Axios! Axios! Axios! New Priest for Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Australia

“Dad, I hope we are going to have lunch before we have tea…”

Thus said my daughter at 2:50pm this afternoon. We were in the dining hall at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral (Sts Peter and Paul) in North Melbourne following the priestly ordination of Father Robert Stickland. Grace had been said twenty minutes ago, and now we were into the fifth speech! The girls were real troopers. They had been to Sunday School in their Lutheran parish (10-11am) and then I picked them up and took them to North Melbourne for the ordination liturgy. The liturgy started at 11:30 and ended two hours later. At first we stood up in the balcony, where we had a fine view of the ordination, and then we came downstairs and sat in the front for the Eucharistic part of the liturgy. A real education for the kids (“Dad, what was that on the spoon that he was giving you?”).

The entire liturgy was sung in English. The Ukrainian Rite was translated from Old Slavic to Ukrainian about 50 or 60 years ago according to a well informed parishioner, and apparently they have had spoken English liturgies at the Cathedral before, but this is the first time that the choir had mastered the liturgy in English. Hopefully it will be a fixture for future liturgies–but at the same time we don’t want to lose the Ukrainian, do we? Bishop Peter Stasiuk, the Ukrainian bishop, was assisted by Bishop Hilton Deakin, one of our auxiliaries. There was a wide assortment of priests of various rites assisting.

Father Robert was raised Baptist–but his family are Catholic now. His mother, sister and brother (who is also a priest, but of the Western rite) were present also. He has been an associate of our Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission–bringing an Eastern perspective to our work. Truly, the presence of the Ukrainians, and the other Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, demonstrate what John Paul II meant by the Church breathing with both lungs. The Catholic Church IS Catholic–for it is not just the Latin Rite, but 22 different Churches in all, all sister churches in full communion with our Mother Church, the Church of Rome.

The pictures on this page are Father Deacon Robert at the top carrying the Gospel book before his ordination to the priesthood, and Father Robert below giving communion afterwards. The Cathedral is a real “must-see” with lifesize icons painted on the walls.

Needless to say, the food afterwards was absolutely delicious–no Lenten stinting on sausage and wine and cake! The kids ended up eating enough to do them for tea as well. I was very tempted to stay in town for the Latin Novus Ordo Mass at St Brigid’s Fitzroy at 6:00pm, but I thought that the kids had had more than enough liturgy for one day (Is that POSSIBLE? I hear some of you ask!).

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2 Responses to Axios! Axios! Axios! New Priest for Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Australia

  1. Peregrinus says:

    Fascinating! I gather that Latin rite Catholics are generally not encouraged to change rites, so should I be surprised that a convert from Baptist Christianity joins an Eastern rite? True, he wasn’t a Latin rite Catholic, but he is coming from the Western Christian tradition, and the Latin rite is the obvious and expected home for him.

  2. Schütz says:

    Yes, it is fascinating, but in fact true that he belonged to the Latin Rite before he entered the Ukrainian rite. He receieve episcopal permission to change rites–I guess it was granted because of his wife’s connections.

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