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
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 with you. Thank you for being a vital and loving
St. Joseph’s family because we do love you and pray for you!
My beloved Parishioners,