Ukrainian News/Українські вісті, September 26 – October 9, 26 вересня – 9 жовтня, 2013
(UkrNews)—St. Michael’s Health Group celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Millennium Pavilion Seniors Lodge, a 69-suite supportive housing facility, Sept. 21.
The cornerstones were officially dedicated and placed in 1988 by then-Premier Don Getty. Official opening occurred in 1990.
When the facility opened, it catered to a more independent resident. While the average age of the residents (86) has not changed much over the years, the care that the seniors require has increased substantially.
The event began with a religious service in the Chapel, co-concelebrated by Most Rev. Bishop David Motiuk, Bishop, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton and His Grace Bishop Ilarion Rudnyk, Bishop of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. They were assisted by Very Rev. Mihajlo Planchak (UGCC) and Rt. Rev. Mitred Archpriest Nicholas Orest Rauliuk (UOCC).
Following the Moleben an anniversary program was held at the Heritage Hall which was opened with a traditional bread and salt greeting conducted by Helen Guglich, a resident who has lived in the facility the longest (over 18 years).
She was followed by St. Michael’s CEO Stan Fischer, who described the Millennium Pavilion as one of St. Michel’s “proudest endeavors over the past 25 years.”
Both bishops brought greetings. Bishop David used an analogy with the church being not just a structure but the sum total of its members.
“It’s the residents, the staff, the CEO, the Board of Directors, the volunteers, everyone is really the Millennium Pavilion and for that we give thanks to God,” he said.
Bishop Ilarion addressed the seniors noting that after a lifetime of struggles it is time for them to rest and “focus your achievements on the people who share your life”.
“May you continue to enjoy this Godgiven gift this life that you have built for many years to come,” he added.
Lubomyr Pastuszenko, Vice-Chair of St. Michael’s Board of Directors gave a brief overview of the history of the Millennium Pavilion, noting that the idea to build a nursing home was first conceived by Dr. Melety Snihurowyich and Rev. Mitrat Michael Sopulak who established the St. Michael’s Nursing Home Association in 1974 which was incorporated in 1976 as the St. Michael’s Nursing Home Society.
In 1980 the Province approved the nursing home project. Bishop Neil Savaryn donated 2.5 acres of land. The Long Term Care facility eventually became a 75 bed Nursing Home and a 75 bed Auxiliary Hospital. Sod turning took place in 1981 and, in 1983, the first resident entered the Nursing Home. The grand opening and blessing by Bishop Savaryn took place the following year.
In 1985 the organization changed its name to St. Michael’s Extended Care Centre Society and began pondering a lodge type expansion which would accommodate healthy people as well as those with minor disabilities.The planning and lobbying for the Millennium Pavilion had begun.
In 1988 the Province, under Premier Don Getty approved a $3.4 million mortgage for the facility and construction began The official sod turning took place on Sept. 29 with Bishop: Greschuk (UGCC), Bishop Stinka (UOCC), Premier Don Getty, Deputy Speaker Steve Paproski, Alderman Julian Kiniski, and Dr. Melety Snihurowych, Board Chairman of St. Michael’s.
Representing the provincial government, MLA Janice Sarich said the Millennium Pavilion is a home to the people who live there and the families who visit.
“The Millennium Pavilion has existed in Edmonton for 25 years for many reasons, but the chief reason is the people. I celebrate each of you here today. You are the ones who have brought this organization forward to what it is today and will make it what it can be tomorrow. You are the support and the spirit of Millennium Pavilion’s success. May each of you here, and may every resident of Millennium Pavilion, experience an abundance of blessings each day,” she said.
City Councillor Tony Caterina stressed that as the seniors population is growing, the need for care becomes even more important
“For nearly 30 years not only has St. Michael’s provided professional and compassionate and long-term care, supportive housing, programs and services for seniors in Edmonton but their efforts have helped make our city a more caring place to live,” he said.
“St. Michael’s long term care facility is a testament to what can happen when vision and determination are put into action,”Councillor Caterina added.
Speaking on behalf of the Friends of St. Michael’s of Edmonton Society (FOSMOE), President Vicky Beauchamp noted that the group has raised over 2.2 million for the Millennium Pavilion.
“The members are an inspiration a joy and a blessing and are always there to offer support and a helping hand to St. Michael’s. FOSMOE you have a proud record in the community as an outstanding provider of quality care for seniors,” she said.
Entertainment was provided by the Viter Ukrainian Folk Choir and Dancers In his closing remarks, Board Chair Ed Hladunewich urged the municipal government to release a parcel of land close to St.
Michael’s which had been designated as a school site but will not be used as such and for the provincial government to support a project there.
“Stan Fischer, our CEO and I visited the site that I mentioned just recently and Stan’s word were ‘I have a dream’ so, hopefully we can make this dream a reality and St. Michael’s will celebrate many more anniversaries,” he said.