Republished with permission.


by Liz Jacobsen (and photo credit)

Apr 28, 2024

PREECEVILLE – Bishop Michael Smolinski, C.Ss.R. had a busy weekend recently, greeting parishioners from the Ukrainian Catholic Churches in the area. He attended services in Buchanan and Preeceville on Saturday April 20 and four services on Sunday in Kamsack, Canora, Norquay and Arran. Father Ivan [Simko] accompanied him to each parish.

“It was wonderful to meet all the parishioners and be so warmly greeted but I found it very exhausting,” said Smolinski.

Bishop Smolinski explained that teaching was his first passion and after high school he attained a Bachelor of Education from the U of S in Saskatoon but soon discovered that was not the direction he wanted his life to go. His true calling was the church.

“While growing up, church and music has always been a big part of our family. My grandmother and her siblings have always been involved in the church with being cantors in the Arran church,” said Smolinski.

His mother (nee Strelic) was originally from the Mikado area and his father from the Vonda area. The couple met and married in Saskatoon.

He was born on September 10, 1972, in Saskatoon to Morris and Iris Smolinski, being the youngest of three children. He completed his elementary and secondary education in the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division at Bishop Pocock Elementary and Holy Cross High School, graduating in 1990. He received his Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan in 1994. From 1994 to 1996, he worked as a youth pastoral coordinator in the Edmonton Eparchy.

Michael entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) on September 1, 1997. On August 15, 2002, Michael Smolinski, C.Ss.R., took his Perpetual Vows. In 2002, he received a Masters of Divinity from the Faculty of Theology of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. He then completed further education in Eastern Christian Studies at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa in 2003. On July 5, 2003, Deacon Michael was ordained a priest by Bishop Michael Wiwchar, C.Ss.R., at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatoon.

During his priestly ministry, he first served as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Church in Winnipeg from 2003 to 2005. Father Michael was then Director of the Welcome Home in Winnipeg (2005-2015); an extraordinary member of the Redemptorist Provincial Council (since 2008); and the Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatoon (2015-2019). From August 1, 2019, he has served as the Regional Coordinator of the Yorkton Region of the Redemptorists in Canada, while being Assistant Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church. On November 17, 2022, Father Michael was elected and appointed as Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists in Canada serving from January 17 until November 30, 2023 when the Holy Father accepted the recommendation of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and appointed him Bishop of Saskatoon.

Bishop Michael Smolinski CSsR (Ukrainian: Михайло Смолінський),is a Canadian Ukrainian Greek Catholic, serving as the sixth Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon since November 30, 2023.

On January 20, 2024, Bishop Michael was consecrated at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatoon by His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk with co-consecrators Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., and Bishop Bryan Joseph Bayda, C.Ss.R.  On January 2, he was installed at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of St. George in Saskatoon. The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon encompasses approximately 90 parishes, 15 eparchial priests, eight priests from monastic communities or religious orders, three 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.

Bishop Michael’s episcopal motto is taken from the First Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to Timothy. It was a Scripture passage Bishop Michael had read around the time he received the phone call requesting his acceptance of nomination as Bishop, as well as being read at a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving for the priestly ordination of a Redemptorist friend earlier that year. It recalls the themes of Synodality, enlarging the tent of the Church, empowering the laity and openness, all of which the Bishop wishes to bring forward in his episcopal ministry.