Why are there no parishes for that surplus of priests?
There have been some mission parishes set up but it is not an easy thing to do. Who will pay the priests? The UOC-USA has very limited funds to help. We are not a wealthy jurisdiction by any stretch of the word; if one saw the accommodations of some of our priests and hierarchs, one can appreciate these sacrifices. The mission parishes are of course the most non-Ukrainian in character, i.e., mixed Orthodox ethnicities and converts as well. Several of them are successful, such as Four Evangelists in Bel Air, Maryland, and I believe one in Las Cruces, N.M., come to mind. I know there was a former parish in Montana that was exploring the possibility of re-opening but they did not have enough support there to get anything started.
If those parishes are being resupplied with immigrants, where are the parishioners going?
To the cemetery, sadly, in many cases. The first wave of Ukrainian immigration (ca. 1890-1920) is long deceased and only a fraction of their descendants, now in the fourth and fifth generations, still identify with Orthodoxy, because when the third generation (generally) came of age in the '50s and '60s, the church was still very much in an exclusive "cultural traditions" mode, and these grandchildren of the immigrants could not understand the language of the liturgy. Many of them married non-Ukrainian or even non-Orthodox people and joined their spouse's church.
The second wave of immigrants, who came after WWII and many of whom were displaced persons who had either been workers in Germany during the war or otherwise ended up in refugee camps when they were fleeing the resurrection of Soviet power in Ukraine after 1944 when the Nazis were pushed out, is far more patriotic than the first wave. The first wave came here to work and make money and, in fact, probably two-thirds of them actually went back to Ukraine during the years between WWI and WWII with their money to buy a farm. (I know one third-waver whose grandfather was a first-waver who went back like this.) Those who stayed kept up the traditions but generally considered America their home. The second wave generally were forced to leave Ukraine so it is they who really sought to preserve the culture here so that it would not be lost there, and used the parishes (as well as other Ukrainian organizations, such as Plast, the Ukrainian scouting organization in the Americas and other groups such as the Ukrainian National Association, Ukrainian-American newspapers such as "Svoboda" and the "Ukrainian Weekly," the Ukrainian camps for youth, etc.) to keep it going. Because of the effort placed on Ukrainian-language and cultural education, the second generation of this wave was often as patriotic, if not more patriotic, than the first. But the third generation may or may not be, depending on the family.
The new wave of immigration, since the break up of the USSR, is what is going on now. These people are coming here for better economic opportunity, like the first wave. But unlike the first wave, technology enables them to connect to Ukrainian culture so they can watch Ukrainian news, listen to Ukrainian music, travel back home on a regular basis, etc. Ukraine is in terrible shape today, as I've posted on other threads here, because of the way that the country is run and the lack of a rule of law there, so immigrants are coming by the tens of thousands annually. They are speakers of Ukrainian and Russian, but most lean toward the former. They are generally not as nationalistic as the second-wavers, but they are, of course, native-born Ukrainians who are most comfortable with their native language and culture, especially in the cities. And so we are training dozens of priests who are also immigrants of this sort, who have come here essentially out of high school to be trained for the priesthood in our churches.
It has only been in the past 20-30 years or so that many of our parishes have begun to integrate English language into the services. Some are nearly all English, and some are nearly all Ukrainian. Most are somewhere in between. The all English parishes are best at receiving non-Ukrainian converts. The mixed parishes are doing much better than they used to at retaining people who marry outside of the Ukrainian ethnicity and adding converts. But the total membership has declined considerably from its peak perhaps 40 or 50 years ago, because of the phenomenon of what happened to the first-wavers' grandchildren. The new immigration, which is exceedingly robust, has strengthened a lot of parishes. But this too has to be balanced because these new immigrants are not as religious as their predecessors and may only show up for holidays. One of the problems is educating them that the government does not pay the priests as it does back home, and that it is necessary for them to support their church with their time, talents, and gifts. The mixed parishes are sometimes hard because you have new immigrants, patriotic second-wavers, legacy first-wavers, and American converts all together in one parish, and they have very different pastoral needs in some cases. One needs a very wise priest to keep such a parish together and keep it growing.
At our Sobor, held each three years, addresses are made in both English and Ukrainian. English has predominated but some of the speakers, particularly those who are immigrants, will rise to address the body in Ukrainian and their words will be translated into English for those who do not understand. Probably 60-70% of the Divine Liturgies served at these Sobors and similar gatherings are mostly Ukrainian language.
I love my church and her people. There are challenges but I can see firsthand the good work that is being done in some very difficult situations.