Tag Archive: andrew


The inner historian inside of me has sparked my next round of thoughts on UNITY. Spending the last little while thinking about the year 1996, specifically that period between April and May when so much happened here in our archeparchy: UNITY 1996, of course, sandwiched in with the deaths of both Fr. Yarapolk Radkevych and Archbishop Maxime Hermaniuk, I realized that it was 15 years ago that all took place.

I was certainly not aware of UNITY 1996; I still had my childhood notions of becoming pope, and I have begun to think that we have truly entered the second wave of young adults to be touched by UNITY.

I have realized this in talking with some of the veterans of UNITY 1996: Tamara, our director, all of the priests: Fr. Soo, Fr. Darren, Fr. Mark, Fr. Mike (I’m not even sure if they were all priests then). And what I have gotten in talking to these people is that there was a spirit (the Holy Spirit of course) that rolled with UNITY 1996, if they call it the “Spirit of ‘76” for the American Revolution, I think it is more than apt that we call it the “Spirit of ‘96” for UNITY. I also believe that if UNITY 2012 is going to be successful we are going to need to catch some of that “Spirit of ‘96”.

Because UNITY 1996 was truly an “into the wild” experience; there was no precedent, there were no expectations to live up to, it was the first of its kind. I am going to come back to the American Revolution again, because the parallels are remarkable. The veterans of UNITY 1996 are much like the founding fathers of theUnited States of America, they set the table for great things to come. But I will note that there was an interluding period of close to 15 years (funny how that came up again) before the U.S.A. had the structures in place to head on its path to what it is today; in a sense, they were trying to find there way in the wilderness.

So I see us today at that point of being ready to take off, having spent a decade and a half growing, transforming and refining what UNITY is. The upcoming generation of youth, like myself, scarcely remember 1996, nevermind UNITY 1996. There is even a good chance they would not have heard about UNITY 2004, 2006 or 2009 (I personally found out about UNITY in 2007), so I do not think it is a stretch to say that people do not really know what we are about. But, much like the Founding Fathers, we know what we are about.

Every generation must pass the torch to the next, always hoping to have the flame going a little brighter when it is passed. So let us infuse some of that “Spirit of ‘96” into UNITY 2012 and send forth the next generation; my generation, your generation, OUR generation: “into the wild.”

 

AK

 

Andrew’s Thoughts for Thursday

(an opinion piece put out every Thursday, time permitting)

July 28 – Acronym of UNITY

August 4 – Bridging the Gap

August 11 – Choices

 

August 17 – Towards the Tangible

Andrew’s On the Road(show)

(Recaps and thoughts after every parish tour)

Introduction – Tuesday July 26, 2011: UNITY!?!?

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So I have been thinking a lot about two things this week: the Kiev Pavilion and all of our Canadian Ukrainian Catholic pilgrims who are in Spain for World Youth Day. I thought about the many Manitoban pilgrims who had the “one or the other” choice (really it isn’t a choice, WYD all the way!), and all of those back at the pavilion who always say, “I wonder how _____ is doing, they’re away on that trip aren’t they?”

This is just a reminder, a wake-up call of sorts, of what events like WYD, UNITY and Congress are; they are elements of choice. While UNITY 2012 will not conflict with events such as the Kiev Pavilion or the Cook’s Creek Pilgrimage, there is always going to be something else: a wedding, funeral, party, relative coming in, all of these things that force us to make that difficult decision. I am not trying to say that people should drop everything for UNITY, that would be ridiculous; I am saying that the journey, the choices, the decisions, the sacrifices, that each participant will have to make will not be easy.

This is what makes UNITY so difficult to explain, it physically only spans four days, but it encompasses much more, a 3 act continuum: the journey, the event, and the “aftershock”. In those three parts, only one thing is set in linear time: the event, the journey and the “aftershock” are much more incongruous, with no definite time of beginning and end.

Each person’s continuum will look different, brought together in unity, by only one thing: those four days.

To take our theme of going “into the wild”, imagine it as a group of people all taking different paths through the wilderness then coming to a campfire, only staying for a bit, and then continuing on their journey, but never forgetting that one campfire.

