June 29, 2019


Holy Eucharist Parish in Winnipeg's Elmwood/East Kildonan area has been marking its 100th anniversary throughout the year. In fact, the parish has been contemplating its "first century" for over a year as they have been celebrating a double centenary of sorts. The parish was first established canonically and civilly in August of 1918. However, the first church was opened only in 1919. This latter date was sometimes seen by some as the more significant date and, in fact, the parish celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2009, leaning more toward the erection of the church building rather than the canonical erection of the parish itself. This time, for the centenary, they decided to spread their celebrations over a period of two years that would encompass the two significant dates.

Most events over the last two years were designated as "centenary" events to both celebrate the centenary and to raise awareness of it by both parishioners and visitors alike. The undoubted culmination of the celebrations, however, was four days of spiritual and commemorative events that were dubbed the "celebration weekend". The days ran from June 20th to the 23rd, 2019.

June 20 was the Feast of the Holy Eucharist - designated in our liturgical service book as the, "Solemn Adoration of the Body and Blood of the Most Pure Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ". This was a Thursday and so the event chosen was the most obvious - a Eucharistic liturgy that would honour our Lord and, at the same time, unite the congregation with Him. To facilitate the weekday schedules of all students and workers, an evening Divine Liturgy was decided upon to begin at 6:00 PM. To honour the Lord the congregation engaged in what may be regarded today as somewhat 'retro' experience... a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. This has been done in the past as Holy Eucharist Parish was joined by the neighbouring parish of St. Alphonsus for the Feast of the Holy Eucharist. They would concelebrate a Divine Liturgy at Holy Eucharist Church then process with the Blessed Sacrament to St. Alphonsus Church where they would have a brief adoration and then Benediction. This was followed by a true fellowship lunch. This year, however, it was decided that the entire event should happen at Holy Eucharist Parish and they would host the fellowship as well. In this spirit, following the 'prayer beyond the ambo' the congregation together with the clergy began a procession of servers, singers, banner-bearers - led by the Cross-bearer Jay Korban and eventually the clergy and parish priest Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski carrying the monstrance with the Mystery of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Following the instructions given in Dolnytsky's Typicon of the Ukrainian Catholic Church (1944, 1992) the procession stopped at small altars set up on all sides of the church at which a passage about the Eucharist was read from each of the four Gospels and "the world was blessed from Holy Eucharist Parish as it celebrates a century of God's grace".

The lunch prepared by the Parish branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada under the direction of President Val Munson and the ensuing fellowship were amazing.

The 2nd day of the celebration - Friday, June 21 - saw two major events. The Archeparchial Clergy Conference was held in the first part of the day, while in the evening an event that included spiritual talks was held. The Clergy met from the morning and into the afternoon to deliberate matters as they do on a regular basis. In the course of their conference, they prayed a Moleben' to the founder of Holy Eucharist Parish - Blessed Hieromartyr Nykyta Budka, the first Bishop to Canada. The UCWLC again served them a wonderful lunch.

In the evening, parishioners and guests gathered for an Akafist service designed as a meditative preparation for Holy Communion and it was a perfect fit as a preparation for the talks that were to follow as they dealt with the significance of the Holy Eucharist. The Akafist was richly filled with Scriptural references and theological explanations about the Lord's awesome gift of the Holy Eucharist. The Basilian Fathers that came to attend also brought a relic of St. Josaphat that they offered to leave at the Parish for a few days until the centenary celebrations were concluded. Taking advantage of the gesture, the faithful were invited to come forward to venerate the relics and receive a myrovannya blessing from Fr. Joakym Kovalchuk, OSBM. After the Akafist, everyone was invited to come down to the auditorium, help themselves to yet another generous table of refreshments and to take a place at the tables.

Aside from the common prayer, the other highlight of the evening were two talks given by representatives of Winnipeg's religious/monastic communities. They were to speak on the significance of the Holy Eucharist in the spirituality of the recognized holy ones of their orders. Sr. Oresta Svorak, SSMI, with the assistance of Sr. Theresa Slota, SSMI, spoke on the importance of the Holy Eucharist in the life of the co-foundress of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, Blessed Josaphata. The Provincial Superior of the Basilian Fathers in Canada, Fr. Gabriel Haber, OSBM, spoke on the life of 17th Century bishop-martyr St. Josaphat and how the Holy Eucharist was at the heart of his spirituality too. After both had spoken, there was panel discussion where both answered questions and offered further information.

