On May 25, 2022 Fr. Jim Nakonechny, parish administrator of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church in Red Deer, organized a bus trip to East Central Alberta for 120 students from the Ukrainian Bilingual Program from St. Brendan Catholic Junior Highschool.
The first stop was the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chipman where Fr. Jim explained to the students in Ukrainian and English, the significance of Byzantine church architecture and iconography. Then the students participated in a Moleben to the Blessed Virgin Mary, took a group photo, and sang a prayer at the grave of Vasyl Eleniak, the first immigrant from Ukraine to Canada.
The next stop was the Basilian Fathers Museum in Mundare, where the curator, Karen Lemiski greeted the students and welcomed them to explore the treasures within the museum.
The final stop for the day was to Holy Ascension Ukrainian Catholic Church at New Kiew where all of the students were welcomed by the local pastor Fr. Danylo Bodnar, and treated to a delicious lunch by the New Kiew Ukrainian Catholic Ladies League and parishioners. After lunch the students spent time viewing the well kept church, bell tower and cemetery, before departing back to Edmonton.
Fr. Jim regularly offers talks and tours of rural Ukrainian churches, so that the beauty and history of these testaments to the faith of our pioneers is not forgotten by future generations.