ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL BZDEL CSSR (Emeritus)
Most Rev. Michael Bzdel CSsR, Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Winnipeg, fell asleep in the Lord at his residence late Tuesday evening, 3 April 2012, at the age of 81.
The son of the late Theodore and Eudokia (nee Wasyluk) Bzdel, Michael was born in Wishart, Saskatchewan on 21 July 1930. The 11th of 14 children, he received his primary schooling in Wishart, SK, and then attended St. Vladimir’s College, Roblin MB for his secondary education from 1944-47.
It was at St. Vladimir’s College, served by the Redemptorist Fathers, that Michael discerned his call to follow his Lord Jesus Christ by entering religious life. On 8 September 1947 he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) and on 19 August 1952 he professed his perpetual vows.
He undertook his philosophical and theological studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Waterford-Meadowvale ON (1948-1955) and at St. Paul’s University, Ottawa ON, completing a graduate program in Pastoral Counseling in 1971-1972.
He was ordained to the diaconate on 13 February 1954 by Bishop Isidore Borecky and to the priesthood on 7 July 1954 at St. Mary’s Church, Yorkton SK, by Bishop Andrew Roborecky.
He served in pastoral ministry in Yorkton, SK (1955), Ituna, SK (1956), Roblin, MB (1956 to 1967), Winnipeg, MB (1967 to 1971), Saskatoon, SK (1972 to 1981), and Yorkton, SK (1981 to 1984), including the district area parishes.
In 1984, Fr. Michael was elected as Provincial Superior of the Yorkton Redemptorist Province, a postion he held until December 1992.
On 9 March 1993, Fr. Michael Bzdel was ordained as Archbishop of Winnipeg and Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, a position he held until his retirement in January 2006. As Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan he was a member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, served on various CCCB committees and participated in the IXth Ordinary Papal Synod of Bishops in Rome. He was also a member of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church during its period of restructuration in Ukraine, the homeland of his parents.
Even in retirement Archbishop Michael continued to provide pastoral ministry especially to the residents of Holy Family Home and to whomever needed spiritual support.
Archbishop Michael was predeceased by his parents, Theodore and Eudokia, and 9 of his brothers and sisters. He is survived by 4 sisters: Minnie Sawchyn, Doris (Joseph) Sawchen, Marion Courte and Irene Yaskowich, plus numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services will be held in Winnipeg beginning on Wednesday, 11 April 2012, at 7:00 pm at Sts. Vladimir & Olga Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, 115 McGregor St. with Hierarchal Parastas. Services will continue on Thursday, 12 April 2012, at 10:00 am at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, 250 Jefferson Ave. with the Divine Liturgy and concluding rites, followed by burial at Holy Family Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary School (Winnipeg) Building Fund.