KUCHMA firstname.lastname@example.org_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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