On January 28, 2018, faithful gathered at the Basilica of Saint Sofia in Rome for Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head of the UGCC.
After Liturgy, the faithful awaited with anticipation the arrival of His Holiness Pope Francis. Present from the Generalate of the Order of Sisters of Saint Basil the Great were Mother Dia Stasiuk – General Superior, Sister Lydia Anna Sawka – Vicar General, Sister Mariela Rotzen – Councilor and Econome, Sister Nazariya Mykhayliuk-Councilor and Secretary, Sister Anastasia Anheluk and Sister Anasthasius Pavliuk. In addition, participating were the Basilian Sisters from the Most Holy Trinity Province in Ukraine, who minister at the Basilica of Santa Sofia or are students in Rome.
The sincerity and openness of the Holy Father during his visit revealed his true personality and character. In his address to the faithful, it was apparent that he is well acquainted with the history of the UGCC and prays for the future of its faithful. His Holiness made specific references to three deceased individuals of the UGCC, His Beatitude Yosif Slipyj, Most Reverend Stefan Chmil and the His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, all who left an unforgettable legacy of service in the Church and are symbols of God’s continued blessings upon the universal Church. His Holiness noted that their examples motivate each of us to reflect and consider the importance of our individual personal service for Christ’s Church.
The visit and words of His Holiness Pope Francis instilled deep impressions upon the hearts of those present, touching them and giving them many thoughts to reflect upon for the future.