Washington shrine set to begin final stages of construction in 1999
WASHINGTON - The Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family is set to begin the final stages of construction in early 1999. This timetable will meet the goal of completing the shrine for the year 2000.
Throughout the years numerous benefactors, both individuals and groups, have sustained the dream of a national shrine through their generous contributions. The Rev. Thaddeus Krawchuk, who recently returned to head the shrine, said he is very grateful to all who have sacrificed to make the shrine a reality. He noted that the supporters are building a fitting symbol of the Ukrainian Catholic faith in the nation's capital, thereby emphasizing the strength of our community and the role of Ukrainian Americans in American society.
In addition, the shrine is a symbol of the unity and sanctity of the family and its central role in the Christian faith during these troubled times. This distinguishes the shrine as the only national shrine in the United States dedicated to the Holy Family. "As such, we have a unique role," claimed the Rev. Krawchuk. "We serve as a reminder of the importance of family life in Ukrainian culture and the sanctity of life. We are also a beacon to all Catholic faithful for devotion to the Holy Family and the values, strength and spirituality that it symbolizes."
The importance of the shrine was noted by Pope John Paul II when he blessed the cornerstone in 1979. Furthermore, the Pope John Paul II Center will be located just a few steps from the shrine.
"We are at an important juncture," said the Rev. Krawchuk. "We can rightly take our place in the Catholic faith with a national shrine that emphasizes our unique cultural roots and traditions, and yet stands as a fitting symbol to all of the importance of the role and spirituality of the Holy Family. I know that our benefactors have been generous in the past, and I am very grateful for that support. But I ask that you extend your support at this crucial time and help us fulfill this dream for ourselves, our children, and our faith."
The Rev. Krawchuk noted that the shrine is not only a spiritual center but is fast becoming a cultural magnet. Over the past year, the Dumka Choir of New York appeared at the shrine and the shrine hosted a major photo exhibit on Ukraine. On December 11 Marlin Fitzwater, former press spokesman to Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan, spoke at the shrine.
"These activities show that the shrine is quickly taking its place as a leading cultural center for Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian events," noted the Rev. Krawchuk. "In this manner the shrine is helping to broaden awareness of the Ukrainian faith and culture. This is important for all Ukrainians throughout the United States and beyond and is one of the reasons the shrine should be supported," he added.
Donations to help in the final stages of construction of the national shrine can be mailed to: Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family Building Fund, 4250 Harewood Road NE, Washington, DC 20017-1594. The Rev. Krawchuk noted that all donors will be remembered in the shrine's prayers.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, January 3, 1999, No. 1, Vol. LXVII
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