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Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada Pays Tribute to Blessed Bishop and Martyr Nykyta Budka

- 2013 Events in Saskatoon

Our Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has enjoyed many blessings over the centuries but has also undergone many difficult persecutions and tribulations. This eventful history has cultivated a spirit among Ukrainian Catholics of determination and surrender to God’s will. Numerous heroic people stand out in the life of our Church as they are noted for their sacrifices in building the kingdom of God on earth. Among them, a bishop and martyr, is of special importance to the preservation and spreading of our faith in Canada.

Blessed Bishop and Martyr Nykyta Budka was born on June 7, 1877 in Dobromirka, Austria-Hungary and ordained a priest in Lviv, the capital of Austria Galicia, in 1905. He was a gift from God to many, especially Ukrainians in Canada. On July 15, 1912 he was appointed by the Holy Father as their shepherd, the Bishop and Eparch of the first Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy outside of Ukraine. He was ordained Bishop a short time later in October of that year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To commemorate this occasion that took place a century ago, a year of celebrations were held across Canada. A notable event was in Manitoba when from September 8-16, 2012 the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church gathered to discuss his contribution to the life of the church as well as many other important issues. This centenary was recognized by people from around the world and six months ago the Eparchy of Saskatoon was blessed to host in June 2013 an Encounter for Ukrainian Catholic clergy, their wives as well as consecrated religious. Our current Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy, including Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, OSBM of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Bishop Stephen Chmilar of the Eparchy of Toronto, Bishop David Motiuk of the Eparchy of Edmonton, Bishop Ken Nowakowski of the Eparchy of New Westminster and the host, Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR of the Eparchy of Saskatoon were in attendance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing the story of Bishop Budka and coming to understand the challenges he faced as shepherd, were articulately presented by and Fr. Athanasius McVay. The lively exchange of questions and answers were a wonderful tribute evidently to the deep appreciation bishops, clergy and religious from across Canada have for this prayerful and persevering pioneer. Fr. Athanasius had been researching the life of this great martyr and addressed the participants of the Encounter with social, spiritual and political details of the situation in Canada and in Europe at that time. Budka’s edifying example enriched all those who attended and gave context and perspective to struggles that are encountered today.

Arrangements were also made for Fr. Athanasius to speak to the lay members of the Eparchy of Saskatoon one evening that week at Ss. Peter and Paul’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatoon. An opportunity to personally meet the historian, Fr. Athanasius, and pose personal questions about the life of this great martyr was a blessing to the faithful of the Eparchy.

The National Congress of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada and the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada was held in Saskatoon immediately after the Encounter from June 27-30, 2013. The timing of these two events that coincided with the Feast of Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky, CSsR and 24 companions (of which Blessed Bishop Budka is one) was made more memorable by the prayerful commemoration and celebration of faith at the Shrine of the Blessed Martyrs Sr. Olympia and Sr. Laurentia located across from St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral on Avenue M South. The Moleben that was prayed as well as the welcome, hospitality and prayerful example of the Sisters of St. Joseph at the shrine gave the celebration a dignified, festive atmosphere.

The closing Divine Liturgy at St. George’s Cathedral was the culmination of the week  of events. Metropolitan Lawrence was the main celebrant for the service and afterwards everyone was invited outside for the blessing of a memorial to Blessed Bishop and Martyr Nykyta Budka found near the front entrance of the Cathedral. Those who gathered for the commemorative blessing paid tribute to a bishop who, God willing one day, will become a saint.

In1988 the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada Bishop Roberecki Branch #304 erected a pedestal for a cross marking the Millennium of Christianity for Kyivan Rus.  Interestingly, this year, being the 1025th anniversary of Christianity, the stone commemorating Bishop Budka and the close of 100th Anniversary of Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy in Canada was added to the pedestal. The stone was prepared, cut, delivered and gifted by Hemauer Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Manitoba. It was installed by Darren and Cameron Bayda, two brothers of Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR.