Last week, throughout all of Ukraine, events were held to mark the annual Social Days of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Kyiv Arch Eparchy held events in two locations—Kyiv and Zhytomyr. Human dignity was a major theme during this year’s Social Days. “People are valuable in and of themselves and so have the right to be treated with dignity and respect,” say event organizers.
Social Days of the UGCC [earlier called Social Week of the UGCC] is an open platform which unites members of the UGCC, other churches and groups, and everyone who has a good heart. This is the first attempt, in the post soviet environment, at engaging representatives of religious and non-religious organizations in public discourses on the local and national levels.
As part of the Zhytomyr celebration of Social Days, local Christians visited an institution for special needs children. After a short evening program and sing-a-long each child received a warm smile, kind word, and a delicious chocolate. This event was funded by Caritas Kyiv and Kraft Foods.
His Beatitude Cardinal Lyubomyr Huzar also visited Zhytomyr. He took part in the recording of a television program at a local station and then met with the faithful of Zhytomyr. The hall was packed because the faithful are well aware of His wisdom and spirituality. Zhytomyr residents received answers to many of the questions that have plagued them.
“We talk a lot about human dignity but don’t truly understand what it means. Dignity is a gift from God, it is a part of our nature,” Bishop Lyubomyr said about human dignity. “God gave us life, talents, and called on each of us to do good. And in this lies human dignity.”
In order for the seed of dignity to sprout in our souls, we need to pick a sound path for life. Bishop Lyubomyr explained how to find it: “When the day comes to an end, before we succumb to sleep, each of us should pause to think of what God did for us that day specifically: what possibilities did he give me so that I could do good?
Then we need to put one more question to ourselves: How did I utilize these gifts from God—what good did I do today for myself or for others?” Each person should understand that they are on this earth not to satisfy their every whim, but to do good, and that each person must be responsible for every one of their actions. Bishop Lyubomyr believes that only then can human dignity blossom and build with it civil society.
After his meeting with the faithful, Bishop Lyubomyr visited the Roman Catholic Cathedral where he had a warm meeting with Bishop Yan Purvins’kyy.
Social Days of the UGCC came to an end in Zhytomyr with a prayer designed to remember the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. The following day the Zhytomyr UGCC spiritual community participated in a seminar at the Zhytomyr Institute for Nursing on the topic of: Developing Palliative and Hospice Care in Ukraine.
Organizers report that “Social Days will continue in Zhytomyr through 14 November. Father Ihor Boyko will meet with medical professionals in Zhytomyr and conduct a seminar on the topic of: Problems of Human Dignity in Contemporary Medicine.”