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CHICAGO - With hundreds of people expected to attend an annual luncheon here to benefit the Ukrainian Catholic University, organizers of the November 12 event are looking to break last year's record effort.

Chicago supporters of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv raised a record $150,000 for the school last year, according to Oleh Karawan, chair of the Chicago Area Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University. Surpassing that milestone could prove difficult in a year when numerous Chicago-based organizations celebrate major milestones of their own, organizers said.

In addition to exceeding last year's financial success, organizers of the event have set other important goals they hope to attain, said Mr. Karawan, an executive officer of a national commercial construction company.

"What we've tried to do this year is form this committee and bring younger people into the fold so that they will eventually take over," Mr. Karawan said, referring to the creation earlier this year of the Chicago Area Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University.

The group was formed to organize and run the November 12 luncheon, which will be held at 1 p.m. in the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Chicago. Money raised at the annual luncheon will help pay for a portion of the growing university's operating cost.

In 2005 that cost was about $1.5 million, said John Kurey, president of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation, which has helped the Chicago committee organize the event.

In an effort to help pay its increasing operating cost, the UCEF began holding fundraising dinners in Chicago three years ago. Events similar to this year's planned lunch were held in previous years in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

"We need to broaden the base of support for the university," Mr. Karawan said, adding that he has tried to interest members of the Fourth Wave of Ukrainian immigrants in the cause.

In order to achieve the committee's goals, organizers of the event want to bring the university to life for Ukrainian Americans, said Andrew Browar, a member of the committee.

"I think that's part of what the committee wants to do is make it more real, have people appreciate what UCU is doing for higher education in Ukraine, for ecumenical work in Ukraine," Mr. Browar said.

With little time left until the event, the effort to raise awareness and funding for the school is needed now more than ever, Mr. Karawan said.

The school, set in the heart of Lviv, Ukraine, has undergone several physical expansions. Most recently, the Ukrainian Catholic University unveiled a 50,000-square-foot academic building. The opening of the new building increased not only the school's physical size but also its operating cost.

The new building - home to the school's department of theology and philosophy - is the latest addition to the university's expanding Center of Theological Education and Formation campus.

While organizers of the luncheon in Chicago hope to exceed last year's success, they acknowledge that doing so will be difficult. The event comes during a year packed with anniversaries and celebrations. At least half a dozen other Ukrainian-American institutions based in Chicago celebrate anniversaries this year, Mr. Karawan said.

The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art celebrated its 35th anniversary on October 7, and Saints Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral both mark major milestones this year with events of their own.

"It's very taxing financially for the community," Mr. Karawan said of the myriad celebrations.

Nonetheless, the committee's mission - to raise money and awareness for an institution that is, in effect, rebuilding education in Ukraine - has convinced it that the event should be held annually.

"Knowledge is everything; that's the key," said Chrystya Wereszczak, a member of the organizing committee.

"If Ukraine is going to make it, that's going to be number one," Mrs. Wereszczak said of education in Ukraine.

Indeed, the school's continued growth seems to indicate that supporters in the United States agree with those sentiments, that education is a valuable service in Ukraine and supporting it is a worthy cause. Contributions toward the school from supporters in the United States seem to indicate as much.

Donors from the United States have in the past two years contributed over $1 million to the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation, Mr. Kurey said. That money, in turn, is used to fund the school's operating expense.

In addition to the event in Chicago, a similar lunch is planned for Warren, Mich., on December 3. That event will feature Myrolav Marynovych, a former political prisoner, current senior vice rector of the university, and an advisor on ecumenical issues to Cardinal Lubomyr Husar.

Prior to the luncheon in Chicago - which will include a video on the university and a keynote address by Dr. Borys Gudziak, rector of the university - there will be a liturgy at 8:30 a.m. at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, followed by a liturgy at 11:30 a.m. at Saints Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Tickets for the event - located at 2247 West Chicago Ave. - are $30 per person (checks can be made out to UCEF), and donations will be accepted. Tickets may be obtained from the following address: Chicago Area Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University, c/o UCEF, 2247 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, Il 60622.

Further information about the UCU in English and Ukrainian is available on the university's website at Readers may also contact the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation by telephone at (773) 235-8462; e-mail, [email protected]; website, The phone number of the UCEF in Canada is (416) 239-2495.

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