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"RAW" 2003 Obituary


RAWLINGS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-09 published
Bishop served Ukrainian Catholics
Priest confronted the Vatican over mandatory retirement and ordination of married ministers
By Jordan HEATH- RAWLINGS Saturday, August 9, 2003 - Page F10
Toronto -- Isidore BORECKY, who served as Ukrainian Eparch for Toronto and Eastern Canada for more than half a century, died in his sleep on July 23 at Toronto Western Hospital after a long illness. He was 92.
His death came mere hours before Reverend Stephen CHMILAR was installed as Ukrainian Catholic bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada, the post Father BORECKY fought long and hard to keep.
Born in Ostrivets, Ukraine, on October 1, 1911, Father BORECKY dedicated more than 60 years of his life to the priesthood, and spent his time fostering religious vocations, establishing lay organizations, churches and senior citizens homes for Ukrainian Catholics.
Father BORECKY, Canada's last bishop ordained by Pope Pius Twelfth, entered the priesthood in Munich in July of 1938. He then left Germany for Canada in November of the same year.
From 1938 to 1941, he worked in several churches in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In 1941, he was appointed pastor at Saint John the Baptist Church in Brantford, Ontario, where he would work for seven years, serving his faithful as well as mission parishes in nearby Grimsby, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland.
On March 3, 1948, Father BORECKY was named by Pope Pius Twelfth to the post of Apostolic Exarch of Eastern Canada. He was consecrated in St. Michael's Cathedral on May 27, and began to organize the new exarchate. During the next eight years, he would achieve his most memorable goal, as the exarchate was raised to the status of eparchy, or diocese, in 1956.
Some of Father BORECKY's most notable work came in Toronto during this period, when he oversaw the rise of many Catholic church institutions -- he encouraged parishioners to erect St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church -- and helped to integrate Eastern Rite Catholic schools into the framework of what would eventually become the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
On February 24, 1952, Father BORECKY celebrated a divine liturgy at St. Teresa's Church, and during the service he encouraged the faithful to begin the construction of their own church building.
A church property was purchased for $1,500 and on March 22, 1954, Father BORECKY blessed it. Parishioners donated their time and labour and on September 6, 1954, the parish hall was opened. The consecration of the church was celebrated on October 16, 1954, and Reverend Walter FIRMAN was appointed the first parish priest.
As leader of Canada's largest Ukrainian Catholic diocese, Father BORECKY was very approachable, said Reverend Taras DUSANOWSKYJ, who is currently pastor at St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toronto.
"He was very much oriented towards his people," he said. "He was very welcoming, open and certainly ecumenical.
"He had a relationship with everyone. He knew all his clergy by name, he knew a lot of the parishioners. He was a very warm person."
He was also a man who stood devoutly for his eparchy's right to practise the Eastern Rites.
Serving as bishop at a time after the Vatican decreed in 1929 that no married men could be ordained into the priesthood, he would arrange for his priests who had wives or wished to marry to be transported to Yugoslavia or Ukraine, where they could be ordained in the traditional Eastern rites, which does not require celibacy.
Father DUSANOWSKYJ, who is one of 40 married priests out of about 75 in the eparchy, said the Vatican did not take well to his plans, but couldn't stop a man who was so strong-minded.
"Certainly there were times when he got his wrist slapped, or he would be called in so they could complain," he said. "But for the most part he simply ignored it because he knew that this was part of our tradition, and without married clergy our eparchy would have been in a tremendous shortage."
Father BORECKY kept the title of bishop until 1998, at the age of 86, 11 years past his required retirement age, when he relinquished it after five years of sparring with the Vatican over the naming of bishop Roman DANYLAK as apostolic administrator for the Toronto eparchy.
Father BORECKY confronted the Vatican over the rule, which states that bishops must retire at the age of 75. He contended that the rule did not apply to him, as he was leader of an Eastern Rite church.
One last accolade came in December of last year, when Ukrainian President Leonid KUCHMA gave him, along with Archbishop Vsevolod MAJDANSKI of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States, special commendation orders for service to Ukraine.
Father BORECKY's funeral was held on July 26 at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Holy Dormition, his funeral mass led by Ukraine's Cardinal Lubomyr HUSAR, the Major Archbishop of Lviv and spiritual leader to more than five million Ukrainian Catholics worldwide. He has been buried in the family plot at Mount Peace Cemetery.

