big terraces, the library, lawns. We touched the glass that they made the walls from, because the technology they used to make it is interesting… In class, they told us it’s not done that way, it’s impossible. But here we see it.”

The youth forum at UCU’s Sheptytsky Center from June 8 to 10 was organized by the Roman and Ukrainian Greek-Catholic churches. According to Deacon Volodymyr Bytiuha of UCU’s Pastoral Department, “the goal of the forum was to gather various people from all corners of Ukraine and abroad. We are trying to show youth our vision and help them solve their problems.”

Lilia Semko, of St. Nicholas Eparchy (Diocese) of Chicago, travelled to Ukraine for the forum. She is a member of the eparchy’s youth commission and was delegated as a representative. She said that Christian communities in the USA want to benefit from Ukraine’s experience in involving youth in the life of the church and bring this experience back to American soil.

“The Greek-Catholic Church in the USA has many social and patriotic activities, but not so many spiritual ones,” said Semko. “We are also trying to get new people involved in the community… Even though in the USA everything is stable, protected, and good, the roots are not sufficient. We are ‘blooming’ there, but here we ‘drink water.’”

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