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A Message From The 120th Anniversary Commemorative Committee

The Ukrainian Canadian community has truly rallied this year in marking 120 years of Ukrainian settlement in Canada.

Since our committee was mandated by the UCC Triennial Congress last November to facilitate the celebration of this significant anniversary, it was clear from the beginning that the ‘heavy lifting’ would be readily done at the local level.

Since an official logo was selected and made available for general use, we have received a steady stream of requests for permission to print the logo on posters and program booklets, on banners and signage, on articles of clothing to be worn by summer camp participants and touring artistic groups.

National, regional and local events, celebrations and festivals are formally dedicated to the 120th Anniversary, and the official logo is proudly displayed in conjunction with those imprezy. And let’s not stop now – remember, the official 120th Anniversary Year is dedicated to last until next Summer!

As we move into the Fall of 2011, and our Ukrainian communities across Canada become their usual hives of high-level activity and new challenges of excellence, let’s carry the spirit of these past 120 years with us, and especially let’s instill in our children a pride and passion for who we are as a community.

I must admit to being old enough to remember 1967, when all Canadians came together under one banner and all its accompanying symbolism – the Centennial of this great country. Today, when I see that Centennial logo or an artifact from some celebration of that year, I instantly recall all the senses and sensations that such a significant year brought to children of all ages.
It should be the same with our celebrations, especially as we move towards the 125th Anniversary in just over 4 short years.

Wear and display the logo with pride, and by all means, please let the Commemorative Committee know if there is anything we can do to help make your special events even more special. We can provide you with historical text and context for your official print materials, with referrals and links, with experts on the various aspects of the life of Ukrainians in Canada, with ideas and feedback. Sviatkuimo veselo, viddano i smilyvo!

Roman Brytan
Chair, UCC 120th Anniversary Commemorative Committee

The Value and Importance of UCWLC – Part Two

A tremendous challenge facing not only our organization, the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada but also all faith communities today is secularism. Look at current social issues as they affect us and our organization:  consider all the forces currently at work undermining Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general.  We are all familiar with how the media attacks Christianity especially at Christmas and at our most holy time of the year: Easter.  In Canada, euthanasia may become the ”normal” way to die. In Canada, abortion is already promoted and applauded. And, in Canada, traditional marriage is currently being devalued and mocked while, at the same time, ‘alternative lifestyles’ are being promoted and encouraged. Overseas, in view of the return of Russification activities by the new government in Ukraine, we, as descendants of Ukrainians in Ukraine (and, with some of us even coming from Ukraine), must do our best to safeguard Ukrainian language, religion, culture, and history.

As we speak, history is being rewritten by Ukraine’s enemies, namely Russia as it returns to its imperialist agenda.  We must take every effort to inform ourselves and our communities of historic facts from our perspective.

To deal with these and other secularist agendas both home and abroad, we need to know our faith and to be knowledgeable about the Church’s position on current social issues.  Also, we need to know our Ukrainian roots, our Ukrainian heritage.  This challenge tells us the value and importance of UCWLC to us. The UCWLC is a medium through which our members can further advance our own understanding of our Catholic faith and learn about our Church’s social teachings in order to act on issues of social justice.  In addition, the UCWLC is a medium through which our members can learn about our Eastern Christian heritage and Ukraine’s dynamic history and culture.  It is for these and other reasons that today, more than ever, we need a vibrant UCWLC organization.

Let’s look at what is happening to our organization, to our membership.

From 1980 to 1995, a span of 15 years, the UCWLC membership remained at over 6,000.  From 1995 to the present date of 2010, membership dropped to  under 4,500, a drop of almost 2,000 members in the last  15 years.

Let’s review our organizational structure.  Our organization can be compared to a great pyramid with three levels: the local parish branches form the base, the eparchial executives form the middle level, and the national executive forms the top level.  Without any one of these levels, our pyramid would crumble.  If the  base, that is, our branch level,  is weak, then our whole organizational structure is weak. According to the present status of our membership , the loss of membership at the Branch level has weakened the whole organization.  This is a major concern to all levels of the organization.

Although we have built an impressive national organization, at the present time our organization is deteriorating.  We need to ask ourselves two probing questions: (i) where are the members? (ii) how can we attract new members?

We need to urgently begin to revitalize our League. The challenge for members of the UCWLC is to refocus on Who we are and What our mission is. We need to explore our UCWLC Mission statement as this statement is designed to provide us with a starting point in helping us understand Who we are and What our purpose is.

