Statement from our Bishop, Most Rev. Kurt Burnette
on the Invasion and Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine *
February 26, 2022
Glory to Jesus Christ!
My dear friends in the Faith,
As everyone else, I am horrified and sorrowful about the brutal invasion of the Ukrainian nation. Many people in our church, including our newest clergy, have immediate family in bomb shelters in the most dangerous cities right now, not knowing if they will live to see tomorrow. The invasion brings back memories, even recent memories of the soviet persecution of the Church and of all society just thirty years ago. Countless people were murdered or sent to Siberia simply for worshipping God, or for being perceived as a political threat to someone in power.
Many of our clergy have family now in the most dangerous parts, hiding in underground shelters as the invaders bomb residential structures and even children’s hospitals.
I love Russia and my many dear Russian friends, yet I do not have any illusions about what an occupation is like under the current government in the Kremlin.
What can we do to help immediately with the situation in Ukraine? The most important thing to do is repent and pray. Go to confession. Fast this Lent. Ask God for mercy. As Jesus said, “First take the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
In his Epistle, St. James says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, ‘Go in peace. Stay warm and well fed,‘ but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that? So faith without works is dead.” James 2:17-18.
How can we help with the physical needs? With the consent of the consultors, I have already sent 53,000.00 euro (a little over $61,000.00) which was 50,000 euro from our Bishop Appeal and 3,000.00 euro from one of our parishes. I spoke to our bishop there on the phone today. He and the priests are preparing for refugees, buying food, medicine, and sleeping bags, and so on. They are preparing our seminary there as a refugee center as well. I am sending additional money that some parishes are offering.
In addition, our Metropolitan Archbishop William Skurla has asked that we take a collection on the third Sunday of Lent. That money will be sent there to care for refugees, and indeed all of the people there who will suffer soon from the destruction of the society by war.
While we do what we can here, it doesn’t seem like enough. However, the people there have asked us to pray, and they say that our prayers and support mean so very much to them.
In humility and with prostrations we cry out, through the prayers of the Mother of God, O Christ our True God have mercy on us!
Bishop Kurt Burnette
Do you wish to send money to help refugees? It is difficult to know whom to trust. Our Eparchy of Passaic can send money directly to our bishop in eastern Europe who is helping refugees right now. We know where that money goes, and we trust the people who are using it. You may send a check to our office, made out to “Eparchy of Passaic” with “refugees” in the memo. Mail the check to Eparchy of Passaic–refugees,
445 Lackawanna Ave, Woodland Park, New Jersey, 07424. You will receive a tax letter at the end of the year as for Bishop Appeal.
** Statement as posted on the official website of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic
COVID-19 Evolving Practices
Parishioners are encouraged to use discretion when high incidence of COVID 19 cases are present locally in the community and to personally evaluate precautions needed for their own personal safety or that of their family and others. Please follow the guidance that is present at our individual parishes.
Guidance for Parishes of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic: Issued May 26, 2021
Our Bishop has issued a revision to pandemic guidelines in the statement that follows. As levels of COVID-19 infections change, government authorities and associated healthcare agencies are lifting many of the strict restrictions that have been in place over the past year. However, it should be noted many advisements remain in place for continued practice and prevention. Most are standard healthcare measures that in normal circumstances are common sense or social norms.
Beginning Friday, May 28, people in the congregation are not required to wear a mask. People are free to wear a mask for personal protection or as a courtesy to the vulnerable.
Beginning on Saturday, June 5, the dispensation from attending the Divine Liturgy in person is revoked within the Eparchy of Passaic. Watching a livestream does not fulfill the obligation to attend the celebration of the Eucharist.
Just as before the pandemic, the faithful may be relieved of the obligation for a serious reason with examples listed below.