WINNIPEG – Archbishop Michael Bzdel, who served as metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada for nearly 13 years, died April 3 at his home in Winnipeg. He was 81.
He became metropolitan after his ordination as archbishop March 9, 1993. He served in the position until his retirement in January 2006.
Born to Ukrainian immigrants in Wishart, Sask., July 21, 1930, Bzdel was the 11th of 14 children in his family.
He discerned a call to the priesthood as a student at the Redemptorist-run St. Vladimir College in Roblin, Man.
Following his ordination in 1954, he was assigned to ministry in various parishes across Western Canada.
In 1984, he was elected provincial superior of the Yorkton (Saskatchewan) Province of the Redemptorist order, a position he held until 1992, when he was named archbishop and head of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg.
With the appointment, he became metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada.
As metropolitan, Bzdel was one of the four ex-officio members of the permanent council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also served on several CCCB commissions and committees.
In retirement, Bzdel continued in pastoral ministry, working especially with the elderly residents of Holy Family Home in Winnipeg.
Funeral services began April 11 at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral in Winnipeg with hierarchical parastas (memorial).
Services continued April 12 at St. Joseph Church in Winnipeg with Divine Liturgy and concluding rites.