Briefly, our Mission Statement states that we are committed to our Church.  This means that our primary responsibility is to develop a deep understanding of our faith in order to truly understand what it means to be a Catholic and a Christian.  Accordingly, the basic objective of the Mission Statement involves developing and instituting programs oriented towards development of the religious and spiritual lives of our League’s members as laity within the Ukrainian Catholic Church.  Our Mission Statement also draws attention to the importance of our cultural heritage.  The Mission Statement states that we are to live a true Christian life and to actively contribute to the Church and Society.  This means that we are to participate in both specific missionary activities of the Church but also in broader acts of social justice and charity.

The Mission Statement was adopted in 1995.  Gradually it is appearing in our handbooks, folders, and congress and convention books.  The increased presence and visibility of our mission statement demonstrates that there is a growing awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our purpose and goals as outlined in the Statement.  However, now we need to go beyond mere awareness and acceptance. We need to look deeper at our Mission in order to understand how our programs specifically speak to the mandate of our League, that is, to our mission.

We need to urgently begin to revitalize and strengthen our Branches, the core of our organization. Revitalization of the UCWLC should begin with a process which addresses two key components: Who we are, and What our mission is as addressed in our Mission Statement. This process should begin with a study program picking a theme spelt out in the UCWLC Mission Statement.  There are several phrases in the Statement, each suitable for a theme on its own. For example:  “What is the mission of the church?” “How does it involve us as members of UCWLC?” “What is the significance of our heritage?”

“What do we mean by discovering “our own true vocation?”

These all emerge from key phrases in our Mission Statement.

Team Work:  A Unified Approach

Pursuing and developing this study program should be made into a top priority at all three levels. And, all three levels should focus on the same theme for a period of one or two years.  During this time, each level should also share information and help each other level with this task.   Each and every one of us needs to become ‘stakeholders’ in this process. The program would include Branch workshops, questionnaires, and seminars.  This worthwhile effort cannot be achieved by any one level alone, but, again, needs to be coordinated on all three levels.

Summary of “Action Plan”

1.  Develop and share a Study Program focused on the key phrases in our Mission Statement;

2.   Recruit and train new members and then develop an ongoing formation program.

3. Value experienced members. Draw on the many talents and resources that exist in the organization.  Draw on UCWLC Honorary Members and Eparchial Past Presidents to assist with the development of leadership programs and the above mentioned “Study Program for UCWLC Mission Statement.”

The challenge facing us is both difficult and different than it was in the past.  And today, we are recruiting members from an ever-changing society.  Women today have many demands on their time and no shortage of ways to fill their day. It is our challenge to adapt our programs in accord to our UCWLC Mission.  If we show women the relevance of the League, then we will be able to recruit more women as they will see that in the UCWLC there is something vital to them socially, culturally, and, of course spiritually. In addition, rejuvenated program will help to sustain and revitalize the current existing members. Any revitalization, however, will only occur if we have a sense of urgency, and if we can show our members and prospective members that we have a vision, one which is relevant to today’s society.

The value and importance of our organization is comparable to a priceless Pearl, and the UCWLC has something precious to offer to each one of us, to all our members and to prospective members.

By Lena Sloboda

This is my speech delivered at 32nd UCWLC National Congress in Edmonton,July 7th, 2010.  However, I have outlined my ideas in more depth.

By Lena Sloboda

This is my speech delivered at 32nd UCWLC National Congress in Edmonton,

July 7th, 2010. However, I have outlined my ideas in more depth.

The Value and Importance of UCWLC – Part One

By Lena Sloboda
This is my speech delivered at 32nd UCWLC National Congress in Edmonton, July 7th, 2010. However, I have outlined my ideas in more depth.


UCWLC National Congress 2010 – July 5th to July 8th

The theme and location has been announced for the 2010 UCWLC National Congress. With the theme “Women in the Church • Firm in our Faith” the Congress will take place at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre at 11834 Kingsway in Edmonton, Alberta from Monday, July 5 to Thursday July 8, 2010.

UCWLC National Congress 2010 • July 5 – July 8

The theme and location has been announced for the 2010 UCWLC National Congress. With the theme “Women in the Church • Firm in our Faith” the Congress will take place at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre at 11834 Kingsway in Edmonton, Alberta from Monday, July 5 to Thursday July 8, 2010.