The 3rd day of the 'celebration weekend' was dedicated to acknowledging the parish's founders - both clergy and laity - and the pioneers and all the parishioners that contributed so much and are no longer with us. The day began with a morning Divine Liturgy and then a panakhyda service at which each and every person present in the church was invited to speak the names of those deceased parishioners and other loved-ones for whom they wanted to remember in prayer. They each received a candle that they were invited to keep afterward. Many expressed their gratitude for such a moving opportunity to remember loves ones and parishioners of yesteryear.

In the auditorium, the Archivist for the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Gloria Romaniuk, shared a fascinating review of the legacy of the saintly Fr. Philip Ruh, OMI who dedicated his life to the Ukrainian Catholic faithful in Canada. He designed and oversaw the building of many churches throughout the country, including the second church for Holy Eucharist Parish in (1954). The lecture included a well-prepared PowerPoint presentation that was well appreciated by all and stirred up a lot of discussion. Walter Zulak, the son of general contractor that saw to the actual building of the church was on hand to share insights and stories. In fact, many people, including Dr Sam Hrushovetz and John Petryshyn and many others, took the time to share stories and tales of special moments from throughout the history of the parish. The Parish's "Millennium Seniors Club" under the direction of President Elsie Taylor served a great lunch provided by Budget Catering and with baking provided by members of the club. A bonus was a television report on Cooks Creek and the life of the then late Fr. Ruh that included interviews of known persons from that time - including the late very popular former parish priest of Holy Eucharist Parish - Monsignor Vladimir Bozyk. Everyone was delighted with both the walk down memory and the wealth of information that was shared.

The 4th and certainly major day of the celebration weekend was Sunday, June 23. After an early morning Divine Liturgy for those that would be engaged in the logistics of the afternoon program, the rest of the events began in the early afternoon. At 1:30 pm, an honour guard of the Knights of Columbus (organized by Brother Ed Swiecicki) ushered in the Archbishop of Winnipeg, Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak and a large number of clergy that came from around the Archeparchy as well as the parish priest of the neighbouring Roman Catholic Parish of St. Alphonsus. The Macenko Memorial Male Choir sang a glorious liturgy from beginning to end. Those that participated afterward shared that what most moved them was the large number of clergy that came, some with groups of their parishioners, to support the event and celebrate the anniversary of this 'sister parish', and the beautifully sung and truly prayerful Liturgy. Subdeacon Walter Dudych read the epistle, Deacon Leon Twerdun proclaimed the Gospel, while Metropolitan Lawrence preached the homily on the Holy Eucharist. Parish Priest Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Parish to the Metropolitan, the many priests and other clergy that were in attendance, to the Macenko Choir and all the people that filled the church for this historic, God-blessed event. Aside from all the priests that graciously accepted the parish's invitation to attend, acknowledgement has to be made these that helped out on Sunday and during the previous three days! - Subdeacon Anton Sloboda, Seminarians Jay Korban and Alex Pankiw and servers Ihor Purtov and Connor Drewniak.

What followed was that everyone made their way to the parish centre for the a bit of a cocktail hour before the gala banquet. The prime rib meal was catered by Ludwick Catering and the hall and the program was prepared by many. A more complete article is being planned concerning the whole gala event, but, for now, recognition can be made of a few truly key individuals in the preparation and the smooth running of the whole evening.... Donna Korban, the chair of the gala event, Bernice Hrehirchuk, Sr. Ruth Aney, SSMI, and the singers, Carlene Deptuch and the Parish Centre Staff, Wanda Lazaruk who prepared the historic posters, Oksana Bodie who prepared the wonderful 'kolachi' breads, Anastasia, Stella and Genevieve Sirski Mitchnik that played their violins, Joanne Lewandosky-Kuzia and John Petryshyn that prepared fantastic historic vignettes and, of course, the happy MCs of the evening Andrew Tataryn and Dwayne Rewniak. Were there others? Countless others that should be mentioned like Karen Ewchuk, vice-president of Parish council and the politicians that came out for the evening, like MLAs Cathy Cox (River East) and Blair Yakimowski (Transcona) that presented a certificate to the Parish on behalf of Manitoba's Premier Brian Pallister. City Councillor Brian Mayes of St. Vital also made an extraordinary presentation on behalf of the City of Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman. There are many others.... not missed, but they are acknowledged and recognized at the parish.


Thank you, Lord, for Your unconditional love and abundant grace as we enter a new century!

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