The following letter was presented to Giovanni Mariani, the Apostolic Delegate to Venezuela, by the representatives of the Ukrainian Catholic community in Venezuela during an audience concerning the Vatican suspension of Fr. Zenon Chruszcz. A similar memorandum was also given to the Archbishop of Caracas. The letter is reprinted here in an English translation.
Caracas, April 22, 1976
Mons. Dr. Giovanni Mariani
Apostolic Nuncio, Venezuela Ave. La Salle
Urb. Los Caobos Caracas
We the representatives of the Ukrainian Catholic Community of Venezuela, address your Excellency in order to inform you of a sad bit of news which profoundly effected us.
The news in question appeared recently in the Caracas press and indicated that Fr. Zenon Chruszcz was suspended from his priestly duties.
The source of this news appears to be the Vatican City.
This news was a great surprise to us and left us in a stupor since Father Chruszcz was recently ordained a priest by his Eminence, Josef Cardinal Slipyj, confessor of the Catholic Faith, who, after 18 years of imprisonment in Soviet concentration camps, was liberated by the influence of His Holiness Pope John XXIII.
The suspension of the priestly duties of Fr. Zenon Chruszcz causes a desperate situation because for seven years after the sickness and death of our parish priest, the Ukrainian Catholic Community of the Eastern Rite is without a priest.
We have made innumerable attempts to obtain a priest but lamentably all were in vain. We have made contact with the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite in the United States of North America, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Rome. We know that the Archbishop of Caracas directed himself to this matter at the Sacred Congregation for Eastern Churches, but without any result. Finally, our parish priest’s son decided to follow the calling of the priestly vocation.
For such a purpose he moved to Rome where he completed his theological studies, the beginnings of which were imparted by his now deceased father.
The Ukrainian Catholic Community collectively paid for the expenses of the trip and his stay in Rome with the faith and hope of being able to once again have a Catholic priest of the Byzantine Rite in order to avoid that faithful Catholic Ukrainians in Venezuela should choose non-Catholic churches. Unfortunately, these events have already occurred and we know that non-Catholic priests have given the Sacrament of Marriage and effected the burials of our faithful.
By continuing our community without a Catholic priest, we would run the risk of losing for the Catholic Church each day a large number of faithful Ukrainian Catholics.
With this motive, we direct ourselves to Your Excellency in order to beseech you to intervene before the Ecclesiastical Authorities who are competent for resolving this situation favorably.
We ask your prayers for us and for our suffering Church and we ask your blessing.
For The Catholic Ukrainian Community
Josefina de Krol
Ing. Roman Lubinsky