SOURCE:  Vatican Radio

Synod: Archbishop Shevchuk focuses on family, spiritual fatherhood and motherhood

Listen to Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s extended conversation with Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen: RealAudioMP3

Vatican Radio    Finding new ways to preach the Gospel, especially in lands that have already received it, and to cultures that have been penetrated and formed by it, is one of the central points of focus for the Fathers of the XIII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

This is a special and particular concern for the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Galicia, who, at 42 years of age, is also the youngest of the Synod Fathers. He told Vatican Radio that the concept of spiritual paternity and maternity is a key to the New Evangelization.

“[W]e can transmit our faith only in the context of interpersonal dialogue,” he said, “so, we need somebody who can generate us in the faith of the Church.” Archbishop Shevchuk went on to say, “[Such] are the persons we would call spiritual father [and] mother.” The Archbishop also spoke of the role of the family in fostering a sense of faith. “I received my Christian faith [during the time of the persecutions under Communism] in my family, and actually, in the former Soviet Union, Christian families were real Ecclesiae domesticate [domestic Churches].”

He described the way the life of the larger Church informed the life of the family from within. “This was the ‘home Church’,” he said, “where a priest could come and celebrate Sacraments, where I learned a basic notion of Christian faith from my grandmother, and even in those circumstances, I learned how to pray, how to worship, how to live my life according to the Christian moral principles.”