ABOUT THE PARISH
Welcome to our parish! It is our desire that all people will come to know, love and serve the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one God in Three Persons revealed to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. We invite you to participate in our Sunday Divine Liturgy. Discover for yourself the joys and challenges found in the fullness of our Christian Faith and Life celebrated in Ukrainian (Byzantine) Catholic Tradition.
Wednesday, May 5, 1999, is a significant date for our parish family. On this date two communities were amalgamated into one worshipping church: Christ the Good Shepherd/St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. The faithful of both parishes gathered at 7:30 p.m. to welcome their Bishop, Most Reverend Cornelius Pasichny and to celebrate the installation of Fr. Terry Lozynsky as the pastor of the combined parishes. A Moleben Service in honour of the Mother of God was celebrated and everyone gathered in the parish hall for a social. The following Sunday, May 9, a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving was celebrated and the new life of the parish began.
A brief history follows in order to discover our roots and to pay tribute to the people who volunteered their time and talents to the glory of God.
St. Michael’s Church
The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in New Toronto on Easter Sunday, April 28, 1940 by Fr. P. Salyatytsky, assisted by Deacons J. Krystalovich and Walter Firman. The next year, on Easter Sunday, Fr. Andrew Roberecki, rector of St. Josaphat’s Cathedral, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Teresa’s Roman Catholic Church.
Community life began to grow with the establishment of a Ukrainian Language School by the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Sr. Matthew served as director and the first classes were conducted in the home of the Mostoways.
Parish life continued on a limited basis during the years 1944-48.
With the arrival of the new Ukrainian immigrants from Europe in 1949, Bishop Isidore Borecky designated the parish as a mission station and assigned Fr. Lawryshyn the responsiblity for the welfare of this mission.
On February 24, 1952, Bishop Isidore celebrated a Divine Liturgy at St. Teresa’s Church assisted by Fr. Lipsky and Fr. Lawryshyn. During this Service Bishop encouraged the faithful to begin the construction of their own church building.
A church property was purchased for $1,500.00 and on March 22, 1954 Bishop Isidore blessed the property. Architectural plans were executed by John Pylypenko.
Immediately parishioners donated their time and labour and on September 6, 1954, the parish hall was opened. The solemn consecration of the church was celebrated on October 16, 1954 and Fr. Walter Firman was appointed the first parish priest.
Fr. Firman died suddenly on July 20, 1967 and Fr. Bohdan Ostapowych was appointed pastor on September 15.
During the following years a Ukrainian Language School was established. Parish organizations included a church choir, a branch of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada and Altar Servers. A beautiful iconostas was erected in the sanctuary in March, 1974. Volodymyr Barak carved the icon screen and the Sviatoslav Hordynskyj painted the icons.
Christ the Good Shepherd
On January 14, 1998, under Prot. No. 1/98 Bishop Isidore Borecky officially established a new parish community dedicated to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ under the title of Christ the Good Shepherd.
Temporary residence for the parish was the gymnasium of St. Pius X Catholic School located in the Jane/Bloor area of Toronto.
The first organizational meeting of this parish was held on Thursday, March 12, 1998 and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday, March 29, 1998. Bishop Isidore celebrated the Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy with the newly established parish on Sunday, April 5.
Parish life began to flourish and new parishioners were attracted to this vibrant community whose mission statement emphasized “welcoming the new, the wandering, the poor and the isolated.”
During this entire period efforts were being made to find a permanent home for the community. With the support of a major donor negotiations were almost finalized to purchase a beautiful Anglican church and property in the High Park area of Toronto. At the last moment directions were received from the Chancery Office and in a letter dated April 15, 1999 (Prot. No. 14/99) Bishop Cornelius Pasichny requested the blending of Christ the Good Shepherd with St. Michael’s.
Parishioners expressed disappointment at this request but after prayer and reflection they faithfully accepted the direction of the Bishop and began the move to Sixth Street in the Lakeshore/Islington area of Toronto.