UCWLC National Executive Plenary Conference

Edmonton Eparchy, May 01 – 03, 2009

The second National UCWLC Plenary Conference was held at the St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, Parish Hall, Edmonton Alberta, May 01-03, 2009.
The five Eparchies represented were as follows: Kvitka Kozak,( Constitution Chair) Eparchy of New Westminster, Barbara Hlus (President) and Lidia Wasylyn (Const. Chair), Eparchy of Edmonton, Geraldine Koban (President) and Gloria Leniuk, HLM (Const. Chair), Eparchy of Saskatoon, Stephanie Bilyj, HLM (Past Pres.) and Jean Sherman, HLM (Const. Chair), Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Olia Dallimore (Vice Pres.) and Marion Barszczyk (Const. Chair) Eparchy of Toronto.
Attending also were 18 members of the National Executive, (2 Honorary Life Members) with Honorary Life Member, Lena Sloboda as a noted presenter. President Luba Kowalchyk, chaired the sessions and Rev. Janko Herbut, Spiritual Advisor was present. Oksana Bashuk Hepburn Editor of the UCWLC National Magazine, Nasha Doroha was also invited and was present.

Sessions opened and closed with prayers and with meditations led by Spiritual Committee members, Andrea Sagansky and Barbara Olynyk.

Numerous important Agenda items were covered as follows.:

  • Eparchial Presidents reports
  • UCWLC Branch President Handbook
  • Resolutions
  • Membership fee review
  • UCWLC Website
  • Honorary Life membership
  • Dissolution of Branches protocol
  • Constitution
  • National Congress 2010

Friday evening, all attendees were pleased to attend and very much enjoyed the Kyiv Chamber Choir Concert.
Sunday Morning everyone attended the Divine Liturgy and shared a delicious Brunch with Bishop David.
In his greetings, Bishop David thanked the UCWLC members for their continued dedication to our Ukrainian Catholic Church, “UCWLC continues to exercise Leadership throughout the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada and Australia, and we (the clergy) are grateful for the leadership you provide.”
Bishop also spoke of the “Baba Power” referencing the older generations to spend quality time with their grandchildren and young people and teach them about God and the Faith and use the privilege that comes with being around them to share their personal gifts of Faith that their parents bestowed on them.
President Luba Kowalchyk closed the Conference with many thanks to the Executive for their fine work in organizing the sessions, to Bishop David for his presence, to Fr. Janko for his guidance and to all visiting Eparchial Executive members for taking the time to attend and bring their input for the betterment of the organization.
Conference closed with “O Spomahay Nas”.

Reported by Helen Sirman,
UCWLC National Secretary

UCWLC National Executive Plenary Conference 2009 Attendees

Nasha Doroha: Survey 2008 / Opyt 2008

SURVEY 2008: What Does Being a Canadian of Ukrainian Descent Mean to You?

There is an ongoing interest in what it means to be a Canadian of Ukrainian descent. NASHA DOROHA would like to invite you to join the discussion. Please tell us your views�

The English-language survey is available by pointing to the Resources link and then clicking on “Nasha Doroha” in the drop-down menu. Survey ends October 30.

OPYT 2008: Shcho oznachaie buty ukrainkoiu(tsem) kanadskoho pokhodzhennia?

NASHA DOROHA zaproshuie vas vkliuchytysia v dyskusiiu, yaka tsikavyt kanadtsiv ukrainskoho pokhodzhennia. Podilitsia vashoiu dumkoiu…

Mozhna zaity na ukrainomovnu versiiu opytu za linkom “Nasha Doroha”, shcho znakhodytsia v meniu pid zaholovkom “Resources”. Opyt zavershuietsia 30 zhovtnia.

Plenary Conference UCWLC National Executive, Edmonton Eparchy

First Plenary Conference of the UCWLC National Executive, Edmonton Eparchy

April 04-06, 2008

The UCWLC National Executive, Edmonton Eparchy, held their first Plenary Conference, April 04 to April 06, 2008 in Edmonton.

Attending were 18 members of the National Executive and 7 Eparchial representatives. Eparchial representatives were: Adeline Kotylak, VP, Eparchy of New Westminster; Barbara Hlus, Pres. and Lidia Wasylyn, Constitution Chair, Eparchy of Edmonton; Geraldine Koban, Pres. and Gloria Leniuk, HLM, Constitution Chair, Eparchy of Saskatoon; Stephanie Bilyj, HLM, Past Pres. and Jean Sherman, HLM, Constitution Chair, Archeparchy of Winnipeg; Marta Chomyn, Pres. and Marion Barszczyk, Constitution Chair, Eparchy of Toronto. Also in attendance was the UCWLC National Past President, Olena Gedz, HLM, from the Eparchy of Toronto.

The Conference was officially opened with Prayer led by Spiritual Committee members, Andrea Sagansky and Barb Olynyk.

National President Luba Kowalchyk called the meeting to order and warmly welcomed everyone. She encouraged everyone to work together in harmony and love. “Let’s make decisions not only for ourselves, but for the good of the Organization all across Canada. We need to be united in what we do, keeping in mind the goals and aims of the UCWLC. We need to work towards a vision and find solutions for our Branches and to address the realities of our organizational work. We ask the Holy Mother to guide and help us meet our challenges.”

