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The Ukrainian Catholic Religious Education Centre: A Short History

The Ukrainian Catholic Religious Education Centre (UCREC) was established as a result of a resolution passed in 1977 by the Synod of Bishops assembled in Rome. This assembly was convoked by Pope Paul VI, of Blessed memory, to discuss catechesis and specifically that of children and young adults. The bishops returned from the Synod with a mandate to establish Religious Education Centres in their dioceses/eparchies, or jurisdictions.

In the autumn of 1977, Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk, CSsR, of the Winnipeg Archeparchy, in consultation with the Provincial Superior of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI), Sr. Justine Kowal, SSMI, appointed Sr. Christine Opalinsky, SSMI, Director of the newly created Religious Education Centre for the Archeparchy of Winnipeg.

Metropolitan Maxim and the clergy selected the God With Us (GWU) series, designed for catechesis in the Byzantine rite Churches, as the official Catechetical Programme for the Archeparchy of Winnipeg. In September of 1978, Catechist Formation Classes began at the Centre on a weekly basis for those who volunteered for the ministry of catechetical instruction of the young in the various parishes of the Archeparchy. Upon the request of Sr. Christine, Mrs. Vicky Adams was appointed by Metropolitan Maxim to assist Sr. Christine with foundational workshops promoting the GWU programme as well as in the training of catechists. The Centre’s office was located at the Chancery, except for the period 1980 to 1982, when the Audiovisual Department was administered from the convent of the Sisters Servants at 131 Aberdeen Avenue, East, to make materials available after hours.

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