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Historical

The 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.

On 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 spiritual guidance.

St. 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.

The 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.

Until the building of the church, Ukrainian Catholics used the chapel at St. Gerard’s for their services.

In 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.

As 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.

The 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 sacristy.

The 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.

 

 

 

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