Head of Ukrainian Catholic Church visits Jamaica Plain parish

The parish church dedicated to Christ the King sits on a hill in Jamaica Plain with vistas and views of Boston’s Moss Hill and the Arboretum and with Franklin Park as its southern neighbor. Started in 1907 to serve the Ukrainian Catholic population of Boston and surrounding areas the parish continues to serve American born Catholics of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and a growing number of newly arrived immigrants from the Ukraine.

Their “father” and Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, MSU, preached at Evening Prayer at the Forest Hills parish on Aug. 19 in a packed church. The principal celebrant of the service was the Eparch of Stamford, Bishop Basil Losten.

The stop at the Boston parish was part of the extended visit of the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church to the United States and specifically to Bishop Basil’s eparchy, which encompasses New York and New England.

Among those attending was a large number of young parents with their infants and children. Occasionally a whisper could be heard mostly in Ukrainian as a parent tried to calm a restless child.

Cardinal Husar preached to an attentive assembly in both Ukrainian and English.

Born in the Ukraine in 1933, Cardinal Husar and his family moved to the United States in 1944. He was ordained a priest in 1958 after studies at St. Basil College, Stamford, Conn. and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed post graduate work in philosophy at Fordham University and in theology at the Pontifical Urban University.

He served in several pastoral and educational assignments in the United States before becoming a monk at the “Studiti” monastery in Grittaferrata, Italy.

He was ordained a bishop on April 2, 1977, and served as auxiliary at the headquarters of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lviv, Ukraiane from 1996-1999. Pope John Paul II named him apostolic administrator of the major archdiocese of Lviv Dec. 23, 2000 and he was elected major archbishop (head of the church) on Jan. 25, 2001. The Holy Father also named him to the College of Cardinals at the consistory that year and gave him the cardinal’s red on Feb. 21, 2001.

In addition to working aggressively to build up the faith of the Ukrainian Catholic community in his homeland and in the communities across the globe to which members of the church have scattered, he is also building a new Cathedral for the Church and part of his pastoral visit is to raise both awareness and money for that project.

Among the guests in attendance was Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley whom the cardinal thanked not only for his presence but also for his support of the Ukrainian Catholic community. That support, the cardinal noted, extends back many years and to several of the archbishop’s predecessors.

After the Evening Prayer the cardinal, Bishop Basil and the other clergy of the eparchy lingered on parish grounds for a reception and face to face meetings between the “father” of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and his American children.