INNISFREE – St. JOSAPHAT Parish – Парафія св. свщм. Йосафата
Location: Town of Innisfree (Lot 1 & 2, Bl. 12, Pl. 8776) is located 160 km. east of Edmonton. The property was purchased from the Roman Catholics on April 12, 1951. The first services were held in private homes, and finally in 1954 the community started to build a new church. The church structure (48’ x 28’ x 10’) was designed by Micholas Fliak of Edmonton and Volodymyr Stoyko of Fidelity was the contractor. By the end of 1972, the construction costs of the last enlargement of the church were estimated at $20,000.00. The biggest donations came from Paranka Sadova and Fred Pshyk, however, every member was committed to donate at least $50.00.
Innisfree town had a diverse Ukrainian population. Some Ukrainians were close to communist ideology and some belonged to the masonry with their own hall “Ad-fellows”. The work of the Church and their clergy was very hard and great prudence was expected from the faithful. Some individuals wanted to run the parish life based not on the laws (canons) of the Church, but by
adopting some rules that eliminated the whole Ukrainian Catholic structure of administration.
In the early years the Basilian Fathers from Mundare held services in private homes and later in the Roman Catholic church. The first permanent priests came from Ukraine after World War II: Fr. Nicholas Diadio (1949-1950), Fr. Bohdan Hanushewsky (1950-1953), Fr. Yaroslaw Fedunyk (1953-1956), Fr. Roman Starodub (1956-1985), Fr. Benny Ambrose (1986-1995), Fr. Ron Hollohan (1996), Deacon Michael Schaplowsky (1997-2000), Fr. Stanislav Bjeli (2005-2008), Fr. John Sembrat, OSBM (2008- ).