Representatives from the Ecological Commission of MGCE, IERS, and IRCEF actively participated in the Youth Missionary Eco-Pilgrimage

On April 6-7, 2024, the Youth Missionary Eco-Pilgrimage “Christ is Risen – All Creation Will Rise” was held in the Mukachevo Monastery of St. Nicholas, which was joined by Mykhailo Bilanych, catechist, biologist, member of the Ecological Commission of the MGCE and biodiversity conservation expert of the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies (IERS ) and the Interreligious and Civil Environmental Forum of Eastern Europe (IRCEF). The event was organized for children and youth by the UGCC Bureau for Ecology in the Lviv Archeparchy and the National Scout Organization of Ukraine “Plast“. The eco-pilgrimage included an ecological seminar, Easter gardens, and various excursions to the sights of the Mukachevo district.

The activities were led by Father Serhiy Dovba, a reference officer of the UGCC Environmental Bureau in the Lviv Archeparchy. He was joined by seminarians of the Lviv Theological Seminary of the Holy Spirit of the UGCC, as well as active youth. The seminar began with a prayer to the Holy Spirit accompanied by guitar music. Then, in the form of a lecture, Fr. Serhiy revealed to the youth several important aspects of the issue of Responsibility for Creation. Mykhailo Bilanych mentioned during the seminar the importance of responsible waste management, the careful use of air and water resources, and the responsibility for preserving biodiversity, also known as “our smaller brothers.”

Since the Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Metropolitan of Halych, Archbishop of Lviv, the Reverend Andrey Sheptytsky, was actively involved in the development of the Plast organization in Ukraine, a separate part of the eco-seminar was dedicated to this personality. In particular, Fr. Serhiy explained that the Metropolitan already in the early twentieth century in his pastoral documents raised this important topic of caring for nature as God’s creation. At the end of the seminar, there was an open discussion with the youth about environmental preservation, concluding with a collective prayer.

Children, youth, and parishioners of St. Josaphat monastery parish in Korolevo, along with “Plast” members from Mukachevo and students from Chynadiyevo Orphanage, including Roma minority children, participated in Easter activities during the eco-pilgrimage’s second day.

The event included publications from the UGCC Environmental Bureau and an energy efficiency box, encouraging participants to explore energy-saving options. A charity fair and fundraiser was held to purchase a drone for one of the units of the #ArmedForces. Attendees also had the chance to acquire spiritual literature for both children and adults.

Tasty coffee from the monastery, delicious treats, warm conversations, children’s happiness, and smiles all combined to create a joyful atmosphere. We are grateful to the organizers for hosting such a fantastic eco-educational event for children and young people!

Informational Service of IRCEF

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