June 6, 2015

Your Excellency Bishop David, Reverend Fathers, Sisters family, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.

I am Bessie Fedoruk a granddaughter of the late Peter Siracky who we remember and celebrate along with his little chapel. Today, l feel very privileged and thankful to God for being here, because so very many are not, may they rest in peace.

It must have been the year 1939 when our grandfather got this idea to build a little stone chapel on his farm in dedication of the 50th year of the coming of Ukrainian pioneers to Canada in 1891-1941. Then on August 5th, 1990 it was rededicated to the 100th anniversary with a mass and dinner attended by many people under-taken by a grandson Joseph and his wife Jennie Siracky, a 3′ generation farmer on site.

I was about eleven years old when dad drove our gido to a farm someplace on the north side of Elk Island Park and south of Lamont to see this stone mason, a Mr. Frank Rupchuk, who was hired to do the building. This same person was the one who built the United Church in Lamont. The site was prepared and finally the building started. I recall a beautiful sunny morning when at least three neighbours came driving two horses pulling a stone boat with a pile of large rocks they collected off their land just so they could watch the stone mason at work. Much more I don’t remember, but one day it was finished, beautifully painted with angels and stars on the ceiling. Then low and behold a time later the paint started running off the angels and they disappeared. Because the building was quite air-tight and it was either very hot or cold. Two panes of glass were removed from the middle of each window and replaced with a screen for fresh air.

On the altar is a statue of St. Bernadette as she saw a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France.

The chapel was officially opened and dedicated on August 28th, 1940 by Reverend Father Ramanovich.

I recall the days before gido, our dad and his brother Mike (there may have been others) planting trees around and putting up signs to the north and south to drive carefully. To the east of grandfather’s house there were rows of quite large caragana trees and in between a couple of these rows they, set up tables and benches for a dinner after mass. Who prepared the meal I don’t know, but recently one of my aunts said our mother made soup.

After that, during the month of October and May, our gido encouraged us to walk with him in the early evenings to the chapel to recite the rosary and we would sing hymns, a favourite was Prenebesana Prechudesna Diva Maria. l was so proud to do this with gido. Sometimes mom and dad came too, but there were small babies to look after.

That December I turned thirteen in January of 1941, our mother passed away and much of the time after is a blank. Life goes on and its seventy-five years later and I’m still here. Thank you God for now and years past, and thank you all for listening to me.

I want to take this time to say “Thank You” to Jennie Siracky, Brian Bilyk, and the late Florence Carter for planning this day. It has been going on for quite a few years.

Now if I may, I would like you to join me one more time for gido in the singing of that favourite hymn, Prenebesana Prechudesna Diva Maria.

Than you all.

Bessie Fedoruk