Eparchial Presidents and designates were invited to present brief reports of activities.

These truly defined the work and dedication of our committed members.

The Agenda, followed accepted format and included business items contributed by the five Eparchial executives.

Agenda items discussed and resolved.

  • completion and production of the UCWLC handbook for Branches
  • review and plans to carry out the Resolution “UCWLC Building the Future””
  • representation to WUCWO and plans for UCWLC hosting of the opening of the WUCWO Conference in Winnipeg in August, 2008
  • UCWLC recognition pins for 10, 15 and 20 years of membership
  • Nasha Doroha  report of the Editorial Board
  • WFUWO, choosing a representative and other discussions
  • Membership in WCUSS
  • Laity and Vocations in the Ukrainian Catholic Church
  • Updating of the UCWLC Website Church Traditions Handbook
  • Future Projects

UCWLC Resource and Honorary Life Member, Lena Sloboda was invited to present the document “UCWLC Building the Future”.

The Friday Conference was concluded with Prayer, everyone then proceeded to St. Josaphat Cathedral for Moleben where we were joined by UCBC. Our thanks to Sister Rose Luby for leading us in beautiful, prayerful responsorial singing.

Saturday sessions continued on numerous organizational matters and we welcomed Rev. Fr. Janko Herbut, the UCWLC National Executive Spiritual Advisor who presented spiritual guidance to a number of concerns and discussions.

An interesting and stimulating Icebreaker was introduced by Maria Pastuszenko (National Constitution Chair) which was very much enjoyed by all.

Following the Saturday session, Brotherhood joined us for dinner, special musical entertainment and fellowship.

We were most happy to have His Excellency, Bishop David join us for dinner, as he was unable to participate in our Plenary Conference due to previous earlier scheduled commitments.

Sunday commenced with all members attending the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Excellency Bishop David and Rev. Fr. Theo at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.

Following a delicious Brunch, the joint session with UCBC began with opening remarks by Stan Kobylko, National President of UCBC and Luba Kowalchyk, National UCWLC President.

Most Rev. David Motiuk, Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton was invited to speak on Eparchial matters.

Bishop David spoke of the Second Vatican Council recognizing the Laity as bringing important gifts to the Church. He encouraged the faithful to update the Mission of the Church. “We will have a Pastoral Council, to plan a Pastoral plan for the next 25 years, for the future, and to take the steps to make that happen. The Religious and the Laity can come together to foster the Mission of the Church. As Lay Organizations (UCWLC & UCBC) must constantly work and harmonize together. Our gifts can be well expressed through harmony and work, together in Eparchies and on National level as well. Spread the Gospel message of Good News.”

Following further discussions, the final session of UCWLC National Plenary was closed with a prayer and singing of “Khrystos Voskress”

Reported by Helen Sirman, Secretary
UCWLC National Executive

Action Items from the 2008 Plenary Conference, Edmonton Eparchy

UCWLC National Plenary Conference – Edmonton Eparchy –  April 04-06, 2008

Motions – Action Items

1. Motion: that 10, 15, and 20 year Recognition pins be ordered and be made available. M/S/C.

2. Motion: that an Administrative informational Handbook be produced by the National Executive, for Nasha Doroha Branch reps. M/S/C

3. Motion: that past issues of Nasha Doroha be put on the UCWLC Website with appropriate compensation to technical person for this work. M/S/C

4. Motion: to update the UCWLC Website and keep it updated as needed.

5. Motion: that the Eparchy of Toronto chooses a suitable candidate to represent the UCWLC at WFUWO. M/S/C

6. Amendment to the original Motion as approved at the Post Congress Plenary of 2007: that a purchase of Ultrasound (not Biopsy) machine be made and installed in the same Clinic where the Mammogram machine was previously placed, to complete the Mammogram Project. M/S/C
(original Motion was not available for detailed wording)

7. Motion: that the UCWLC National Executive commissions a Ukrainian/Canadian Iconographer to write an Icon on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the UCWLC, modeled on the Zuravitsi Icon. M/S/C
(this project is tabled at this time)

8. Motion: that the Cultural Committee of the National UCWLC with proper research, start the project to construct and embroider a special “Rushnyk” to serve as a Banner, reflecting all Branches, as a 65th Anniversary Project. Choice of design left with the Cultural Committee. M/S/C

Action Items
1. UCWLC Handbook: to be completed, (updating initiated in the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, 2006) and produced by the National Executive, in both languages, and available in electronic format.
2. Church Traditions informational Handbook: to be produced by the National Executive, to assist Branches and Parishes on the correct handling of church linens, vestments, church decorating, seasonal changing of linens, preservation and cleaning of same.


