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Parish History

interior from loft dec09
Interior of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church from Choir Loft (Photo by Dreena Buyachek)

 

The cornerstone for the present location of the church was laid September 1955, by Most Rev. Neil Savaryn OSBM, Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, under whose jurisdiction were the Ukrainian Catholics in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. In commemoration of the Marian Year of 1954, the church was named "Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary." By December of 1955 Divine Liturgies were being held in the completed basement of the church which had been constructed to serve as a parish hall and auditorium. On December 8, 1957, on the holy day of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the name of the Ukrainian parish was formally changed from "St. Stephen's" to "Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

 

 

Historical Overview of the Ukrainian Catholic Community in Calgary

1893

First mention of Ukrainian presence in Calgary (The Calgary Daily Herald)

1897

First recorded visit of a Ukrainian Catholic priest to Alberta and Calgary, Rev. Nestor Dmytriw from Pennsylvania

1899

The synod of RC bishops of the Church Province of St. Boniface under the leadership of Archbishop Langevin held in Calgary.  Included in the discussion was to find the means to provide adequate religious services to newly arrived immigrants from Ukraine.

1901

Rev. Eugene Zaklynsky from Edna/Star region, the second Ukrainian Catholic priest visited our immigrants

1909

Parish established as St. Stephens

1910

Pastoral visit by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky who offered Pontifical Liturgy for his people at St. Mary’s RC Church.

1911

Church edifice constructed on 23rd Avenue NE at a cost of $4,500.  Building committee Fred Onischuk (Chairman), Michael Novak, Dmytro Stayura, Steve Bahan, Fred Grabas, Basil Syrnyk, Andrew Semkovich.  Fred Onischuk donated lots at 1st St. and 23rd Ave. N.E. (present day Tuxedo Park district).

1912

St. Stephen’s Greek-Catholic parish officially incorporated

1912 – 1915

St. Stephens also used by the Roman Catholic Community that eventually became St. Joseph’s Parish.

1912

Pope Pius X formally created the Ukrainian Catholic Ordinate embracing all of Canada with headquarters in Winnipeg and named most Reverend Nikita Budka as the first Bishop.  October 13, 1912, Bishop Budka was consecrated by the Archbishop Sheptytsky in Lviv, Ukraine, served in Canada until 1928 when he returned to Ukraine and was later martyred in Siberia for His faith.

1913

First of three pastoral visits by first Eparch for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada by Most Rev. Bishop Nykyta Budka.

1914 – 1918

During the First World War Ukrainians who immigrated from Austrian empire were classified as “enemy aliens” under the terms of the War Measures Act (1914).  Some members were interned in forced labor camps and as a result of this turmoilthe Churrch was closed for about two years.

1926

Church building physically moved from Tuxedo Park to Riverside (1st Ave & 6th St. N.E.)

1926

Jan 31 Pastoral visit by Bishop Nykyta Budka

1928

Bishop Basil Ladyka OSBM named as bishop for Canada

1929

Visit of newly appointed Bishop Ladyka OSBM

1939

Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada branch established under the guidance of Rev. Yaroslav Chyz

1940

Parish switched from Julian to Gregorian Calendar

1942

Fire gutted St. Stephen’s Church; building of rectory completed

1946

The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was dissolved by the Soviet Union and forced into a union with the Russian Orthodox Church. The faithful are forced into an underground existence.

1948

Mrs. Stella (Kozicky) Niedzwiecki teaches English in St. Stephen's basement to post-war Ukrainian immigrants

1948

Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Canada subdivided into four Eparchies; Most Rev. Neil Savaryn appointed first Eparch of Edmonton

1949

Oleksa Mostowy organizes a mixed choir

1950

Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League formed.

1952

Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate established convent in Calgary and begin uninterrupted work in the Calgary community

1952

Land acquired for present location of Church at 7 Ave & 6 St. NE

1953

Building Committee formed for construction of new church edifice: John Cozick (Chairman), Peter Bartman, Oleksa Mostowy, Anton Hawryluk, Sam Sweet, John Shpak, Frank Gawlicki

1954

Parish dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in honour of the Marian year

1955

In September Bishop Neil Savaryn lays cornerstone for new Church

1955

Christmas Divine Liturgy celebrated in new auditorium

1957

Name of Parish formally changed to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1957

St. Stephens Church sold, and all religious services now held at the new location

1959

First Divine Liturgy offered in the sanctuary of the newly constructed Church on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas)

1962

Parish Golden Jubilee celebrated.  Dr. Myroslaw Hladyshevsky compiles a bilingual history of the parish, A Jubilee Souvenir. At the celebrations ten original pioneers who all arrived in the first decade of the 1900s were honoured for their exemplary membership:  Andrew Semkowicz, Fred Grabas, Harry Kozicky, Alex Burak, Michael Warecki, Michael Plecan, Alex Soroka, Steve Bahan, Sam Solodky, and Theodore Yurchyshyn. 

