Ukrainian Bishop Speaks on Eucharist During Special Mass at Biloxi Cathedral Jan. 17
Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytskyi of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, reflected on the importance of The Holy Eucharist during a Holy Hour of Peace Mass celebrated Jan. 17 at Biloxi’s Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In his message, Bishop Kryvyytskyi incorporated the stories of two Ukrainian religious whose lives have intersected with their country’s ongoing war with Russia, and how powerfully the Eucharist figured into their experiences, offering that we might reconsider our own view of the Eucharist after considering theirs.
Father Adam Urbaniak of Our Lady of Victories Parish in Pascagoula provided translation into English the Bishop’s comments, which follow:
When we participate in the Eucharist, we remember the Holy Thursday when the Lord Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples; we realize that He did not leave us orphans, but He remains with us.
When there is something that we see or hear that really touches our heart, we keep it and prolong that moment for as long as we can; we like to repeat words that truly touch our hearts. [For example] We like to listen to the music from our favorite movie, look at pictures that bring special memories.
As we participate in this adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we recall and commemorate the last supper of Jesus with His disciples and recall and prolong that moment of Jesus at the Last Supper with His disciples. This time of adoration is, indeed, not so much a time to speak, but a time to listen.
Sometimes in our life, we arrive at the conviction that nothing in our life is going to change.
We are well aware of how important the Eucharist is for our salvation and our hearts, but we do not consider how our life would look like if the Eucharist was not present to us.
Just before Christmas, one of our priests was recruited into the Army, therefore he immediately needed to fight in the war; of course, he immediately informed me, and shared with me his fear.
He told me the reason he was fearful was that he might not have access to the Eucharist; he did not say he was afraid of cold, hunger or death. He did not say he was fearful to leave his parish behind with its programs and goals and plans.
But almost crying, he shared with me, ‘I will not be able to survive without the Eucharist.’ Before, of course, the Eucharist was a part of his daily life, but he was not aware of how much he needed the gift of the Eucharist in his life. Thanks to the Lord, he is now able to remain in his parish.
I do have a seminarian in my diocese who was fighting in the front lines of the war. When I met him when he returned, I met a different person than I knew seven months before. He had experienced a lot, including internal suffering and trauma.
Other troops and soldiers upon learning he was a seminarian, used to come to him as they would a chaplain, as there were no other clergy available at the moment. They asked him difficult questions, which he could not find an answer for. There were many moments of frustration for him when he wanted to minister to the people around him, but he couldn’t find the right answers.
But one day the good Lord gave him and his brothers a particular gift While fighting and then freeing a village, they came across a Catholic chapel; of course, it was plundered, nonetheless. Also, there was a tabernacle in this church that had been destroyed, but still contained the Blessed Sacrament.
He called the bishop asking what to do and asking for permission to consume the blessed sacrament. The permission was granted, and also to distribute among those who believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
With great love, he was able to exercise his ministry as an acolyte to the people with him. It was at a time which became most difficult that the Lord God entered into that situation and granted them that blessing.
I share with you these two examples so this moment of adoration may bring within us two questions: Do I love the Lord Jesus so much that I might cry if I do not have access to Him in the Eucharist? Do I realize that at this very moment I also participate in the Last Supper, and tomorrow the church will work anew?
Just as the disciples of Christ had, after that particular experience of the Last Supper, to go out and look for Jesus, am I ready to do the same, am I ready to go out and look for Jesus myself? Not to have Jesus as if he was on a shelf, but truly go after Him and look for Him in my life.
God gives Himself abundantly to those who search for Him. Amen.