Back in the 1950s when many of our churches were built, asbestos was a very popular building product. It was fire proof and a very good insulator.

The old timers tell of stories about how left-over asbestos was spread over playgrounds so that child could play in it. That was then; now workers dressed like moon walkers remove the material from buildings because it is now understood to be one of the most dangerous materials around.

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The space-like walking workers will soon appear at our Ukrainian Catholic Church in Perth in a month-long exercise to remove the cancer-causing material from the parish church.

Bishop Peter travelled to Perth for a meeting of the Parish Council on Friday, 2nd March 2018. The meeting finalized the project. The contract will be signed, and work will begin.

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The cost of the asbestos removal which is mostly in the ceiling of the church and reconstruction will be over $300,000.00

A fund-raising committee has been organized. Fr. Ihor Holovko, pastor, acknowledged that it will be a huge burden on the small congregation, but it must be done.

The congregation has moved its regular Sunday services to the parish hall months ago. The church itself was sealed when regular testing revealed that asbestos fibres had started to fall.

The removal of asbestos is not covered by insurance nor is there any government help for the clean-up. The parishioners themselves and generous donors from Australia will help St. John’s parish to worship in a “clean” church within a few months. We all wish them well.

In 1965, with Fr Ivan Szewcziw as pastor, a committee was formed to build a Ukrainian Catholic Church in Maylands. They bought land for 3,600 pounds and in a major community effort built the church in only one year. Bishop Ivan Prasko blessed the church in 1966. This was an outstanding achievement for a community which only landed in Australia in 1949. The effort created a faith and dedication which still is evident today.

This post is also available in: Ukrainian