The phone call caught Fr Bohdan Danylo by surprise when he was named by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio on Thursday, August 7.
“I got the phone call and the rest was history. I hope that I will be able to fulfill this new task that the Holy Father is asking of me,” he told Vatican Radio in an interview.
The Eparchy of St. Josaphat is one of four Ukrainian Catholic dioceses in the US, which has parishes from Ohio to as far south as Florida.
Listen to the report by Andrew Summerson:
Bishop-elect Danylo outlined the priorities of his episcopal ministry of the eparchy in two steps: to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ and to bring the Lord close to the people of God.
When asked about the state of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States, Bishop-elect Danylo explained the Ukrainian Catholic Church is experiencing a new spring time in places where there is a large influx of new Ukrainian immigrants.
The bishop-elect is hopeful for even more growth within the Ukrainian Church in the US, which he said requires that we stop considering the Church as a building, but as a community of people, willed by God, where we meet the living Christ.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church in America has continued to provide both spiritual and material support for Ukraine during this time of crisis. Charitable organizations set up by the Church have been sending aid, Bishop-elect Danylo said. He also noted the strong presence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine among the military chaplaincy.
At 43 years old, Bishop-elect Danylo will become the US’ youngest bishop and take possession of the longest vacant see in the United States. When asked about how he feels about his age, he quoted Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, former head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, on the election of now Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the Church’s current leader, “Do not worry; the time of each day will be working against him!” The Bishop-elect hopes to grow in wisdom day by day to be able to fulfill the duties of his ministry.
In his final words, Bishop-elect Danylo urged everyone to go to their local Church, where God is waiting for each one of us, whether we were in Church yesterday or ten years ago. In particular he asked everyone to consider going to an Eastern Church, a treasure of the Catholic Church ready to be shared with the world.