April 14, 2019


Guests to the 2019 annual Spring Tea at St Basil the Great Parish in Winnipeg made their way down the long stairway into the parish hall. They were welcomed by members of the parish branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada that gratefully received donations, but also made available a series of lottery tickets as well as silent auction and '50/50' tickets. The crowd, as every year, was huge. When the hall was filled to capacity, UCWLC branch president, Mrs. Gwen Dankewych, welcomed everyone and invited parish priest, Fr. Ihor Shved, to open with a prayer. Fr. Ihor also expressed his welcome, but then honoured former longtime pastor and ever popular, Fr. Isidore Dziadyk, OSBM to give the opening blessing. Fr. Isidore, in his now expected humorous manner accepted the invitation and began the prayer, but then "payed it forward" by asked Chancellor Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski (also a former parish priest) to conclude the blessing.

There were a number of special guests, including the president of the Manitoba Provincial Council of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Mrs. Joanne Lewandosky-Kuzia, Deacon Leon Twerdun and several members of the congregation of Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate - including the Provincial Superior from Ukraine, Sr. Myroslava Yakymets, SSMI and Sr. Yeremia Vovchak, SSMI director of Home of Hope, also from Ukraine.

The guest of honour and keynote speaker was the President of the Archeparchial branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada - Mrs. Sophie Manulak. She spoke on the Catholic traditions - especially those of the Eastern Churches - regarding the veneration of the Holy Cross upon which Christ gave His life for the salvation of us all. She then performed the customary gesture of declaring the tea officially open by lighting the candles on the centrepiece table.

The food was fresh and elegantly prepared and served by a great number of young ladies all dressed in fine Ukrainian embroidery. Besides the various fun games of chance, there was a large bake sale where not a few people stocked up on their favourite baked goods for the Easter Season which was beginning in only a week's time.

The grand parish tea is an event that is not seen as often around the province. However, those parishes that still host teas - often by the local UCWLC - invariably enjoy success. Everyone likes the elegance and cheerfulness of a traditional tea and are grateful for the hours of hard work that go into preparing such a successful event!

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