Rt. Rev. Msgr. Mitrat Michael Buyachok. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear brother on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Msgr. Michael is survived by his sister and brother, Sister Andreja Vladia of Sugarloaf PA and Bohdan of Winnipeg. Also mourning his passing is the Kozelko family, numerous cousins in Winnipeg, the United States and Ukraine, as well as many beloved close friends and religious. Msgr. was predeceased by his parents Andrew in 1975 and Catherine in 2019.
Our brother was born in Strasbourg France on October 16, 1939. With hopes for a better life, our parents, along with young Michel, immigrated to Canada in January of 1948, arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax before journeying by train to Winnipeg. Settling in the North End, our parents became members of Blessed Virgin Mary parish where our brother’s lifelong inseparable connection with the church began. In these early formative pre-seminary days, our brother was always involved with the church in some capacity, either through various clubs, organizations or ventures. This involvement blossomed into the focal point of his life with his decision to enter the seminary and consecrate his life to God.
In 1964, Michael began his studies at St. Josephat’s Seminary and Pontifical Institute in Rome. On August 17th, 1969 our brother was ordained Priest in his home parish of Blessed Virgin Mary by His Grace Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk. Returning to Rome, Fr. Michael completed his Master’s Degree in Theology before returning home at the request of the Metropolitan to begin his pastoral duties.
In 1971, he was appointed pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Ethelbert Manitoba and was also elected school trustee to the Duck Mountain School Division. From 1974 to 1994, our brother was pastor at St. Michael’s Parish in Transcona where he initiated many projects including the beautification of the church’s interior with mosaics and a new iconostas, as well as spearheading the completion of St. Michael’s Villa Senior’s Home and Parish Cultural Center. During this time, he also served as Vice Chancellor, Chancellor and Econome for the Archeparchy of Winnipeg. In 1974, he was elected school trustee for the Transcona-Springfield School Division and faithfully served in that capacity for the next 20 years. Our brother was an active member of the Knights of Columbus, 3rd and 4th Degrees, serving as Grand Knight as well as Council and State Chaplain. While at St. Michael’s, our brother was one of three coordinators who prepared the visit of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Winnipeg in 1984. From 1994 to 2005, Fr. Michael was pastor at Holy Resurrection Parish in Dauphin where he oversaw the installation of the many stained-glass windows that adorn the church. From 1995 to 1999 he was President of the National Federation of Priests Council and served on the National Executive for over 15 years. From 2005 to 2019 he was rector at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir and Olga where he initiated extensive church renovations and oversaw the maintenance of the Cathedral’s historical beauty.
Fr. Michael was very proud of his Ukrainian heritage and equally proud of Canada, his adoptive land. Small Ukrainian and Canadian flags were always fixtures in both his pastoral and home offices. He loved to travel, having visited 5 of the 7 continents as part of the 19 world tours he organized. He loved attending the symphony and opera and was always present at the many events and festivities organized by the Ukrainian Community. He greatly enjoyed the discussions and social interactions he had with his many friends and colleagues. But most of all, our brother relished being a priest. It was what defined him, the very essence of who he was and what he represented. Dedication and commitment to the duty of vocation marked all of his tenures, where he was always prepared to attend to the spiritual needs of his congregations and to provide assistance to various parochial organizations as well as Church and secular bodies. His ministry was considerably more than just celebrating liturgy, christening, marrying and burying people. It was Catholic stewardship, which never tired in well doing, being ready at every time of day or night to provide help, reassurance and support in every possible way, being a good companion on sunny days and a sympathetic advisor when things went wrong.
Our brother endeavoured to be a model of kindness and love and forgiveness to all those around him because he himself received kindness and love and forgiveness from God through Christ. His responsibilities were met with courage, his problems were resolved with skill and his religious vocation was executed with strength, wisdom and unwavering faith.
Sincere thanks to the family as well as all our brother’s friends who called and visited him during his illness. Thanks to Fr. Lukie and Sister Darlene for their friendship and help throughout this difficult stage in our brother’s life. Thanks to Drs. Taras and Andrea Babick for all the years of dedicated service. A very special thanks and appreciation to the entire staff of St. Paul’s Ward at Holy Family Home for your respectful and compassionate care. And lastly, thanks be to God for the wonderful gift of our brother. We are most grateful for his precious life. Priestly Parastas will be held on Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 PM. Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Friday, November 4 at 10:00 AM. Both services will be at Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 965 Boyd Avenue. Our brother has been called home to our merciful Father. May he rest in eternal peace. Forever in our memory, Vichnaya Pamyat. Korban Funeral Chapel in care of arrangements – 956-2153
Flowers gratefully declined. Should friends desire, donations may be made to Aid for Ukraine c/o Archeparchy of Winnipeg, 233 Scotia Street, Wpg. MB, R2V 1V7 or to Holy Annunciation Monastery, 403 West County Road, Sugarloaf, PA, 18249, USA.
For those unable to attend, the events will also be live-streamed and recorded through the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Youtube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPjzDCTdmwZC4OmqinglwHA/live