Rome (cruxnow.com) - On March 27-31 some 22 bishops from Canada were in Rome participating in the semi-regular visits to Rome the world’s bishops pay every five years, to meet with the pope and all the offices of the Roman curia.

“The very first words [Pope Francis] said to us were ‘I understand that being a bishop is a very difficult task, and I want to thank you, and I want you to share with me what you’re experiencing in your homes, and allow me to talk to you as a pastor’,” said Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia.

Nowakowski spoke at length with Crux about their meeting with Francis on Monday 27, after celebrating Mass on the tomb of St. Peter, in St. Peter’s Basilica. Among the issues they spoke about with the pope during their 2.5-hour encounter was the youth, Canada’s assisted suicide bill, and sinodality.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest of the 22 Eastern churches in communion with Rome, and has a large membership in Canada, where many people went after leaving Ukraine.

Talking on March 30, Nowakowski also spoke about the “blessings” and “many challenges” of having married priests, something the Ukrainian church has had for centuries, in response to comments recently made by Pope Francis on this regard.

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