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60th Anniversary Celebration of Priestly Ordination of Most Rev. Bishop Emeritus Michael Wiwchar, CSsR

Submitted by Andrea Wasylow, Photos by Yvonne Oranchuk

On the evening of Sunday, July 7, 2019, members of our Eparchy of Saskatoon honoured His Excellency, Most Rev. Bishop Emeritus Michael Wiwchar, CSsR, with a celebration marking his 60th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination.  The celebration, sponsored by the Eparchial Pastoral Council (EPC), took place at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of St. George, beginning with a Moleben Service in Honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, followed by a reception and banquet in the cathedral auditorium. The choir for the Moleben Service were members from Ss. Peter & Paul Parish in Saskatoon, directed by Paul Hnenny.

Prior to the Moleben Service, Bishop Emeritus Michael Wiwchar, CSsR, Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR, the deacons and priests processed into the cathedral accompanied by an Honour Guard from the Eparchial Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada (UCBC), Eparchial Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League (UCWLC) and Youth (UCYA)

Officiating at the Moleben Service with Most Rev. Bishop Emeritus Michael Wiwchar CSsR, were his fellow clergy from Eparchy of Saskatoon: Most Rev. Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR, Eparch of Saskatoon, Very Rev. Janko Kolosnjaji, Rt. Rev. Walter Kostiuk, Rt. Rev. Andrew Muzyka, Rev. André Lalach, Rev. Michael Smolinski, CSsR, Rev. Leonid Malkov, CSsR, Rev. Yevhen Zadorozhniy, CSsR, Rev. Ivan Nahachewsky, Rev. Gregory Hrynkiw, ASTH, Deacon Myron Yamniuk, Deacon Thomas Nahachewsky, and Deacon Harrold Salahub; and from the RC Diocese of Saskatoon: Rev. Steve Morrissey, CSsR, Rev. Graham Hill, CSsR and Rev. Demetrius Wasylyniuk, OSB.  Also present were Sr. Marijka Konderwicz and Sr. Bonnie Komarnicki from the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, and Sr. Samuela, Sr. Christophora, Sr. Antonia and Sr. Dominica from the Ukrainian Sisters of St. Joseph.

During his homily, Bishop Bryan had a special blessing and presentation for Bishop Emeritus Michael, on behalf of the Eparchy, presenting him with a “посух – posookh” (walking stick), used by elderly bishops.

At the reception banquet, Master of Ceremonies, Andrea Wasylow, Saskatoon Deanery Representative on the Eparchial Pastoral Council, welcomed the faithful gathered for the celebration banquet and program, which was co-organized with Marlene Bodnar, Eparchial UCWLC President.

Father Janko Kolosnjaji led everyone in a special opening prayer, followed by Bishop Emeritus Michael performing the honours of the official cutting of the anniversary cake. This has been a dear tradition at Bishop Filevich Ukrainian Bilingual School, where Bishop Michael kindly provided cake and ice cream yearly for the students and staff, along with teaching them to sing an accompanying song.

Guests enjoyed a wonderful supper catered by Touch of Ukraine. Throughout the evening, a slideshow of photos of Bishop Emeritus Michael played in the background. Thanks to Bishop Michael’s family for providing the photos and to Bob Anderson of Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Saskatoon, for putting the slideshow together. During the supper, the guests were also entertained with classical guitar music by artist performer Zeljko Bilandzic.

The program began with MC Andrea Wasylow reading a letter of congratulations from Archbishop Albert LeGatt from the Archdiocese of St. Boniface. This was followed by Rev. Michael Smolinski, CSsR, bringing greetings on behalf of the Redemptorists and Rev. André Lalach bringing greetings from the clergy and religious of the Eparchy of Saskatoon. Greetings on behalf of the Laity were given by Martin Hryniuk, who has enjoyed a long-time friendship with Bishop Emeritus Michael.  Remarks on behalf of the Eparchial Pastoral Council were given by Vice-Chairperson Geraldine Koban. John Nicholas Starosta, of Bishop Nykyta Budka 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Assembly #2775-Saskatoon, gave greetings on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, and led the guests in three cheers for Bishop Emeritus Michael. Gerald Lashyn, alumnus of St. Vladimir College, shared humorous anecdotes on behalf of St. Vladimir College Alumni.

His Excellency, Most Reverend Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR gave his remarks in thanksgiving for Bishop Emeritus Michael’s love of God, and selfless service.  Bishop Bryan encouraged us to look into the eyes written into the icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help on the prayer card, that all the guests received from Bishop Emeritus Michael, to connect with her and hear what she has to say to us.

Our dear and special honoured guest, Bishop Emeritus Michael Wiwchar, CSsR, closed the evening celebration speaking about his profound gratitude and blessings with how God has worked through him over his lifetime, and  of his special love and dedication to the Blessed Mother of God, since his first childhood memory at the age of three.  Bishop Emeritus Michael led the guests in closing prayers from his pamphlet of “Our Daily Prayers”, a gift to all those who had joined him in this special celebration commemorating his 60th Anniversary of Priesthood.

In her closing comments, MC Andrea thanked the members of the EPC, the Chancery Staff, St. George’s Parish Council and all the participants of the Honour Guard for their assistance in any and every way in helping to honour Bishop Emeritus Michael with this celebration.

The evening then concluded with the singing of Многая Літа!

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