Willowbrook – Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary (closed)
Willowbrook church of the Protection of the B.V.M. constructed 1951-1952, 15 miles west of Yorkton; R.M. 244.
WILLOWBROOK — The church of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the first church of the parish.
Propam’yatna Knyha 1941 mentions Willowbrook as a mission post ministered by the Redemptorist Fathers from Yorkton. In 1941, 49 children were registered in the summer catechism classes conducted by the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate. Seven years later, members of this mission post purchased two acres of land for $70 and, between 1951-1952, constructed the for the sum of $15,000. Construction of the church was carried out by Theodore (Fred) Buchko and sons from Ituna and was under the auspices of the construction committee consisting of: John Lemchuk, Steve Holow-ka, Dmytro (Matt) Pankoski and Peter Blazeiko. In 1975 the church was renovated and its exterior was refinished with white masonite siding. Bishop Andrew Roborecki visited the parish on several occasions and blessed the cornerstone of the church on October 14, 1956.
The church is a wood constructed cruciform structure. 62 x 44 feet, with an interior height of 30 feet. It has a complementing shingled gable roof apexed by a domed cupola at its front summit; two similar cupolas apex the frontal towers. The interior of the church is finished with a combination of wood panelling and donnacona, and is divided into the three principal areas consisting of: the sanctuary, the cruciform nave and the vestibule. Behind the main alter hangs a large oil on canvas icon of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary painted in 1956 by the church artist Theodore Baran. Two side altars with glass-mounted oil prints are dedicated to the Holy Mother of God and Christ, Who Loves Mankind. As in other churches of similar architectural style, the vaulted ceilings in the four wings of the church converge triangularly into a slight dome above the central area of the cruciform structure. The church has two sacristies, a choirloft, wooden pews seating approx. 120 persons, electricity and central oil heating. The basement of the church serves as a parish hall with kitchen facilities.
Near the church stands a mission cross dating to 1958; the succeeding mission was held in 1973. The parish does not have a private cemetery but utilizes the municipal cemetery in nearby Yorkton.
The first members of the parish arrived in Willow-brook between 1920 and 1930 from Beaver Dale and Plain View. Rev. Roman Chomiak, CSSR, celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in the parish on Sunday, August ‘ 23, 1942; there were fifteen member families at that time. The first parish committee was selected in 1945 under the directorship of Rev Stephen Bachtalowski, CSSR, and consisted of: Wasyi Pachoiko, Dymtro Pan-koski, and Ivan (John) Blischak. The cantors who have served the parish since its inception have been: Andrew Wantuch, Dimetro Hiduk, John Bonsai, Kazmir Churko, Frank Smerchanski, Nick Tretiak and Edward Pindus.
In 1955 the parish consisted of 25 famlies (Saskatchewan Jubilee Book), in 1961 there were 135 souls (Directory) and in 1975 there were 19 families and 3 single members from a radius of about ten miles. In 1976 the parish was under the directorship of: Redemp-torist Fathers, pastors, Harry Lazurko, Stanley Kar-pinski and Joseph Kruda.
The Ukrainian Catholic parish of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Willowbrook, is under the pastoral charge of Yorkton.