My beloved Parishioners,
As I venture into my 47th year of priesthood, I reflect back to
1966 when three young men – Peter Stasiuk, Len Ratushniak and I –
were ordained Deacons in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Chicago. As Bishop
Gabro placed his episcopal hands on our heads, we three committed
ourselves to serve our Ukrainian Catholic Church for the rest of our lives.
Then in 1967, here at St. Joseph’s we were happily ordained your priests!
Peter has been Bishop Peter of Australia for the past 21 years. Leonard is
presently the pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish and a strong supporter of Welcome Home
and I, after many years of priestly ministery, am your Pastor of St. Joe’s (for the third
time – 1974-75, 1984-1987 and 2008 -). We then certainly did not know what the good
Lord had in store for us – “ours’ was to trust that He would use us – with our personal
limitations, with our God-given ‘talents’ and with our love and faith in Jesus Christ!
So very much has changed and evolved in the past 46 years, both for us and each
of you. We have experienced many different stages of St. Joseph’s – of a young parish
expanding and growing in the 60’s and 70’s with many new young families coming on
board, especially because of our English Liturgy and our strong and challenging
Catechism program. We all fondly recall the packed Sunday Liturgies and the 190
children in the religious Saturday school. Families faithfully drove here on Saturday
and Sunday from Transcona, Windsor Park, Selkirk, and many other distant parts of the
city. After all, we were the only singing “English Divine Liturgy” in town!
Happily in the 80’s and 90’s, almost all of the parishes began to ‘catch up’ with
equally excellent programs and therefore it was only fitting that many of ‘our flock’
returned to support their local parish, be it in E. Kildonan, Grant Park, St. Boniface, etc.
We believe everyone gained very much from their spiritual journey with us and they, in
turn, carried back these ”holy riches’ to enrichen and enliven their local churches. Thus,
the whole Ukrainian community, at large, profited much and we are all blessed for this!
Sometimes we hear parishioners nostalgically talk about the ‘good old days’ of St.
Joseph in its prime! Actually, St Joseph’s is always in its prime –for we continually gather
to praise our Lord and, God willing, will always strive to reach out to new families, to
people ‘in need’ and anyone who wishes to belong to our worshipping parish family. Let
each of us ‘warmly welcome’ everyone & make them feel wanted & “at home” with us!
Gone are the days of 25 Baptisms or 20 Weddings annually in our church. Gone
are the large Communion classes and packed Liturgies. After all, many of our children
have grown up and have often moved on – be it here in Winnipeg or most likely, to other
cities. And the reality is much smaller families and less of original St. Jo’ers! Ah! but we
have YOU and we are more than pleased to work with you, to play with and yes, to pray
Thank you for being a vital and loving member of
St. Joseph’s family because we do love you and pray for you!