1963

Ordination of Father Andrew Kowch, first priestly vocation from parish

1967

Installation of Iconostas (Canadian Centennial Year Project)

1967

Erection of a new convent for Sister Servants at 802 - 7 Avenue NE

1968

A second Ukrainian Catholic Parish established in Calgary under the patronage of St. Stephen's; Rev. Demetrius Greschuk appointed pastor

1968

Visit of His Beatitude Archbishop Major Josef Slipyj

1974

Blessing of new Rectory/Residence for parish priests

1975

Stella Niedzwiecki authors a book for The Century Calgary Historical Series, Ukrainian Rite Catholic Church, an Account of Church Activities in Calgary

1987

Ukrainian Assumptions Seniors Club formed and commenced contribution to the Parish

1988

Millennium of Ukrainian Christianity observed

1988

Olympic Games - vigil for persecuted Church in Ukraine

1989

The Soviet Union legalizes the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the faithful emerge after 43 years in the catacombs

1991

Declaration of Ukrainian Independence observed

1992

Renovation of Auditorium and Church entrance completed. Building Committee:  Bill Kravec (Chairman), Mary Bereziuk (co-chairman), Michael Bereziuk, Alex Hunka, Terry Nazarko, Dennis Sokolosky, Steve Lupyczuk, Ron Gnyra, and Michael Lyzaniwski.

1992

Observation of the Centennial of the founding of the Order of Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI) by Blessed Josaphata Hordoshevska, SSMI

1996

Iconography Project on Church interior commenced

1997

Lectors installed: Jan Swiatylo, Ivan Heric, George Sadiwnyk, Dennis Sokoloski, Eugene Nahirney, Ivan Weleschuk, and Myron Hladyshevsky

2000

Iconography Project completed and blessed by Bishop Lawrence

2000

Golden anniversary of Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League (UCWL) observed

2000

Parish becomes one of first Ukrainian Catholic parishes to establish a website under the guidance of Eugene Nahirney

2001

During his historic visit to Ukraine, Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001 beatified 35 Ukrainians including the founder of the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, Sister Josaphata, and the first Ukrainian Bishop in Canada Bishop Nykyta Budka, who was later martyred for his faith.

2002

Parish Youth participate in World Youth Day Toronto with Pope John Paul II

2002

90th Anniversary Praznyk held September 15, 2002; Centennial of the arrival of the Sister Servants in Canada to begin mission work in Alberta

2004

Most Rev Bishop Paul Chomnycky of London (England) preaches Lenten Mission

2004

New generation of Lectors installed: Sean Krakiwsky; Yuriy Oliiynik; Olexander Melysh; Ihor Bohdan; Robert Lizak, and David Boyko

2005

Parish initiates the Alpha Program

1991 – 2006

Influx of new immigrants joining parish becomes pronounced as the fifteenth anniversary of Ukraine’s impendence is observed

2007

Newly installed Eparch of Edmonton, Most Rev. David Motiuk participates in 95th Anniversary Praznyk October 21, 2007

2008

Most Rev Bishop Vasyl Semeniuk of Ternopil, Ukraine and previously Seminary Rector of current Parish Priest Father Serhiy visits parish

2011

Bishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk elected Major Archbishop and Patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to replace Major Archbishop Lubomyr Husar, who had retired for health reasons. 

2012

Parish observes is centenary. On his first pastoral visit to Canada Patriarch Sviatoslav presides over the Solemn Pontifical Divine Liturgy. Jubilee Dinner attended by over 450 guests

2015

Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate closes its convent in Calgary; Moleben of Thanksgiving and farewell reception draws a large turnout of grateful attendees

2016

Major roof renovation project under the guidance of Bill Kravec completed at a cost of $400,000