Ukrainian Church delegation visiting Portage 0
Left to right, Archbishop James Weisgerber (from Winnipeg); His Eminence Metropolitan Yuriy (from Winnipeg); Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh (Synod of the Bishops of the Ukraine Church) (from Ukraine); and His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk (Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church) (from Ukraine). They are seen listening to (not shown) Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak (Archbishop of Winnipeg), who was speaking to guests at Canad Inns Portage la Prairie on Monday. (Angela Brown, QMI Agency)
The Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops is making an historic visit to Portage la Prairie this week, while it holds its annual conference.
About 40 bishops from around the world are attending the event at Canad Inns.
Manitoba was selected for this special event, as this year represents the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Bishop Nykyta Budka, the first Ukrainian bishop in Canada.
The aim of the event in Portage is to look at the future of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, with special focus on the role of the laity.
During their visit to Portage, the delegation will also spend time having a tour of the city.
Mayor Earl Porter said he appreciates having the bishops’ historic visit in Portage.
"It is a big deal for Portage and for Manitoba," he said. "It is not a common thing that all these people come to one place at one time, so it is something really to behold.”
Fr. Michael S. Kwiatkowski, from Winnipeg, has been assisting with the synod in Portage this week.
"They decided to hold their synod here in Winnipeg and Portage because they are celebrating in Canada the 100th anniversary of the appointment of the first Ukrainian Catholic bishop in Canada," he said. "This is the third time they have done this in their history -- from outside of the Ukraine ... It is probably not going to happen again.
“This is certainly an historic experience for Canada, the Ukrainian community and the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada,” Kwiatkowski added. "They chose Portage because there are beautiful accommodations here ... They wanted to have peace and quiet because it is a working session, and they have a lot of things they want to do."
During the synod, there will also be a separate event open to the public — the play Damien, about a priest who devoted his life to the lepers, will be performed at Church of the Assumption on Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance for this performance by calling 857-5495.