Fr. George “Yuri” Kuzara, C.PP.S.
Fr. George “Yuri” Kuzara, C.PP.S., is in ministry at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio. Having biritual faculties for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, he brings to the Community a unique view of Precious Blood spirituality, as seen through the lens of the Eastern Church.
When the Jubilee Year of Mercy was first announced, what was your reaction?
I was thrilled. My first thoughts were:
• They shall look upon him whom they have pierced through and from his side came forth blood and water.
• The Precious Blood of Christ is the stream of mercy. What a wonderful opportunity for us to spread devotion to the life-giving and Precious Blood of Christ!
• Praying before the original image of the Divine Mercy in Poland while Faustina was still Blessed Faustina and kissing her relics and the joy that flooded my soul.
• The joy on the day Faustina was declared a saint.
• The time as a young boy I asked my dad if we could get a picture of Jesus like his sister, my aunt, had. It was of the Divine Mercy, but Dad said no because the Church had not approved of it yet. He asked me why I wanted it, and I said because Jesus’ face was so beautiful and inviting.
• A bit of sadness when I read the bull announcing the year of mercy because Pope Francis said nothing about the Precious Blood.
All of this resonated with me because of my favorite quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem on the Precious Blood: “The Precious Blood of Christ is the symbol of God’s justice and loving kindness toward us. It is the symbol and basis of our hope; the source of our life” and the cause of our joy. I added the phrase, “the cause of our joy,” because mercy brings so much happiness and joyful peace to the soul.
How do you see yourself celebrating/participating in the Jubilee Year of Mercy?
I am celebrating the Year of Mercy by:
• Encouraging others and myself to practice the spiritual works of mercy. The physical works of mercy are easy to do, and in my opinion the spiritual works are often neglected.
• Reading and meditating on the Diary of St. Faustina, especially what she wrote about priests confessing people.
• By performing “secret” works of mercy.
As a Missionary of Mercy, how do you see Precious Blood spirituality fitting into this?
The Precious Blood of Christ is precious and life-giving because it is the stream of mercy and without it there is no mercy, life, hope, freedom or joy given to the human race. Precious Blood spirituality offers for me a great treasury of wealth from which to draw upon to encourage others to immerse themselves in the Blood of Christ to be transformed and to foster the grace of ongoing conversion in their lives. To understand and experience this stream of mercy, the Precious Blood, is life-giving and life-transforming. Also, devotion to the Divine Mercy leads to and has its end in devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ.
For me to accomplish this, I must prepare good homilies on the attributes of Divine Mercy gathered from the Litany to the Divine Mercy as well as from the Litany of the Precious Blood and the writings of the Eastern Fathers on the Precious Blood and other spiritual writers of the East on the mercy of Christ; especially the Jesus Prayer; the gift of compunction from the Holy Spirit—the Gift of Tears; the spirituality of St. Simenon the New Theologian, and St. Maximus the Confessor; especially St. Gaspar and drawing a little bit from the Russian spirituality and those saints known as Fools of Christ.
Many pilgrims come to the shrine bearing troubles and heartaches. What does a day at the shrine—and your ministry there—offer them in terms of God’s mercy?
My days at the shrine and my ministry here is one of celebrating Mass and the hearing of many confessions and doing the sacristy laundry. Yes, and even in doing the sacristy laundry there is afforded to me the opportunity to apply the merits of the Precious Blood for or to various people and situations for which I have been asked to pray. In the administrating of the holy sacrament of confession, I have experienced the truth of what St. Faustina was told by Christ: that in this sacrament the greatest miracles occur. On this I cannot say more.
I have chosen to live a quiet, hidden life here at the shrine, being devoted to prayer, especially that the grace of conversion through the Precious Blood of Christ be granted to many souls and, if persons wish, to give spiritual direction.
With all that I possess, with all my heart and soul, I firmly believe it is through the Precious Blood of Jesus, the stream of mercy, that each person coming to Christ with a sincere and open heart is given the peace and joy they are seeking.
I see myself as just an old pipe or conduit, hidden under the earth or tucked away in a dark place where no one takes notice of, that Christ is using to let his Precious Blood flow out to others from this miserable creature created in His image and likeness whom He has called to the priesthood, for reasons only known to Him, to touch the hearts and souls of those He directs to me. I always keep before my mind that I am nothing, a miserable sinner so much too in need of His mercy. This prayer is ever on my lips: O God, be merciful to me, a sinner! O God, cleanse me of all of my sins and have mercy on me for I have sinned without number, O Lord, and have mercy on me.