UGCC SYNOD OF BISHOPS
9-15 September 2012, Winnipeg / Portage la Prairie, Canada
(unofficial translation – texts within square brackets
are translator’s additions for clarification purposes)
Decision #7 – To accept the propositions regarding the main theme of the UGCC Synod of Bishops in the Year of our Lord 2012 with the corrections and additions moved, in the following redaction:
I. [We] proclaim Blessed martyr Volodymyr Pryima as the Patron of the Laity of the UGCC.
[DEVOTION TO MARTYRS]
II. [We call for] the spreading of devotion to the martyred laity of the Ukrainian Church (the holy passion-bearers Borys and Hlib, the martyrs of Pratulyn, Blessed Volodymyr Pryima) by organizing pilgrimages, celebrating liturgical services dedicated to them, [through] catechetical instruction, printed texts and other publications.
III. [We direct that] the theme “The Vibrant Parish – the place to encounter the Living Christ” be the main theme of one of the next sessions of the UGCC Patriarchal Sobors.
[WORD OF GOD]
IV. In order to help the laity listen to, [and] understand the Word of God and to live by it:
1. [We] call upon priests to assiduously prepare and preach sermons at every Divine Liturgy, when celebrating the Sacramental Mysteries, funeral rites and other divine services and blessings.
2. [We] entrust parish priests to organize in their parishes a systematic program of bible sessions, which would include the study of Sacred Scripture and the conducting of biblical seminars, that would train the laity in listening to and understanding of the Word of God with the willingness to give a response in faith to [the Word of God].
3. [We] invite the faithful to read daily the Sacred Scripture both individually and with the family, and also to participate regularly in parish bible study groups, so that the Word of God would become daily nourishment for every UGCC believer.
4. [We] entrust the Patriarchal Catechetical Commission to continue to carry out the biblical apostolate in parishes, institutes of consecrated life [monasteries, convents] and in the church educational institutions of the UGCC
V. In order to revive the participation of the laity in the liturgical prayer life of the Church:
1. [We] obligate pastors to serve on Sundays and Feast days, in addition to the Divine Liturgy, also, as much as possible, Vespers and Matins, and we encourage them to celebrate daily the Divine Liturgy and the prayer of the Divine Office in parish churches.
2. [We] encourage the faithful to participate in the divine services not only on Sundays and Feast days, but also on other days of the week.
3. [We] remind parents, guardians and Godparents, of their obligation to raise the children in faith and love of God and neighbour, and to active participation in the life of the church community.
4. [We] draw the attention of pastors, catechists and parents to the essential teaching and practice of daily prayers, and also to praying before and after meals.
5. [We] entrust pastors to organize in parishes various prayer groups.
VI. In order to ensure proper formation of the laity:
1. [We] entrust pastors, superiors of institutes of consecrated life, leaders of lay movements and prayer groups to organize common reading and study [sessions] of the UGCC Catechism “Christ – Our Pascha.”
2. [We] entrust the church media resources to publish and spread commentaries and explanations of the UGCC Catechism “Christ – Our Pascha”, with proper preparation by experts and speakers.
3. [We] entrust pastors in sermons and catechetical instruction to explain to the faithful the content and meaning of the divine services and church ceremonies.
4. [We] entrust the rectors of seminaries and religious institutes of higher education of the UGCC to conduct a course on “the theology and role of the laity in the mission of the Church”.
VII. In order to help the laity in actualizing their service in the Church:
1. [We] remind parish priests of their obligation to recognize the God-given gifts and talents, which the Lord sends to his people and in particular to each individual, in order to help the laity realize their Christian vocation to serve God and neighbour.
2. [We] encourage pastors to promote the spread of choirs in parishes, explaining to the participants the theological meaning of the liturgical rites and chant.
3. [We] entrust those responsible for liturgical singing to select choral chant in such a manner, that it would not exclude, but rather include the faithful in the church in common singing and praise of God.
4. [We] encourage pastors to ensure that there is a qualified cantor in the parish.
5. In order to ensure parishes of the UGCC with properly prepared cantors, it is recommended that eparchial bishops organize cantor schools, if possible – at existing seminaries and other religious institutes of higher learning.
6. [We] encourage parish pastoral and finance councils in [their] responsibility not only for evangelization and financial matters, but also for charitable activity in the parish.
7. [We] recommend pastors to create, with the blessing of the eparchial bishop, parish brotherhoods, sisterhoods or fraternities, with the purpose of helping those most in need, or other similar charitable institutions.
8. [We] call upon pastors to encourage and promote voluntary service in the Church and in the community.
9. [We] entrust pastors and all the laity to pay special attention to the sphere of social service for those, most in need of this help: migrants, sailors, the sick, prisoners, workers, orphans, widows, the elderly and the like.
10. [We] encourage pastors to create lay organizations, brotherhoods and sisterhoods with professional characteristics, ensuring them the proper spiritual guidance.
11. [We] encourage pastors in parish administration to make use of laity with professional education in the various fields (architecture, the arts, journalism, the legal profession, finances, and the like).
VIII. In order to help the laity witness to the Gospel truth and preach through their faith to others:
1. [We] call on all the faithful, the monastics and clergy of the UGCC to approach with respect and Christian love the members of other confessions and religions, giving witness by their own faith in truth and love.
2. [We call upon] pastors and the faithful to promote in the parishes a spirit of openness, kindness, and hospitality, revealing God’s goodness to all, who search for Him.
3. [We call upon] the eparchial bishops and pastors to search, prepare and include active laity in the missionary and evangelizing service of the Church.
4. [We] call upon the laity to support the mission works by prayer, offerings and active participation, in order to proclaim the Gospel to all creation.
5. [We] encourage all the laity to preach the Gospel of Truth by word and witness of their lives, becoming in this manner “the salt of the earth and the light of the world”. (Cf. Mt. 5:13-14)