Revitalizing Our Mission – by Lena Sloboda

The theme for the UCWLC 31st Edmonton Eparchial Convention is “Revitalizing Our Mission.”

It is with pride that today we look back to 1944, the beginnings of our organization: the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada. Today we are on the threshold of celebrating its 60th Anniversary (1944-2004). Today, all UCWLC members can take pride in the rich and illustrious history of the League. Our 60-year history is full of valuable contributions made by our pioneer Branches who helped forge the development of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Canadian community in Canada.

With such a strong, celebrated, and lively history, we may wonder, then, why is it that today we are talking about revitalizing our Mission.

The Past

Our organization, in its early years, was vibrant. The League had a growing membership. There was energy and excitement within the Branches. The League was fulfilling a meaningful constructive role; the members were helping to build churches to enrich their own spiritual lives.

The Present Situation

Today our organization is not flourishing. In fact, in the last decade, there has been a rapid decline in our membership. We no longer even qualify as a 6,000-membership organization. The League is reaching a point where, very soon, it is going to face a very serious crisis.

Our failure to respond to the present situation of diminishing Branch membership is already having severe repercussions for the entire organization. For example, our Edmonton Eparchy could not take its turn in electing the National Executive and, therefore, our Eparchy could not hold the seat of the official headquarters of the National UCWLC. We had done so four times in the past as recently as 1955 but unfortunately we cannot do it now. This is a very troubling sign.

How did we succeed in the past?

In the early years of our organization, our Branches flourished because they had a mission. A mission that matched the needs of the day and the concerns of the time.  We had a meaningful goal: Helping to build churches to provide a place of worship. Today, that particular mission of building churches is not as urgent. The needs of our present age are different than those of the past. Time changes everything. Our societal framework has changed. Our life is shaped by different elements than those of the past. We are living in the rapidly changing world with new situations arising in the Church and in society. We are all affected, in different ways, by these New World trends.

The Future

The Church, and Church-related organizations like the UCWLC, if they want to survive, have to respond to, and participate in, these many profound and rapid changes that have affected society as a whole.

Today the Church and its Organizations are searching for solutions. Empirical research has been done on the trends in Church attendance in Canada. In 1999, Dr. Reginald Bibby (a well known Professor of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge) studied trends in church attendance over the last two decades. In his research, Dr. Bibby stated that although regular participation in organized worship is lower, there is a receptivity for spiritual and personal relationship and indeed a hunger for meaning in life, rites of passage relating primarily to birth, marriage and death, and other spiritual elements. Interestingly, the research revealed that more women than men participate in church attendance, and this attendance is mainly by older women.

The Eparchial Executive has done several surveys to determine the challenges of the UCWLC today. The response was clear. What the members most wanted from the League membership was the following: (i) to strengthen, (ii) to enhance, and (iii) to commit themselves to a better understanding of our Catholic faith, and of our Ukrainian cultural heritage, and to devote more time to the task of strengthening of the family.

Now, isn’t that an interesting response? Our members themselves are aware of what should be the League’s priorities, and what is most important in today’s fast changing world.

Dr. Bibby’s research and the League’s surveys both come to the same conclusion: today, people are searching for meaning in life through rites and traditions, and other spiritual elements.

How Can We Begin a Process of Revitalization?

Revitalization will begin when we make organizational changes. We need to get on track. The challenge is to revitalize, the role of the Church in our everyday lives, but to do so in a manner that does not repeat the same activities of old, out of habit and routine. Programs that may have been valuable in the past are not necessarily valuable today. To create the organization of the future, we need to create new programs and new initiatives.

To begin the process of revitalization, I offer four critical elements that demand our constant focus and attention in the process of revitalizing our mission:

3. METHOD (Planning)
(1) VISION (2) Goals (3) Method (4) Attitude

VISION: – The Power of Vision
Every organization has many choices to make for deciding which way to go. Forces in the outside world pull the organization in different directions, each offering its own attractions, its own possible merits. Yet, no organization can be all things to all people. Let’s look at successful companies like the General Motors. They produce cars, but they do not also bake cakes or sew dresses, they stick to making cars.

Similarly let’s look at our organization, the UCWLC. Our Branches are pulled in many directions. There are so many, diverse wonderful activities and we are so involved, so busy, so very busy doing so many different worthwhile things. However, if somebody would ask us what does the League do? Or what is the mission of UCWLC? What would we say? Our minds would race over the many things we do. Out of all our activities we might have to struggle to choose something unique, something particular to our individuality as members of UCWLC. So, amidst all the bustle and conflicting pressure, the League needs a vision to focus on what’s really important and where it intends to go.


