Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 20, 2006
Prelate is a local history buff
Former museum director sees close Alberta-Manitoba Church ties
- WCR photo by Glen Argan
Archbishop Lawrence Huculak is former durector of the Basilian Fathers Cultural Museum. Here, he poses with a painting of the first visit of a Ukrainian Catholic Priest, Fr. Nestor Dmytriw, to Edmonton.
By WCR Staff
Archbishop Lawrence Huculak has a deep and detailed awareness of the history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada. It comes from many years as director of the Basilian Fathers Cultural Museum in Mundare.
Little did he know when he was a humble parish priest overseeing the museum that he would one day become part of that history. As the fourth bishop of the Edmonton Eparchy and only the third metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, he has now become a figure important in the telling of the Ukrainian Catholic story.
Pioneers of the future
"I believe strongly in historic continuity," Huculak said at a Feb. 10 press conference in Winnipeg.
People admire the Ukrainian pioneers of 100 years ago who broke the ground and built the farms in Canada, he said. "But we are the pioneers of the future.
"We have to have the same spirit of faith in God and dedication to the Church and confidence in ourselves."
In an earlier interview, the 55-year-old archbishop recounted the links between the Church in Alberta, where he has lived the last 20 years, and the Church in Manitoba, where he will likely spend the next 20. He has history at his fingertips.
Those links began with the arrival of Father Nestor Dmytriw, the first Ukrainian Catholic priest in Canada, who visited both Winnipeg and Edmonton in 1897.
The first permanent Ukrainian Catholic religious in Canada - Basilian fathers and brothers and the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate - came to Mundare in 1902. But the Basilians quickly moved on to Winnipeg.
Huculak goes on to tell how the second Ukrainian Catholic bishop for Canada, based in Winnipeg, was Basil Ladyka. Prior to becoming a bishop, he was pastor at Edmonton's St. Josaphat's Parish (now the cathedral parish).
When Ladyka got an auxiliary bishop for Winnipeg in 1943, it was another Albertan, Father Neil Savaryn, superior of the Basilian monastery in Mundare, who got the nod. Five years later, Savaryn returned to Edmonton as "apostolic exarchate," and served as the first eparch of Edmonton 1956 to 1986.
Then, there was Father Myron Daciuk, born in Alberta, who also served as an auxiliary bishop in Winnipeg before becoming bishop of Edmonton in 1991.
Finally, yet another Albertan, Father David Motiuk, became auxiliary bishop of Winnipeg in 2002, a post in which he still serves.
"I don't know what the other eparchies think of all that," says the new archbishop.
As for himself, Huculak is the first Basilian father to be named metropolitan. The first two - Archbishops Maxim Hermaniuk and Michael Bzdel - were Redemptorist priests.
And while Huculak and Bzdel teased each other at the press conference about the relative merits of Basilians and Redemptorists, the former metropolitan said the new one's "expertise in the archives" will be of benefit to the Church.
"I'm sure he'll bring not only his expertise, but also his love (for history)," said Bzdel.