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RAWLINGS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-19 published
Neighbours grieve power-outage victim
15-year-old who died in Ottawa-area house fire remembered for 'a big heart.
He was a good boy.'
By Jordan HEATH- RAWLINGS and Kim LUNMAN Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - Page A3
The house where Michael THOMAS lived remains dark, burned-out and deserted. The power has been restored to the a small Gloucester, Ontario, neighbourhood, but the mood remains black.
"It shocked the community. It shocked everyone," said Tracy YOUNG, who lives beside the THOMASes' house. "It's pretty tense around here."
Michael's grieving family are staying in a motel while they recover from the trauma. The 15-year-old boy died during last Thursday's blackout, when a candle he took to ward off the darkness for his frightened sister ignited a fire when he fell asleep.
"He went to comfort her because she was afraid of the dark," said neighbour Jim SCRIVENER, who has set up a trust fund, along with other members of the community, to help Michael's family get back on their feet. "He had a big heart. He was a good boy.
"Michael was close to his sister and very protective of her," Mr. SCRIVENER said.
Michael, 15, was autistic and appeared much younger, he said, and was more like an eight-year-old in his demeanour.
The fire started after Michael's sister, Jennifer, left the room to join their mother, Erika, who was sitting outside. One of the candles Michael had taken to her room ignited a stuffed animal.
Ms. THOMAS was sitting outside with various neighbours, including Ms. YOUNG who lives next door, when the fire started.
Ms. YOUNG said that Ms. THOMAS noticed the smoke when she went in the house to put Jennifer back to bed.
"She ran back to my house and asked if I had a flashlight," Ms. YOUNG said. "I asked her what was wrong and she said 'I smell smoke,' so I grabbed the candle and ran up her stairs and you couldn't get up. It was just filled with smoke.
"But we never heard a smoke alarm, we never even smelled anything," she said.
The house was equipped with three fire alarms, but all of them were powered by alternating current electricity -- not batteries and were not operating during the blackout.
Ms. YOUNG and Ms. THOMAS ran to another neighbour's house, and when he couldn't find a way in, some of those outside hooked up Ms. YOUNG's garden hose and tried quench the flames in order to rush up the stairs to Michael's aid.
"They were yelling his name inside, when they brought the hose up, and they were screaming, really screaming, but there was no answer, no nothing from him," she said. "Then they tried to go on the roof and they broke the window and that's when the fire department showed up."
Michael's parents and sister have been left homeless by the fire and are living in an Ottawa motel while they grieve. The family who were living in subsidized housing -- did not have insurance. Michael's father, Dan, a security guard, was at work when the fire occurred.
"They're still in shock," said Mr. SCRIVENER, who started a fund in Michael's name yesterday at the Gloucester Centre branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Ottawa. He said all other Ottawa Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce branches will also accept donations and that he is hoping Canadians across the country will also help the family.
"They didn't have much to begin with," Mr. SCRIVENER said. Michael's sister "is taking it very, very hard," he said. The boy will be buried after a funeral Friday.
His death was one of the few attributed to the blackout in most of Ontario that left 10 million Canadians without electricity. Another 40 million people in the northeastern United States, from New York City to Ohio and Michigan, were also affected.
Another neighbour tried to save the teenager from the blaze at the townhouse complex but was too late. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
Mr. SCRIVENER remembered Michael during a happier time in the neighbourhood when people gathered outside to gaze at the sky during a lunar eclipse. Michael was there.
"He had a big smile that night," Mr. SCRIVENER said. "He was a nice kid."
Michael's young demeanour made him a perfect playmate for her four-year-old son, Nathan, Ms. YOUNG said.
"They got along so well. It was excellent," she said. "My son would always ask me, 'Can I go play with Michael now?' "
"Michael would come over and see if Nathan could come out. They would always play together. He was a beautiful kid. Very nice, very shy, very polite. I never saw him hurt a fly... He was just so funny. An excellent boy."
In addition to the trust fund set up by Mr. SCRIVENER to help the family get back on its feet, the neighbourhood is soliciting donations to help pay for for flowers for Michael's funeral.
"Any extra money we get will go to help the family buy whatever they need," Ms. YOUNG said. "We want to do something, whatever we can."

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