The UCWLC has enduring aims and objectives on which our organization is founded. However, to continue as a viable organization we need to refocus our mission to adjust to changing realities and respond to a different set of needs, to a different kind of world. In order to begin a process of revitalization, we need a clear vision of what we, as members of UCWLC wish to achieve and how we are going to do it. The UCWLC Mission Statement provides us with that vision.

Our Mission Statement is constructed from an understanding of the purpose and heritage of our organization. It provides us with an over-all direction on how to achieve our purpose.

The UCWLC Mission Statement is as follows:

The Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada in its ongoing commitment to the mission of the Church, and to the nurturing of our cultural heritage, is dedicated to providing resources that help its members to realize their own true vocation
and live an authentic Christian life as contributing members to the Church and society.

A Mission Statement is not something that, once it has been written, is filed into the archives. Instead, it is an active resource meant to be used. Accordingly, the first and most important goal of each member must be to clearly understand the purpose of the organization. The UCWLC Mission Statement should be a beacon that guides our League activities.

Our Mission Statement begins with the words,”The Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada.”These words express our specific identity:

  • they tell us that this is a women’s lay organization on a national level

  • they tell us that the faith of the members is Ukrainian Catholic
    These few words tell us our organization’s mission is considerably different from that of secular organizations. Our faith is the basis of League activities.

    Our Mission Statement stands on four pillars, which are the core aims and objectives of UCWLC. The four pillars are:

    I.    Catholic Faith III.   Social Development
    II.  Ukrainian Culture IV.   Charitable Activities

    Let us now explore our Mission Statement in conjunction with the League’s core aims and objectives

    The Mission Statement begins by identifying the League’s commitment to the mission of the Church. A question we may want to ask. What is the Mission of the Church?

    Simply stated: Over two thousand years ago Jesus Christ taught here on earth. Now the Church continues to do His work. The mission of the Church is to spread the message of Christ.

    For further clarification of our call to the mission of the church, we could refer to Pope John Paul II’s papal document Christifideles Laici (The Lay Members of Christian Faithful).   Published following the 1987 world Synod of Bishops who met to discuss “The Vocation and Mission of the Laity in the Church and in the World.”  The document clearly explains the teachings of the Church regarding the vocation, and mission of the laity. Vatican II points to the following three main focuses of the mission of the Church and the co-responsibility of the lay faithful:

    1. To spread the message of Christ: the work of evangelization and sanctification
    2. The work of renewal of society and culture
    3. The work of charity or mercy
    Our Mission Statement begins with a statement that “we are committed to the mission of the Church.”

    This statement draws our attention to the 1st UCWLC core objective, namely the

    Catholic Faith

    This means that our lives, our activities are to be guided by the Catholic faith.

    We are committed to the mission of the Church because we are members of Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada, which is church-based, church-centered and church approved. The League’s objectives are, therefore, based on Catholic faith in Jesus Christ and the mission of His Church.

    Our responsibility to the mission of the Church:
    1. Our primary responsibility to the mission of the Church is to develop a deep understanding of our faith, and to truly understand what it means to be a Catholic Christian.
    2. As a Catholic Christian we need to practice and promote the moral and social teachings of the Church by upholding Christian values in whatever we do in our daily lives: not only in isolation of our ordinary daily activities, but also in our families, at work, at our organization and our occupation and in our professional lives.
    3. It is also our responsibility to deepen our sense of civic responsibility. Social justice and works of mercy are essential to the mission of the church.

    Our Mission Statement states that we are “to nurture our cultural heritage.”   This statement draws our attention to the 2nd UCWLC core objective, namely the

    Ukrainian Culture

    It is important for us to be aware that we are rooted in history and culture. The official introduction of Christianity in Ukraine by Prince Volodymyr the Great in 988 was one of the most important and glorious events in the history of Ukrainian people. For over a 1,000 years we have remained an integral, but unique part of God’s People with our specific history, rite, liturgy, music, ritual, and our own religious tradition. We need to know the beauty of our traditions, the significance of our worship and the history of our people but also to make a concerted effort to ensure that the beauty and significance of our heritage and inheritance are maintained and passed on for generations to come.

    The Mission Statement states   we are “to live a true Christian life as contributing members to the Church and society ” This statement draws our attention to the 3rd UCWLC core objectives, namely

    Social Development

    As members of UCWLC, we possess a unique identity in that we are both members of the Church and members of society. We are to participate in the mission activities of our parish, and also in the Church’s mission of service to the individual and society. Our mission of service to the individual and society consists of initiating and aiding programs of social justice which exemplify Christian ideals of justice and love, particularly those related to inviolability of human life, the dignity of the human being and the sacredness of the family.

