Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Very Rev. Fathers, Rev. Fathers, Administrators, and Deacons,
I am writing to you on behalf of our new Metropolitan Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, brother Bishops Bohdan Danylo of Parma and Paul Chomnycky of Stamford. In preparation for the upcoming Ukrainian Catholic Church Sobor – Council on the theme “Immigration, Settlements and Unity of the Church,” August 26 – 29, 2020 in Lviv, Ukraine, we are implementing a very important sociological study of the Ukrainian faithful in the United States. The goal of the study is to determine the reasons why Ukrainian Catholic immigrants, starting from the late 1890’s, built, developed and sustained communities in the US. Presently, at the beginning of the Twenty-First century, our Church communities in the United States are comprised of Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians who wish to pray in the Ukrainian-Byzantine tradition.
Similar studies were conducted among new immigrants in France and are currently underway in Poland, where in recent years over 2 million Ukrainians have migrated in search for work and a better life. In addition, CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) conducted a similar study among the Roman Catholics entitled “Going, Going, Gone,” asking why youth ages 17-25 are leaving the Church (see: www.catholicresearch.smp.org). These findings have helped the Church to respond to the needs of today’s youth in the Church.
Our sociological study will begin this August. Eight professors from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Department of Sociology (who conducted the Paris and Polish studies mentioned above) are arriving in Chicago to begin this research project, where they will administer questionnaire type surveys at Uketoberfest (August 10-11) and Ukrainian Days (August 24-25). In addition, individual in-depth interviews will be conducted in Chicago from August 13-27. Some of the professors will travel to New York, Pittsburgh and Tucson metropolitan areas to conduct interviews there. These regions represent both established communities of all generations of Ukrainians as well as new non-Ukrainian members. The average interview will take approximately two hours and we hope to conduct at least 20 + interviews at each of the locations. This will give us solid data to study and analyze. We wish to ask the following questions: why have they remained in our communities or left our communities; what are the reasons, why are non-Ukrainians attracted to our communities, how can we better serve our faithful?
In order to effectively conduct such a large-scale study, the researchers from Lviv are in need of our cooperation and assistance. I am asking all Eparchial Committees and Pastors to assist them by communicating the importance of this study to their parishioners and all parish organizations. We need people to not only take the survey themselves, but to assist at Uketoberfest and Ukrainian Days by directing attendees at the festivals to take the survey at the study kiosk. We need to complete at least 200 surveys encompassing the following categories: ages 14 years old and older; as many generations within the third and fourth waves of immigration; those who identify with and attend UGCC Divine Liturgies; those who were raised in the UGCC but no longer identify with the UGCC; individuals of non-Ukrainian heritage who have joined or regularly participate in our Church. We will also need to schedule in depth interviews of persons within each of these categories. I ask the Committee for the Faithful to take a primary role in organizing individuals to walk around each of these festivals and directing attendees to the survey tent. Also, if pastors or parishioners know of anyone who was raised in the UGCC, but is no longer affiliated with our Church, to please contact them and ask them to consider participating in the in depth interview, which can be scheduled at the survey tents during the festivals, by calling the rectory, or contacting Dr. Donna Dobrowolsky (847-791-9321; [email protected]). All the surveys and interviews are highly confidential. I ask that this information be announced at the Sunday Divine Liturgies and that this letter to be included in your parish Sunday bulletin.
I thank everyone in advance for participating in this sociological research project. I trust that this study will be beneficial not only to the Church but also to other institutions serving our Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian communities.
Thank you and God Bless,
MOST REVEREND BENEDICT (ALEKSIYCHUK)