From Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson’s blog, Deo Volente Ex Animo (http://deovolenteexanimo.blogspot.com): reprinted with the Archbishop’s permission
THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY!
Archbishop Gullickson is Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, and a native of Sioux Falls, SD
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
At the end of Holy Mass this morning, I experienced a powerful sense of gratitude because of two things: that I find myself living here in Ukraine and that I could arrange my chapel for celebrating the Eucharist ad Orientem. Some might rather suspect a case of spring fever aggravated by the fact that there is bright sunlight now at Mass time in the morning again after a very long and dark winter. But I give you no hearing and no choice; I will simply insist that my elation can only be explained by accepting my two reasons.
When it comes to established Churches and their houses of worship, Ukraine is by and large Byzantine and hence oriented. Even if walking about town here in Kyiv my inner compass tries to convince me I am walking north, I can be confident that if a church building is Byzantine, whether Catholic or Orthodox, then the apse of that building is to the east. Everyone at Divine Liturgy, Catholic or Orthodox, prays facing east. Even though our house isn’t exactly oriented and the chapel conforms to the house plan, my liturgical east is not far from due east as the bird flies. In my chapel we pray the Eucharistic Prayer facing together the Dawn from on High, Who came to save us and will come again on the clouds of heaven, to judge the living and the dead. He will come from the east.
Maybe you have to live in Ukraine to get excited positively about such. That’s why I guess I say for ad Orientem and for my greater context in a Byzantine world, Deo gratias! Maybe this particular elation simply comes from “having my bearings”. If that is the case, then I wish it to you all: that you might find your bearings and find yourself inserted in something greater than just the cosmic flow which it is, greater than turning to Mecca or Jerusalem. Turning to the East, Who is our Risen Lord! Alleluia!
I guess I could feel this year’s disjuncture over a disparity of 5 weeks in our date for Easter, but at least for this morning common orientation in worship has the upper hand.
About Archbishop Gullickson:
Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the Vigil of the Assumption of Our Lady, August 14, 1950 and ordained to the priesthood on June 27, 1976. He was ordained to the Episcopate at St. Joseph Cathedral in his hometown of Sioux Falls on November 11, 2004, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours. He is titular Archbishop of Bomarzo.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 1st May 1985 and has been appointed successively to the Diplomatic Missions in Rwanda, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Jerusalem, Israel and Germany.
He has a degree in Canon Law and he speaks English, Italian, French and German.
His first posting as Apostolic Nuncio was to Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of Suriname, twelve independent States in the region.
His first posting as Apostolic Delegate was to the Antilles Episcopal Conference region, comprising the English, French, with the exception of Haiti, and Dutch territories in the Caribbean, a total of twenty-two with their own governments. There are eighteen Dioceses and two Missio sui iuris, ecclesiastical entities, in the Antilles. Archbishop Gullickson is the fifth Apostolic Nuncio in this region.
On 21 May 2011, the Holy Father named him Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine.