In a significant announcement, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed the Reverend Father Michael Smolinski, C.Ss.R., Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, as the new Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon. This momentous decision marks a pivotal point in the ecclesiastical landscape, bringing a seasoned leader to guide the faithful in the vibrant community of Saskatchewan.
Early Years and Education
Born on September 10, 1972, Bishop-Elect Smolinski has dedicated his life to the service of God and the Church. Ordained as a priest on July 5, 2003, he embarked on a journey of education, completing his primary and secondary schooling at Greater Saskatoon Catholic schools, culminating in 1990. In 1994, he earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and in 2002, a Master of Divinity degree from the University of St. Michael’s College.
Continuing his commitment to theological studies, Bishop-Elect Smolinski achieved a Certificate in Eastern Christian Studies in 2023 from the University of St. Paul/Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies.
Ministry and Leadership
Bishop-Elect Smolinski’s pastoral journey includes diverse experiences, reflecting his dedication to the Church’s mission. He served as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Edmonton Eparchy from 1994 to 1996 and later as the assistant pastor at St. Joseph Ukrainian Church in Winnipeg from 2003 to 2005.
His role as director at The Welcome Home (Redemptorist Inner-City Mission) in Winnipeg from 2005 to 2015 showcased his commitment to community outreach. From 2015-2019, he served as the pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church Saskatoon.
Bishop-Elect Smolinski’s leadership extended to council memberships, including the Extraordinary Provincial Council Member and Ordinary Provincial Council Member in the former Redemptorist Province of Yorkton and Consultor, Eparchy of Saskatoon (2015-2019).
Elected provincial superior of the Redemptorist Province of Canada on November 9, 2022, Bishop-Elect Smolinski has continually demonstrated his passion for serving the Church and its followers.
The Future Eparch of Saskatoon
While the enthronement date awaits announcement, Bishop-Elect Smolinski is poised to take on the responsibilities of leading the Eparchy of Saskatoon. His appointment brings anticipation and excitement to the Ukrainian Catholic community in Saskatchewan, replacing the current apostolic administrator, the Most Rev. Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Canada.
Eparchy of Saskatoon: A Community Overview
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon encompasses approximately 90 parishes, 15 eparchial priests, 8 priests from monastic communities or religious orders, 3 deacons, 18 nuns, and around 3,100 Catholic laypeople. Additionally, the Eparchy includes one Catholic school with a Ukrainian Bilingual Program, a Nursing Home run by the Sisters of St. Joseph’s, and three Senior Citizens’ Residences.
As the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatchewan, the Eparchy plays a vital role in fostering faith, community, and cultural heritage. The arrival of Bishop-Elect Smolinski is met with great hope and enthusiasm as he prepares to guide this diverse and dynamic community into a new chapter of spiritual growth and unity.
In conclusion, the appointment of Reverend Father Michael Smolinski as the new Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon heralds a new era for the faithful in Saskatchewan. His wealth of experience, commitment to service, and dedication to theological study position him as a fitting leader to guide the community towards spiritual fulfillment and continued growth. The Eparchy eagerly awaits the announcement of Bishop-Elect Smolinski’s enthronement, marking the beginning of an exciting chapter in its rich history.