IRON RIVER – St . JOHN the BAPTIST Parish – Парафія св. Івана Хрестителя
The Ukrainian Catholic Parish of St. John the Baptist is located 32 km. from Bonnyville and was established in 1932. Thanks to D. Panas and Roman Slawuta, Fr. J. Tymochko came for the pre-Easter celebrations. Then first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the house of Roman Slawuta (one of the first settlers) in 1932 and it was so until 1936 when the new church (34’ x 25’) was completed. Fr. Josaphat Tymochko blessed the church on August 2, 1936. The contractors were: P. Syrotiuk and N. Lozynsky. During the time of the depression the faithful were very generous: the land was donated by I. Hunka; the lumber and the shingles were given by the Panas family. There are also 2 acres of land attached to the church for the cemetery. A church residence was built in 1938 and the inside was completed in 1945.
The first Parish council consisted of the following parishioners: R. Slawuta, D. Panas, S. Kruk, N. Panas, P. Hawryliuk, V. Tverdokhlib, T. Yadlovskyi and V. Benyo. The parish had a strong Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada and a group of altar boys. In 1958 the services were held once a month and were attended by 60 people.
The following Basilian Fathers provided the services: Fr. Josaphat Tymochko (1932), Fr. George Zydan (1933-1936), Fr. Dionisius Dzygolyk, Fr. Bessarion Andreychuk and Fr. Lawrence Dzygolyk.
From the Eparchial clergy we have the following names: Fr. Michael Hawryluk (1949), Fr. Michael Gural (1950-1955), Fr. George Maly (1956), Fr. Dmytro Hnat (1957-1980), Fr. Ivan Makuch (1981-1985), Fr. Joseph Royer (1989-1991), Fr. Austin Borynec (1992), Fr. Myron Pyszcz (1993-1996), Fr. Ron Hollohan (1997-1998), Fr. Roman Dobrianski (1999-2008), Fr. Mark Sych (2008- ).