543 - April 2014
February 26th, 2014 - March 28th, 2014

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EUROPE

A call to peace

Simferopol is the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Ukraine. As such, it has been the scene of great tension in the conflicts of late February and early March. The Auxiliary Bishop of Odessa-Simferopol is an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Bishop Jacek PYL, ordained to the episcopacy in January 2013. On 26 February 2014, Bishop Pyl released the following statement.

For many weeks now, the Roman Catholic Church has been accompanying with her prayers the whole of Ukraine, praying for the peaceful solution to the problems with which the country is struggling. In our prayers we ask God for his mercy for all Ukrainian people and we also offer voluntary fasting on bread and water for the same intention. Today, as the unrest has encompassed the Crimean territory, we want to pray especially for our peninsula. With our prayers, we reach out to all the people, regardless of their religion, political views or ethnic background. We pray that the people, who for decades have lived in peace, will not start fighting today and that the bloodshed of the kind we have seen in Kiev’s Maidan (Independence Square) may be avoided here.

I am calling on all people, both the faithful and others, that in the name of solidarity with the heritage of our Fathers, who cared for the development of our Autonomous Republic of Crimea, to avoid extremism and, in this difficult time, to not let the brotherhood among Crimean people be broken. In ARoC we have Ukrainians, Russians, Crimean Tartars, Armenians, Poles, Germans, Czechs and many others living peacefully together. For many centuries we have had the Orthodox, Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Caraims and people of other denominations, together with atheists, living in Crimea. We cannot let our ethnic background nor our religion divide us now. We are children of the same God, the only God, who is our common Father. The motto of the Republic of Crimea which is inscribed into our coat of arms is “Blooming in unity.” May these words be our motto for the difficult time now.

I would like to reach out with my words to the faithful of all denominations that they keep praying for peace, and that those who have decided to do so, continue voluntarily fasting. May the Good God free our hearts from all evil temptations and may he bless our good intentions.

+ Jacek Pyl, OMI
Auxiliary Bishop of the Odessa-Simferopol Diocese



On the edge of disaster

Since the invasion of Crimea by Russia, the news from that part of Ukraine is cause for great concern worldwide, but in particular for our Oblate family. The Auxiliary Bishop of Odessa-Simferopol is an Oblate: Bishop Jacek PYL. But the Oblates are also in charge of a parish in the Crimean city of Eupatoria (or Yevpatoriya). According to Wickipedia, “Today Yevpatoriya is a major Ukrainian Black Sea port, a rail hub, and resort town. The population swells greatly during the summer months, with many residents of northern cities visiting for beach recreation. As such, local residents are heavily employed during summer months but are often under-employed during the winter. The main industries include fishing, food processing, wine making, limestone quarrying, weaving, and the manufacture of building materials, machinery, furniture manufacturing and tourism. The National Space Agency of Ukraine has ground control and tracking facilities here.”


Panorama of Yevpatoriya

Mindful of the dangerous situation for the Oblates in Crimea but in all of Ukraine as well, on 14 March, Fr. Pavlo VYSHKOVSKY, the Delegation Superior in Ukraine, once again asks for our prayers:

In these days, people from many different countries in the world are joining together to support us in prayer and solidarity. Thank you very much for your prayers and support.

And now in Crimea, where there are Oblates in the city of Eupatoria, there is danger of war. We hope that God will help us live in peace.

Today, Father General begins his visit in Ukraine. Next week, he will guide all the Oblates of Ukraine in a retreat. We will be united with our brothers from Crimea who probably will not be able to come to the delegation house in Obukhiv for the retreat. They will remain with their people in Crimea to be with them in this difficult time, to protect them and support them.

Furthermore, the Vatican approved organization “Aiuto alla Chiesa che soffre” (Help for the suffering Church) published on 14 March an interview with Fr. Oleksandr Khalayim, who had just returned to Rome from Ukraine. In his interview, Fr. Oleksandr specifically mentions the plight of the priests in Crimea: “With regard to the referendum next Sunday for the separation of Crimea, the thought of Fr. Oleksandr goes to the eight priests working in the disputed peninsula. ‘It was not possible to send them anything, not even medicine. There are many checkpoints on the streets and flights from Kiev to Simferopol and Sevastopol have been canceled. Both cities can be reached only from Moscow.” In addition, the local Muslim community, the Tatars, is threatening to unleash a holy war, if Crimea becomes Russian.”



Remembering Fr. Pierre Babin

The Centre for Research and Education in Communication (CREC), founded in 1971 by the late Fr. Pierre BABIN (†2012), held a special reception in his honor on 25 February, in the context of the congress of SIGNIS, a worldwide Catholic association for communicators.

Many former students of Fr. Babin were present and recalled how he had touched their lives, not only in the technical aspects of the world of media, but also with a spirituality for the era of mass communications.

A video made on this occasion can be found on YouTube at: http://goo.gl/OaoZMO.




Founder of the “Family Centre” dies

Father Luciano CUPIA, founder of the “Family Centre” died in Rome on 26 February. The psychologist and family counselor founded the Centre, with Rosalba Fanelli, in 1968. In 1976, they founded the School for Counselors.

Transparency, tolerance and tenderness. To those who knew him, those are the three big legacies that Father Luciano leaves behind: for those whose lives were interwoven with his, in the parish first, then in the Family Centre, the premarital and marriage and family counseling centre, as well as in the School for Family Counselors; and for those who carry on his insights and commitment to the service of the person and the family.

Born in Suno in the Piedmont region on 30 July, 1927, Father Luciano was ordained a priest in 1950. After teaching at the juniorate in Florence, he served in parishes, from Sicily to the Veneto. For nine years, he was pastor in Bologna, then a Scout leader and finally professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1966, he founded the Catholic Centre for Marriage Preparation, along with his confreres, Frs. Gianni COLOMBO and Victor DALLA LIBERA, inspired by the Novalis Centre at the University of Ottawa, then directed by the Oblates. In 1968, the “Family Centre” was born.

The ministry’s focus was “being of help to family relationships, individuals and couples.” Fr. Cupia himself spoke of this in 2008 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Centre: forty years, he explained, in the name of transparency, tolerance and tenderness: “Transparency, illuminating life, thought and action; tolerance, in respecting the beliefs of others, accepting others without wanting to change them; tenderness, in confident and gracious surrender to love.” (www.romasette.it)



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