Dear Parishioners and Guests,
0n the first Sunday of November,
The Ukrainian Catholic Church celebrates the memory of one of its most outstanding church leaders of
the past century, the great Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky. He guided our church as a modem day
Moses-through many trying phases-the Tsarist persecution, the Nazi occupation, and the Communist
infiltration. People looked up to him for he was a gentle, compassionate, generous and holy man
not to overlook his lofty physical stature. He was around seven feet tall, but carried
himself with grace and humility. As providence would have it, Metropolitan Andrew served our
Church as Archbishop of Lviv for 43 years (Jan.1,1901- Nov.1, 1944)
He became Archbishop Metropolitan at a time of very difficult economic challenges in Ukraine,
impacting on many, including those of our family roots. Opportunities opened up for immigration
and starting anew in Canada. Many Ukrainians bravely took up this challenge and set up homesteads
in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
Times were rough and there were many pioneer hardships. Among them was the lack of priests
and churches. However, these immigrants had a deep social and spiritual sense, usually settling in
one area and being of mutual help and encouragement for one another. Their faith united them and
gave them hope. So they built little churches where they could gather for worship, most often
without a priest.
Serving these immigrants was a constant concern for Metropolitan Andrew for already non
Catholic religions were taking advantage of the priestly shortage, had unqualified men masquerading
as Catholic clergy, and were proselytizing. In 1910 Metropolitan Andrew decided that he would
visit Canada and see for himself what was necessary to deal with the situation. He remained in
Canada for several months and visited most of the larger settlements.
This visitation of the Ukrainian immigrants by Archbishop Andrew made a big impression on his
people. They were in awe of his stamina, his kindness, his support, and determination. Just his
presence and deep concern helped improve the situation. A ray of new hope struck their hearts as
he promised to send them more priests and even a bishop.
On his way back to Ukraine, Metropolitan Andrew took the long way around. It was paramount
for him to get to Rome and to visit the Pope. He related to him what he had witnessed. He
presented a clear picture of the danger the Ukrainian settlers found themselves in, and the
absolute necessity for creating a separate eparchy (diocese) with a Ukrainian Catholic Bishop.
In the meantime, some practical strategy had to be implemented. In Lviv, the Archbishop opened a
seminary for young men willing to become missionaries to serve the Ukrainians in Canada. He held
conferences with the clergy keeping them posted as to the Canadian situation and
began to give leaves of absences to priests who had courage to go to Canada.
Finally the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Canada were moved by the stirring report of Fr.
Achilles Delaere, CSsR at the 1910 Eucharistic Congress in Montreal. It was backed up by the
appeal of another devoted Belgian Redemptorist working with the Ukrainians, Fr. Henrich Boels,
who totally understood their need for a bishop.
The Roman Catholic bishops gave their support. Two years later the Holy See gave the
Ukrainian immigrants their first bishop, (Blessed) Nykyta Budka, thus establishing a Ukrainian
Catholic Eparchy in Canada. The big dream of Metropolitan Andrew had been realized and we are
now reaping the benefit of this blessing.
The Great Metropolitan also saw the good work that the Redemptorists of Belgium were doing
in service of the Ukrainian Catholic immigrants. Thus he strove to get the order established in
Ukraine. It flourished immediately and by 1921 Ukrainian Redemptorists were serving our people
We pray earnestly for his beatification and eventual canonization.
A Prayer (or Beatification o(the Servant of God Andrew Sheptytsky
0 my God, I adore your infinite majesty with all the powers of my soul.
I thank You for the graces and gifts which You have bestowed upon your faithful Servant of
God, Metropolitan Sheptytsky. I ask You to glorify him also on earth.
I beseech You to grant me the favour which I humbly ask from your great mercy. Amen.