Fr. Vitaliy from Ukraine

About Fr. Vitaliy from Ukraine

LCI 2010-2011 | Greek Catholic Priest

Fr. Vitaliy was born in Ukraine in 1976. At that time, Baptisms were forbidden, and so he was baptized secretly in the parish sacristy when he was a baby. He attended church until he was six years old. Around that time, a teacher informed his class that people had been to outer space, and saw that there was no God. From that time until 1992, Vitaliy was atheist. His re-version to the Faith was a slow process, and began with an invitation from a friend. Very quickly he became interested in pursuing the priesthood, and in 1994 went to spend some time in a monastery in Poland. From there began many years of formation and study in Ukraine as well as Austria. Fr. Vitaliy was ordained in August of 2014, and now joyfully serves in many ways inhis diocese.

When speaking about his year at LCI, Fr. Vitaliy says, “This is certainly one of the best years of my life. It was like another world – and it opened the world to me, the richness of cultures and nations. And here, I can really say that I found God. I had time for prayer, to grow in spirituality. I became stronger in my spirit, and I saw that I could go and bring this joy of Christian life to people.” He notes the importance of English as a way to build bridges. “Because I know English, I can help others come to discover the beauty of Ukraine.” He fondly remembers life with the young American Catholics, as well as the other LCI students, and said that this was his first real experience of family life – an international family! Fr. Vitaliy recalls the openness of the teachers, the spiritual atmosphere, and the life of prayer as things that stay with him.

“I think God wants this program. I know I am a different priest because of this year. Many of my parishioners remark that my preaching is different than the others. I think this is because I went out and experienced the life of other Catholics.” Now, Fr. Vitaliy wears many hats: he serves in the local parish; he assists at the Bishop’s court of Canon Law; he is a teacher in the seminary; he helps with pre-Cana; and he is the spiritual director for the youth chastity movement “True Love Waits”. It’s in thinking of his year at LCI, the classes, the prayer, the social activities, the shared meals, he says: “When I remember LCI, I feel that I have a power to work – again and again and again, and to not grow tired.”