Oleh from Ukraine
About Oleh from Ukraine
Roman Catholic Seminarian
Asked by his rector to attend the LCI program, Oleh didn’t know much about Gaming, but was pleasantly surprised when he arrived. “For me, everything is a surprise, it’s new, it’s an adventure. I thought maybe it was only a language program, but now I see it is so much more. It is good.” As a young man approaching ordination, Oleh brings vitality and theological experience to the LCI program. Though he has already received theological formation in seminary, he finds it important to continue to take classes in theology and catechism to refresh what he already knows, to learn the concepts in English, and as he says: “You can always learn something new. You can never say you know everything.” In addition, gaining proficiency in the English language will also be useful to him in his diocese in the future.
But the transition wasn’t always easy. This is Oleh’s first time in Austria, and being in an unusual and diverse community was a major culture shock. He laughs: “Oh yes, everything was a culture shock. For me, it’s funny. I am a young man, so for me, everything is interesting.” The American students have all taken to Oleh’s energy, faith, and openness, and he can often be found talking to one or more of them.
Oleh is a “cradle Catholic”, and was raised in the Church even though his father is Orthodox (his mother and siblings are Catholic as well). Catholics comprise a minority in Ukraine (most are Orthodox), and while during the week churches are not so full, there is still a great majority of Catholics who attend Sunday Mass. Oleh is impressed with the faith community in the Kartause, and notes: “Here the young people have a kind of faith that I have not met before.” This is something he values and hopes to inspire in his future work. He sees this as a lasting gift he’ll take with him, as well as new friends, good memories, and the adventure of a lifetime.