Since it’s the 21st century, I’ll give you the SparkNotes on my thought’s for tonight: your attendance at UNITY 2012 is purely your choice, and I think it is a choice that will be extremely fulfilling for you.

Night all and God bless.

Andrew’s Blog History (clink post title for link)

Andrew’s Thoughts for Thursday

(an opinion piece put out every Thursday, time permitting)

July 28 – Acronym of UNITY

August 4 – Bridging the Gap

Andrew’s On the Road(show)

(Recaps and thoughts after every parish tour)

Introduction – Tuesday July 26, 2011: UNITY!?!?

I know, I know, it isn’t actually Thursday anymore, I am late by a few minutes. Part of the problem has been thinking up something to say: talk about the upcoming tours? No, I’ll cover them after. Do a 5 part more in-depth look at the acronym? No, pretty boring and redundant. Talk about how great UNITY will be? Well that’s a given.

But then, just minutes ago as I was looking about my room I saw a stack of books: one about ESPN, a Fitzgerald and a Hemingway plus an assorted collection of magazines, and I thought to myself, what do these have to do with UNITY?

Then it come to me like a flash of light (Paul on the road to Damascus style): UNITY is what bridges the gap between our everyday lives (in this case, my stack of books) and our spiritual lives, which often seem to be a remote wilderness that is only traversed on Sundays.

***I find it fitting that there is actually a foot bridge not too far from the retreat center in Pinawa; symbolism is everywhere!

But, to keep this brief (relatively), I really want to reinforce what we often stress on the tour and in our videos: UNITY is a eye-opening experience to realize that being a Ukrainian Catholic young adult is not something you need to hide away and be ashamed of; the feeling of being small and remote, isolated and ‘uncool’. UNITY is that experience to realize that we are vast and well integrated, connected and ‘hip’. That is what we are, that is what we can be, that is what we SHOULD be.

Yes, it is depressing to go to a church service and realize there is less than a handful of young people there. Yes, it is hard to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of connection, when you are in this situation. But you do belong, this isn’t just your baba’s church; it’s your church. To be able to realize that, to be able to recognize that being Ukrainian Catholic is just as much a part of your everyday life as your job, studies, friends, or family are, that is a moment of blissful self-actualization. But that bridge is not an easy one to cross.

UNITY is the chance to take the first step.

 

 

Andrew’s Blog History (clink post title for link)

Andrew’s Thoughts for Thursday

(an opinion piece put out every Thursday, time permitting)

July 28 – Acronym of UNITY

Andrew’s On the Road(show)

(Recaps and thoughts after every parish tour)

Introduction – Tuesday July 26, 2011: UNITY!?!?

For the last number of parish tours, I have had difficulty spelling UNITY. Yes, I know that I look like a fool when I spell UNTIY while explaining our UNITY acronym. But that has got me thinking, why don’t we examine the acronym and look at how it explains UNITY.

****Note: UNITY was not originally an acronym, and it still really isn’t. The leaders of the UNITY 2009 tour team made it an acronym and it works. BUT UNITY IS NOT AN ACRONYM. This is just to explain UNITY in a simpler fashion.

So here we go…

U is for Ukrainian Catholic; this event is made for either those who are Ukrainian Catholic or those who enjoy being around Ukrainian Catholics (who wouldn’t?).

N is for National; UNITY is a national event, one of the only opportunities for Ukrainian Catholic young adults from across Canada to interact, which truly makes it special. It is our hope that we may even attract some young adults from the northern United States for UNITY 2012.

I is for inspirational (yes I comes before T); UNITY touches all who go to it, that is a given. What is often overlooked is that the inspiration often carries over; back into the parishes from across Canada where attendees hail from. As I said in my previous post as well as at every parish tour, UNITY is not just about young adults, it is an event for young adults that benefits the entire Church.

T is for Theme; theme is really what ties everything at UNITY together. Everything we do, directly or indirectly, ties into our theme: Into the Wild. What we want to examine and grow in is our awareness of those “going into the wild” experiences in the daily lives of ourselves and others.

