On June 14 in Kiev, the Forum “Social Service of UGCC: Current State, Challenges and Prospects” was held. The purpose of the forum was to analyze and summarize the whole experience of social service. It is used for the strategic plan of development of social service in the Church for assistance in different areas: families in crisis, people with disabilities, lonely elderly people, prisoners, homeless, IDPs, children and youth, etc.
About 90 delegates from various institutions and organizations of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church engaged in social service attended the forum. In particular, there were representatives of clergy, monastic congregations, Caritas Ukraine and local Caritas organizations from all over Ukraine.
Patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav made the opening speech. He stressed that social service is an integral part and the core of Christian spirituality. Therefore, it is important to analyze the current state of social service in Ukraine and on all continents, and to work out a common plan of its development, at least for a few years. Besides, he mentioned that deaconry, as ministry of service would be the main topic of discussion at the Synod of Bishops of UGCC, which will take place in Lviv in September. Then patriarch Sviatoslav awarded with patriarchal diplomas those who particularly contributed to the field of social service.
Then President of Caritas Ukraine Andriy Waskowycz noted that the government in his social work should use the social doctrine of the Church, it means solidarity, subsidiarity, the common good and personalism.
After the plenary session, participants actively worked in groups, and discussed such topics as growing the spirit of sacrifice, coordination, structuring, standardization and professionalization of social service in UGCC, and role of the Church in ensuring social justice. Besides, each participant of the Forum filled out a questionnaire, outlining his vision of the challenges, problems and needs of social service and offering his thoughts on the revitalization and development of social service on personal, parochial, diocesan and church levels.
Working groups summed up results of the Forum and noted the need for the next step – formation of mechanisms of communication; cooperation, and coordination of a wide range of local social initiatives and projects implemented under the care of the Church for their consolidation and increased efficiency.