Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit constructed 1954 in south-easterly Melfort; R.M. 428.
MELFORT — The church of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) is the first church of the parish.
The church was constructed in 1954 in Melfort on a 120 x 50 foot site purchased from the town for $250. A porch-vestibule and two front towers with cupolas were added in 1965. In 1974 the basement was reconstructed and now serves as a parish hall with kitchen facilities. Construction of this church, total costs $1,500, was accomplished through the generous contributions and voluntary labour of the parishioners who were directed by Michael Brodoway assisted by Alexander Zubiak. During its construction, the church was blessed by Rev. Basil Sawchuk, DD. Bishop Andrew Roborecki visited the parish and celebrated Pontifical Divine Liturgy in 1956 and 1969.
The wooden church structure, situated on a high concrete basement, is in the form of a rectangle, 50 x 30 feet, with a complementing gable roof. The church is east-west oriented with the sanctuary and two small sacristies in the east and the vestibule and choir loft, reached from the nave, in the west. The confessionals are at the north wall beneath the choir loft. The vaulted ceiling and upper half of the walls are finished with donnacona and painted a light color. The lower wall areas have imitation wood panelling. The wood floor is covered with a thick carpet; the vestibule is also carpeted.
The parish residence nearby was purchased at Nipawin and moved to Melfort in 1958. The parish utilizes the town cemetery one mile south of the church.
Ukrainian settlers arrived in 1927 predominantly from the Borshchiv and Stanyslaviv counties. Initially they settled in the rural districts of Silver Park and Brooksby and later moved into Melfort. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in 1952 by Rev. Emil Nakon-echny at the home of Alexander Zubiak, as were all services prior to the construction of a church. The first parish meeting, also in 1952, selected a parish executive with John Kostiuk, president, Dmytro Piasta and later Peter Prestie, secretary, and Harasym Prozorowski, treasurer. Two years later, during the pastorate of Rev. Michael Reshetucha, the site was blessed and construction of the church began under the auspices of the parish executive which also served as the construction committee and consisted of Alexander Zubiak, president, Harasym Prozorowski, vice-president, Peter Prestie, secretary and Michael Yarmie, treasurer.
The parish had nine founding members. In 1961 there were 66 souls (Directory) and in 1975 there were 40 families. In 1976 the parish was under the directorship of: Rev. John Kobelak, MSF, pastor, Barry Bulych, Victor Grodzinski, Peter Panchyshyn, Mike Arsenic, Joe Kostyniuk, Steve Starosta, Peter Kostyn-iuk, Mike March, Dmytro Syniuk and Nick Zuk.
The Ukrainian Catholic parish of the Descent of the Holy Spirit in Melfort is the seat of the pastoral district of Melfort with satellite parishes at Brooksby, Gronlid, Yellow Creek, Nipawin town and Nipawin farms. Pastor of the parish and church district since 1968 has been Rev. John Kobelak, MSF.
Box 3921, Melfort, Saskatchewan SOE 1AO
In 1927 settlers immigrated predominantly from the Ukrainian counties ofBorshchiv and Stanyslaviv. They settled in the rural districts of Silver Park and Brooksby and later moved to Melfort. In 1952 a Ukrainian Catholic Church parish was established and its nine founding members met at the home of Alexander Zubiak. That year they celebrated their first Divine Liturgy with Rev. Emil Nakonechny and held their first parish meeting. The following executive was selected: President: John Kostiuk; Secretary: Dmytro Piasta and later, Peter Prestie; Treasurer: Harasym Prozorowski.
In 19 the 120 x 50-foot lot, with civic address of #217 – 2nd Avenue South, was purchased from the Town of Melfort for $250.00 and was blessed by Rev. Michael Reshetucha. Under the auspices of the parish executive and direction of Michael Brodoway, construction commenced. The executive served as the construction committee while the parishioners gave generously of their finances, time and effort until the church building was erected. During its construction the church was blessed by Rev. Basil Sawchuk D.D. Further construction to the building in 1965 added the porch-vestibule and two front towers with cupolas. Reconstruction in 1974 developed the basement into a parish hall with kitchen facilities. The total cost to build the church, including additions and renovations, was $1,500.00.
The wooden church structure is rectangular in shape with dimensions of 50 x 30 feet. The church is east-west oriented with the sanctuary centrally located, two small sacristies in the west and the vestibule and choir loft in the east. The confessionals are at the north wall beneath the choir loft. The church has a complimenting gable roof and vaulted ceiling. The upper half of the walls are finished with donnacona and painted a light green color; whereas the lower wall areas have imitation wood paneling. A thick carpet covers the wooden floor and vestibule areas.
Clergy resided at the home of Alexander Zubiak until 1958 when the first parish residence was purchased in Nipawin, moved to Melfort and set up next door to the church. In 1985, as a millenniurr (988-1988) project, a new parish residence was constructed on the same site.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit was the first church of the parish. It is the seat of the Melfort pastoral district, which encompasses churches at Gronlid, Yellow Creek, Nipawin, Porcupine Plain and Hudson Bay.
Over the years the number of members has varied and range from 9 in 1952, to 61 in 1961, to 40 families in 1975, and to 24 souls in 2003. The decline in numbers has challenged the parishioners to extend invitations to the younger generations and local residents to visit, experience or join our traditional celebration of the faith.
Divine Liturgies are celebrated predominantly in the English language and held two to three Sundays per month. Parishioners conduct lay services on the Sundays when a priest is not present. The parish Praznyk is held on the Sunday of Pentacost.
Catechism classes are available upon request and basic Ukrainian language instruction is accessible to those interested. The congregation has, over recent years, held an annual fundraising event to help finance the upkeep of the church and the needs of the eparchy. Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Church also participates in: ecumenical prayer services, outreach projects to assist those less fortunate, and visitation of the sick and elderly residing in the hospital and local nursing homes. The parish utilizes the Mount Pleasant cemetery located one mile west of the church and the cemetery located at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Maryville/Brooksby.
Resident Priest: Rev. Fr. Jeffrey Stephaniuk
President: Dennis Vera
Secretary: Marie Skwark
Treasurer: Paul Flonder
Directors: Phyllis Vera and Darrell Zary.
Cantors: Steve and Matilda Prytula, Bill and Eveline Arsenie, Maizie Parbst, Polly Skwark, Daria Stephaniuk and Marie Skwark
Melfort Descent of the Holy Spirit Church
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