    Our personal responsibility to society: promoting the well being of marriage and family.
    Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation on the laity, “Christifideles Laici” reminds us that the lay faithful’s duty to society primarily begins in marriage and in the family; the family in God’s plan is the basic cell of society. It is the foundation and nourishment of society.

    Our responsibility to society as an organization:
    To fulfill our Christian vocation in the world, with the promotion of justice and with the spirit of service as a Catholic organization, there is a need to extend our participation, in the community, and, in different sectors of public life, particularly the political life.

    The importance of our involvement in the political life, is interpreted in the late Archbishop Maxim Hermaniuk’s address on laity at the World Bishop’s Synod in Rome in 1987. He urged action by the laity everywhere to influence the value systems of their countries by an active participation in political, social, economic, cultural and artistic life. He stated that the mandate of the laity “to bring Christ to every day life comes from Christ himself. ”  However, he stated that the most important item among these different sectors of public life today is the political sector. The interpretation and implementation of the laws concerning marriage, family life, education, economy, labor and social life is practically forcing in some way all members of the community to follow the way of life proposed and directed by the government.

    However, to be engaged in political and social activities, we need to be strong Christians, well instructed and firm in our faith. We also need to have a good understanding of the Church’s social teaching, and an understanding of our civic responsibility to social justice programs.

    Charitable Activities

    Charity is a distinctive dimension of the mission of the Church. lt is also the 4th UCWLC core objective. The League’s mission to charity or mercy is a service to persons and society: in works of mercy for the poor and the sick, in works of charity and mutual aid intended to relieve human needs of every kind, as well as in assistance to groups and communities. This type of ministry reaffirms Jesus¡¦ ministry to serve others.

    The final pronouncement of the Mission Statement is that, “we are to provide resources to help our members to live a true Christian life.”

    The basic objective of the Mission Statement of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada involves developing and instituting programs oriented towards fostering and facilitating a heightening of the spiritual and cultural consciousness of its members and their role as lay members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

    The UCWLC programs are to advance an awareness of both, the doctrines of our faith, including an increased understanding of our Eastern Christian Heritage, namely our Ukrainian Byzantine rite, and, at the same time, to increase our understanding of the dynamic history of Ukrainian culture. This knowledge will provide the key structural elements for building a meaningful Christian life not only for the individual member, but also for her family, and the community as a whole.

    Our Mission Statement provided us with a clear vision of what our mission is about. We now need to consider decisive and well defined goals to carry out our vision.

    (1) Vision (2) GOALS (3) Method (4) Attitude

    Careful planning and setting of goals for the year should be a routine policy of the Branch. Priority planning is necessary to achieve our goal. All programs and activities must be able to clearly answer,”how does this relate to our Mission?” It is important to set goals and objectives for a given frame time. Once goals are established, they need to be promoted and followed.  This planning and setting of goals prevents a  Branch from drifting away from its mission.

    Finding a Balance

    Today, as in the pioneer era, many Branches still prioritize fund raising. Indeed the League is a church-based, organization and should not neglect to do its share in material support of the parish. However, this is only one criterion by which we should judge our work as a UCWLC organization.  One of the most important questions we should be asking ourselves as a group is “How have we as an organization helped the personal spiritual development of our members?” This is a basic question. If we, as a UCWLC organization, are not profoundly concerned with spirituality, then we are not fulfilling the aims of the League. To justify our existence as a UCWLC organization, we must have the added all–important dimension of programs which are mission-related with emphasis on spirituality. We need to find a balance. To maintain a balance, we must have priorities clearly laid out.  Accordingly, we may discover that, at times, we may not need to continue to serve old, existing programs simply out of habit and routine. There will always be some concern over what we need to hold onto and what we need to change.

    (1) Vision (2) Goals (3) METHOD (4) Attitude

    METHOD:  (Planning): the 3rd critical element for the process of revitalization.
    (a) Branch Standing Committees
    The structure of UCWLC is to operate on a system of Standing Committees at all levels, working as a large national organization, but also as one unit. To assure conformity to common goals, as well as to provide direction, and support, the same basic Standing Committees are found in all levels of the organization: the National, the Eparchial Executives and the Branches. The role of the Branch Standing Committees is extremely important. They are the mechanism for implementing the Aims and Objectives of the League. The UCWLC will have difficulty to achieve its goals, its mission without strong Branches and their Standing Committees.

