PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis on November 15 accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, presented by Bishop John Bura.
Bishop Bura, who reached the canonical retirement age of 75 in June, submitted his resignation pursuant to the provisions of Canon 210 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States commented “Bishop John is a kind and noble man who has served God, the Church and the community-at-large with dedication, both as a priest and as a bishop. Throughout a life that began in great danger and hardship he remained faithful. In my first months of service Bishop John has been for me a most valuable and reliable guide for understanding the pastoral history and current issues of our archeparchy. On behalf of our Auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy, our clergy, religious and faithful, our prayers are that the Lord will grant him good health and longevity in retirement as he begins this new chapter in his life.”
Bishop John was nominated on January 3, 2006, as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia by Pope Benedict XVI upon the recommendation of the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops.
He was ordained a bishop by Cardinal Lubomyr Husar on February 21, 2006, in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia. The principal co-consecrators were Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia and Bishop Michael Kuchmiak, CSsR. of Great Britain.
Bishop John was named the apostolic administrator of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma on July 29, 2009, and served in that capacity until 2014, when Bishop Bohdan Danylo was named bishop of that eparchy.
Bishop Bura was born to Hryhoriy and Maria Bura on June 12, 1944, in Wegeleben, Germany. His parents were refugees on the move from Ukraine, who like hundreds of thousands of their countrymen where caught between the genocidal policies of the Nazis and Soviets. They were forced from their home in the midst of World War II. Bishop John’s childhood was marked by devastation and displacement. Yet, throughout his life he was a man of serenity. In 1950, his family moved to the United States and settled in Jersey City, N.J.
After completing elementary and middle school, he entered St. Basil Minor Seminary in Stamford, Conn. From 1965 to 1970 he studied theology at The Catholic University of America and resided at St. Josaphat Seminary in Washington. He was ordained to the priesthood on February 14, 1971, for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia by Metropolitan Ambrose Senyshyn, OSBM.
Following ordination, he served in various administrative positions, including as teacher of religion and the Ukrainian language and vice-rector of St. Basil Minor Seminary in Stamford and rector of St. Josaphat Seminary in Washington.
Some of his pastoral assignments included St. Michael’s Church, Shenandoah, Pa.; Holy Ghost Church, Chester, Pa.; and St. Nicholas Church, Wilmington, Del.
While he was serving as pastor in Shenandoah, home of the first Ukrainian Catholic parish in the United States, on Easter Monday, April 7, 1980, the landmark church and adjacent rectory were destroyed by a devastating fire. As a young priest, Bishop John provided the fatherly compassion to guide the parish family through this tragedy and provided the leadership for the rebuilding task. On November 27, 1983, the blessing of the cornerstone and first divine liturgy were held in the newly constructed church.
The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia includes the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, and has a total Catholic population of 13,944.