A month ago today, Archbishop Michael Bzdel, the retired metropolitan archeparch of Winnipeg, died. His Grace was one of the founding directors of CNEWA Canada and he played an instrumental role in establishing our organizational structures. Three weeks ago, Carl Hétu, CNEWA’s national director in Canada, traveled to Winnipeg to pay his respects to the late metropolitan, who headed Canada’s Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
He was born in Wishart, Saskatchewan, on 21 July 1930, and was the 11th of 14 children. After completing primary schooling in Wishart, he attended St. Vladimir’s College in Roblin. This is where Michael Bzdel discovered his vocation to the religious life. In 1947, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He completed his priestly formation at St. Mary’s Seminary in Waterford-Meadowvale, and later received a graduate degree in Pastoral Counseling from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1954. After years of pastoral ministry in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, in 1993 Father Michael was ordained as archbishop of Winnipeg and metropolitan for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Canada, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. The metropolitan was a member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and had various responsibilities within the Catholic Church in Canada and Ukraine.
Numerous bishops, clergy, religious and lay people from all over North America and Europe participated in the funeral ceremonies of the archeparch, which took place on 11 and 12 April. The funeral was led by Archbishop Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., successor (old/broken link: https://cnewa.org/default.aspx?ID=766&pagetypeID=6&sitecode=SSSS&pageno=1) of the beloved departed pastor.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…