Mgr Sviatoslav Shevchuk to the MSSR Sisters on the 25th anniversary: The aim of the quest for consecrated life is your thirst for God

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On 2 June, the Head of the UGCC (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church), His Beatitude Sviatoslav, led the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Novoyavorivsk. This event marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Province of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Archbishop and Metropolitan Ihor Vozniak of Lviv concelebrated with the Head of the Church, bishops, and priests of the UGCC. Representatives of the local authorities and foreign guests also attended the festive Divine Liturgy.

During the sermon, His Beatitude Sviatoslav revealed the meaning of God’s word about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. According to him, the Samaritan woman’s thirst, which seems to be described in the image of searching for her only beloved, is presented in the Gospel as a thirst for living water. “The living water is none other than the Holy Spirit, and the source is the heavenly Father,” the Primate explained.

The Head of the UGCC noted that the Samaritan woman returned as a missionary: ‘She wants everyone to find the one who quenched her thirst for God – the thirst for eternal life, for everlasting happiness, for which man was created and to which he is called.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasised that today’s Gospel story is about our Church, our people, and the holy temple. He also emphasised that the source of eternal life is present, especially in times of brutal war, where the Church is present.

Furthermore, he compared the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus to the vocation of the missionary sisters of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer. Like the woman, they felt a thirst for living water and found it in Jesus Christ.

“This story speaks of those who have found it and learned to worship the Father in Spirit and truth. This story is about those who have found the one Bridegroom and have become his missionaries. This story is about you, dear sisters!” the Patriarch emphasised.

The Eastern branch of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer was founded 25 years ago in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Novoyavorivsk. Recalling those times, his Beatitude Sviatoslav noted that “the reason for the sisters’ quest for consecrated life was their true thirst for God”.

The Head of the Church expressed his gratitude to the Redemptorist Sisters for their missionary service and gave special thanks to Sister Margaret Obereder, the Provincial Superior of the congregation: “I thank you, Mother Margaret, for the wise and courageous motherly moments you experienced with our sisters and, above all, for your excellent command of the Ukrainian language. The true language you have spoken is that of the love and grace of the Holy Spirit.

I think that today there will not be enough time or words to list all the signs of remarkable grace, the gift of eternal life pulsating from the well of the heavenly Father, who is our Lord Saviour,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, “If He can touch the heart of a young girl so much that she is ready to give her life to Him alone as her heavenly Bridegroom, then He is alive.

After the festive liturgy on the occasion of the first 25th anniversary of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer in Ukraine, the Father and Head of the UGCC thanked the Redemptorist priests: “I thank the fathers of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer who welcomed the sisters here and gave them living water, quenching their personal thirst for God”.

Patriarchal letters of commendation were then handed over to those who contributed to this great spiritual event in the life of the UGCC, in particular to Fr Mykhailo Voloshyn, Fr Petro Baran, Fr Volodymyr Vons, and Ss Margaret Obereder, Sister Hildegard Dankt and Sister Paula Staup.

The Sisters expressed their gratitude to His Beatitude Sviatoslav and presented him with an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary painted by a missionary sister.

Finally, the Father and Head of the Church blessed the bells of the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

In preparation for this 25th anniversary

On 15 September 2023, the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer started their pilgrimage to important places in Italy. The sisters visited for the first time the community of St Alphonsus, Rome, welcomed by Fr Andrzej Wodka, CSsR.

The Holy Mass presided over by Mgr Bohdan Dziurakh CSsR (Apostolic Exarch of Germany and Scandinavia) in St Peter’s Basilica at the tomb of St Basil on 16 September 2023 was an important moment when the Greek Catholic Bishops, priests and Sisters of the MSSR prayed together for peace in Ukraine and for Fr Ivan Levytskyi and Fr Bohdan Haleta, who are still imprisoned in Russia.

At the Angelus on Sunday, 17 September 2023, Pope Francis, congratulating the Ukrainian sisters, urged them to continue to pray for Ukraine; here are the Holy Father’s words: “And I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from Italy and different countries, in particular… the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. And let us continue to pray for the Ukrainian people martyred and for peace in the land struck by war”.

Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer in Ukraine.

The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer in Ukraine was founded in Novoyavorivsk, Lviv Oblast, in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. In the 1990s, a group of young girls, passionate about the idea of missionary service, approached the Redemptorist Fathers with a request to establish such a monastic community. Thanks to the efforts of the priests, contacts were made with a female missionary congregation in Germany, which began training Ukrainian women.

The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer is an international community whose sisters serve in Germany, Austria, Chile, Bolivia, Japan and Ukraine.

Source:
ugcc.ua website
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