    Team work between Eparchial and Branch Standing Committees:
    Success in the process of revitalization requires a strong team work between the Eparchial and Branch Standing Committees. It is, therefore, crucial to have a unified approach of both levels. It is especially important to remove any barriers between Eparchial Committees and the Branches. The Branches and the Eparchy cannot be seen as working in isolation of each other, with Branches seeing the Eparchial Executive as “them” and themselves, (the Branches) as “us.” There is no “them.” We are all “us.”  United we can make a difference. We need a well-orchestrated cooperation between these two levels based on open dialogue and mutual respect.

    (b) Communication
    To create a common vision of our League’s over-all mission in our large organization, it is essential that proper channels of communication be established and maintained between all levels of our organization. It is vital that information and materials are passed from one level to another. We need to ensure that everyone is informed and that all share the same vision of what the League is about. Good communication will bring about the realization that we are truly working as one organization. The Eparchial Regional Conferences is an important extension of communication between the Eparchial Executive and the Branches.

    (c) League Image
    It is important for each Branch to develop a good strong UCWLC image in each parish and in the community. The UCWLC Mission Statement is our identity.  It describes Who We Are and Our Purpose. It needs to become familiar not only to the members, but also to the community. We face strong competition from other organizations. We need to inform others that Spiritual Development is the very heart of our organization and the essence of our existence. This dimension sets us apart from all other women’s organization. We need to affirm that our strength derives from our common bond of  faith.

    (d) Membership – Diversity in Our Membership
    Today, many Branches identify aging membership as the greatest challenge to the League. Perhaps we could turn this around and make it our greatest strength fusing the wisdom and experience of the elders with energy and aspiration of the young. We need to retain the present membership and continue to recruit members of diverse age and focus.  However, being an active UCWLC member may not be a viable option for many young mothers who tend to be preoccupied with children, school and building a career. We should not overlook the semi- retired women whose children are grown up. They can still be extremely effective members and have more time to devote for their own spiritual and personal enrichment and fulfillment of a desire to contribute to the church and community.

    (1) Vision (2) Method (3) Goals (4) ATTITUDE

    We will now conclude with the 4th  critical element needed to begin the process of revitalization.

    When we are talking about revitalization, we are talking about renewal. We are talking about not only changing concepts of our aims and goals, but also of renewing attitudes. Attitude is a word that can either make or break an organization.
    Attitude can have meaning on two levels:

  • a passive attitude of indifference

  • an active attitude of participation and vitality.
    For example, my attitude to Tim Horton’s donuts is one of indifference. I feel I can make better donuts than Tim Horton’s.  However, my attitude about the League must never be one of indifference. Our attitude about the League is vital. Our attitude about the League sends a message to others.

    Finally, then, let us engage in the following actions:
    1 . Treat everybody with respect. Let us build UCWLC Branches that    celebrate the uniqueness of every member by caring.
    2. Continually give recognition and praise when deserved. Power of praise and appreciation is the best marketing plan. Everyone wants to be appreciated.
    3. Recruit members, however, also strive to retain members. Members are like consumers – they both have options.  What customers care about is how they are treated. Statistics tell us that 65% of the reason they stop using the product or service is Not because they Don’t like the product or service, but because they Didn’t like the way they were treated.
    4. Ensure that only positive attitudes are promoted among our Branches as only positive attitudes will bring about unity, peace, and harmony in our Branches and parishes.
    5. Maintain a sense of humour – laughter and joy helps members to relax and be themselves.  It is an invaluable ingredient in the overall perspective.
    6. Create a family-like atmosphere in our Branches: warmness that permeates our Branches.
    7. Develop a sense of pride in belonging to a national organization and support all levels of the League. Manifest this pride with enthusiasm at all times when speaking about the League.

    The U WLC Mission Statement addresses the organization’ s four core aims and objectives and provides us with a process of revitalizing our mission to create the organization of the future. The Mission Statement provides us with our life-long task of understanding of ¡¥ Who We Are and What Is Our Purpose¡¦.  This is, I believe a ‘charter’ for the next 60 years. It is a firm base in the task of developing among our members their own true vocation to live an authentic Christian life as contributing members to the Church and society.

    Let’s respect the PA ST, but Respond to the PRESENT Crisis with an Eye towards the FUTURE.

    *This is the text (with a few extensions) of “Revitalizing Our Mission” which I presented at the
    31st Edmonton Eparchial Convention on November 1st ,  2003.

    Lena Sloboda, UCWLC National Executive Past President.

    UCWLC Constitution and Bylaws
    Post Synodol Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici of His Holiness John Paul II
    Documentation by Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – Synod of Bishops, Rome 1987

    Archbishop Hermaniuk, and Elements For a Theology of the Laity, “‘The Laity Today” a Bulletin of the Pontifical Council For the Laity, Vatican City, 1979.