first Ukrainian settler in Yorkton, Paul Brosky, arrived in June,
1902. Many others soon followed, emigrating mostly from the villages
of Hryhoriw and Chechiw in the area of Buchach, in Western Ukraine.
January 13, 1904, Fr. Achilles Delaere, CSsR, along with other
Belgian Redemptorists, arrived from Brandon, Man., to serve the
people of Yorkton. The Fathers established St. Gerard’s
Parish in the years 1904-05, and at the same time Fr. Delaere
began working among the Ukrainian people, who until then had no
Mary’s Church was constructed in 1914; the monastery was
finished by 1913. On August 23, 1914, the new church was blessed
by Bishop Niceta Budka, and it soon became the spiritual center
for Ukrainian Catholics from Wynyard to the Manitoba border.
construction of the church was contracted by John Logan. The building
was done of white bricks, which were manufactured from the sandy
clay found near the very site of the church. It was the first
Ukrainian Catholic Church in Western Canada to be built of brick.
the building of the church, Ukrainian Catholics used the chapel
at St. Gerard’s for their services.
1920 Fr. N. M. Decamps, then the superior, added a west wing to
the monastery, and also the whole third floor. These additions
have at different times served as a Juvenate (minor seminary),
a major seminary, and in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s
as an elementary Parish School.
the city grew, so did the parish. (In 1936 the population of Yorkton
was 4,931). In 1941 the Annual Pilgrimage Day, on July 7, was
attended by 4,000 people from Yorkton and district. The Pilgrimage
is still an annual affair, but it is now observed on the weekend
prior to the July long weekend.
Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, which originally hung behind
the altar in church, was a certified copy of the original icon
in Rome, and was hand-painted on wood. It was blessed by Pope
Benedict XV in 1916. The Icon still remains displayed in the church
east wing of the church was built in 1955-56. In doing so, special
regard had to be given to the pillars, which support the dome.
The east wing had to be built narrow and long for this reason.