INNISFREE (NEW BUCHACH) – St . NICHOLAS Parish

INNISFREE (NEW BUCHACH) – St . NICHOLAS Parish – Парафія св. о. Миколая

Location: Township 52, Sec. 34, Ranch 11 (2 acres) – 150 km. to the east of Edmonton (HW 16) and 18 km. southeast from the town of Innisfree. First services were held in the private home of Vasyl Hlus, which is why many of the people called the church “ Церква на Глусях or Церква коло Глусів” (Church at Hlus’). The idea of the first church came from Petro Hlus in 1910 and the church was built in 1911. Three original members were: Hlus, Mazepa and Tarapacky families. The church was in honor of St. Nicholas, although for some time was known as the Church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The old church, which was built in 1911 by Yanishevskyi for $3,000.00, was donated in 1971 to the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village on highway 16, which is an open museum of Ukrainian heritage. A new church was being discussed for some time. Fr. Roman Starodub and the building committee met in 1957 with architect Flak, who provided them with a blueprint worth $800.00. Some people thought that it was very expensive but after some consideration all accepted the idea of building a new church. The basement was excavated in July 1958 and on August 2, 1959 Bishop Neil Savaryn blessed the corner stone. Much of the work was done by the parishioners. The old and the new church were legally designated as The Catholic Parish of Saint Nicholas of Greek-Ruthenian Rite united to Rome of Innisfree in the Province of Alberta, Dominion of Canada.

In 1957 there were 55 families, and in 1972 approximately 32 families (80 people) in the parish. The region was one of the strongholds of the communists. Many of the first settlers were “moskvofily” (pro Russian movement in western Ukraine as a response to Polish domination). For some time, the first Ukrainian Member of Parliament Michael Luchkovych was living there but left, disappointed in the people. Once, the enemies of the parish community placed a hammer and sickle on the cross of the church. Another time a Basilian priest was refused the entrance to the church. These facts are documented by Fr. Roman Starodub, Stefan Dmytriw and Peter Tarapatskyj. There are 3 different cemeteries, one is located half a km. from the church and it was blessed in 1910 by Fr. Naucratius Kryzanowsky.

The parish was served by the Basilian Fathers for many years: Fr. Kryzanowsky, Fr. Basil Ladyka, Fr. Josaphat Tymochko, Fr. Matthew Hura, Fr. Porphyrius Bodnar, Fr. Sophron Diakowich, Fr. Paul Hewko, Fr. Damascene Popovych, Fr. Innocent Rychkun, Fr. Sebastian Shewchuk, Fr. Theodozy Dobko, Fr. Benjamin Baranyk, Fr. Basil Kamenetsky, Fr. Martyrius Vincentaylo, and from 1938 to 1949 Fr. Markian Pasichnyk.

Starting in 1949 the resident priest in the town of Innisfree was serving the community: Fr. Nicholas Diadio (1949), Fr. Bohdan Hanushevsky (1950-1952), Fr. Yaroslaw Fedunyk (1953-1956), Fr. Roman Starodub (1956-1985), Fr. Benny Ambrose (1986-1995), Fr. Ron Hollohan (1996), Deacon Michael Schaplowsky (1997-2000) and from 2000 different clergy provided spiritual services. Fr. Bohdan Nahachewsky was appointed pastor of the parish in 2006.