St John the Baptist Parish was actually started in 1952, three years after Ukrainians first came to Western Australia. For 14 years they were graciously hosted by Archbishop Redmond Prendiville in the Roman Catholic parishes in Perth.
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.
On July 17, 2016, about 140 people gathered to thank God for the blessings of the past. Only one original member of the building committee of about 30, Mr. W. Kociuruba, was able to attend-albeit in a wheelchair. There are only 2 others still alive today.
There was a very warm feeling at the thanksgiving Liturgy at the church and then at the Maylands Golf Club for the official ceremony.
Bishop Peter Stasiuk came from Melbourne for the occasion. The present pastor is Father Ihor Holovko and the assistant is Fr Richard Charlwood. Sr Muriel SSMI is present at the parish. Soon there will be another Sister from Canada to join her.
The parish is faithful to its roots and has a strong community structures. There is a Ukrainian school, Bible classes, Icon painting, and a strong prayer life. There are many new Ukrainian families from Ukraine and others are moving in occasionally from other parts of Australia.
The parish has solid roots and it needs them to grow into the future.
This post is also available in: Ukrainian