Y is for You; regardless of who you are, where you are, and what your role is in the Church is, UNITY is about you because, as mentioned above, UNITY is about more than just those who attend it. It is about anyone and everyone in our Church; the young and the old, the active and inactive parishioners, the clergy and the laity.

So there it is, UNITY broken into an acronym (and spelt correctly!). Now, what does it mean?

It means that UNITY is important. It means that UNITY is a big event. It means that UNITY is a chance to reinvigorate the youth in our church. But most importantly, it is the first step to building that community I have been talking so much about. And not just a parish community, a national community of Ukrainian Catholics. I have seen it on the faces of people who have been to UNITY, Congress, World Youth Day, SERVE, the list goes on. All of these people have been excited, they have been set on fire with a zeal and exuberance for their faith and the community that surrounds that faith. And by becoming a part of UNITY 2012 in any way, shape, or form; attending, donating, supporting, praying for, then you become a part of our goal to build that national community.

I think that is an attractive proposal for everyone.

P.S. and don’t forget UNITY is not actually an acronym.

Andrew’s Blog History (clink post title for link)

Andrew’s Thoughts for Thursday

(an opinion piece put out every Thursday, time permitting)

Andrew’s On the Road(show)

(Recaps and thoughts after every parish tour)

Introduction – Tuesday July 26, 2011: UNITY!?!?

****Note: Sorry for the long length of this post. I was just moved by the Spirit so to speak as I was walking home from work today.****

UNITY.

Just that one word stirs up a host of emotions.

And in one weekend we are supposed to do our best to cover the word, and all that associated with it, as it pertains to our Church.

A lot of what I think about UNITY 2012 has been formed by time spent telling people about it: The Roadshow. As we hop from parish to parish getting the word out, the event seems to be fleshed out, person by person, conversation by conversation, church dinner by church dinner.

And the one thing that these tours have taught is that UNITY is about people.

It is about the people of our church, those who attend services regularly and those who don’t, those who have rock-solid beliefs and those who are still working on it. And I think it is fitting that the theme of UNITY 2006 was “Connections”, because that is what it is all about, making those personal connections, those connections that will not only be seen at UNITY, but in our churches for years to come.

We need to make those connections, not only with other young adults, but with all members of our church community: our forefathers, our clergy, our parents, our grandparents, our friends, our children. That is what we need to get back to: a church community. In a way, it is something I believe our church has slowly moved away from, just as we have moved ahead or away from what brought us together as a church community in the first place. No longer is the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada an infant, it has grown and evolved to what it presently is. But the church of Blessed Bishop Nikita Budka’s day was truly a community; people lived and breathed around the church, for the support, for the education and for the friendship it provided. As the need for the Church to support the Ukrainian Canadian community lessened, the community has slowly broken down.

I see UNITY as an opportunity to begin to rebuild that community.

In a way, UNITY 2012 will be both a blast and a behemoth; a blast in that it will be a lot of fun, a behemoth in that it will be a lot of work to plan. But UNITY is also a behemoth in that it represents such a large scope of what we want to accomplish in our Church: to rebuild, to reinvigorate, to educate, to excite, to pray, to play, the list is endless. So are we trying to accomplish too much?

The answer is yes and no.

Yes, in that there is no way to rebuild that Church community in one weekend. I know that, you know that.

But on the flipside, UNITY is not just one weekend. It is merely a reference point on the continuum of the Ukrainian Catholic Young Adults of Canada. Many see UNITY in the form of a story: buildup, climax, end. Wash, rinse, repeat. This thinking is wrong. UNITY does not end. The singular experience of UNITY may only encompass one weekend, but it is much more than that: it is a turning point. A turning point for individuals, and a turning point for our Church community.

So UNITY 2012 is not the end. And it certainly is not the beginning either. It is somewhere in the murky middle – the great unknown. So before we get to UNITY 2012 we need to be building that community that is going to make UNITY a success. But not only do we need to build the community for UNITY, we need to build the community that is going to endure for generations beyond UNITY 2012, in Jesuit terms, we need to prepare to “live the forth” (fourth) so to speak.

So after 600 words we are right back where we started:

UNITY

What does it mean to you?