Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Ordination and enthronement of Bishop John S. Pazak, C.Ss.R.

It was almost 20 years ago, February 28, 1981, that Bishop Michael Rusnak, C.Ss.R., now Bishop Emeritus, was installed as the First Eparch of the newly created Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius for Byzantine Slovaks in Canada. On February 14, 2001, Feast of St. Cyril, almost twenty years later, Bishop John S. Pazak, C.Ss.R., was ordained and enthroned second Eparch of the Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius for the Byzantine Slovaks in Canada, in a Decree by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

Episcopal ordination and enthronement took place at the Slovak Cathedral of Transfiguration in Markham, just north of Toronto. Consecrating Bishop was H.E. Archbishop Metropolitan Michael Bzdel from Winnipeg, and co-consecrating Bishops were H.E. Bishop Basil Schott (Parma) and Vladyka Milan Chautur, Exarch of Kosice, Slovakia. Vladyka Milan had a homily in Slovak and Bishop Schott in English. The Decree from the Holy See was read by His Grace, Archbishop Paolo Romeo. The concelebrating clergy were led by Fr. John Fetsco, C.Ss.R., Msgr. Sinal from Montreal, Fr. Krafchik from the Cathedral, Fr. Girhiny from Welland, Fr. Cajka from Toronto, Fr. Tomko from Oshawa, Fr. Mucha from Hamilton, Fr. Jurcenko, Vice Provincial of Slovak Redemptorists for Michalovce Vice Province, Slovakia, Fr. Kamil Drab, Fr. Vladimir Tomko and Fr. Petro-all of Slovakia. They were followed by the newly appointed Bishop John Pazak, and the concelebrating Bishops: Pasichny (Toronto), Yakymyshyn (New Westminster, B.C.), Huculak (Edmonton), Wiwchar (Saskatoon), Pataki (Passaic, N.J.), Hrynchyshyn (France) and Bishop Hirka, Bishop of Presov, Slovakia, who, by the way, celebrated the eleventh anniversary of his Episcopal ordination among us here in Canada, on February 17th.

Next in the procession was His Grace, Archbishop Paolo Romeo, Apostolic Nuncio for Canada, and Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, Roman-catholic Archbishop of Toronto.

His Excellency, Bishop Emeritus, Michael Rusnak, C.Ss.R., observed and participated in the entire ceremony from the right hand side of the altar, next to Cardinal Ambrozic. Masters of ceremony were our Fr. Igor Zdravecky from St. Michael’s Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church in Windsor, and Fr. Bohdan Lukie from St. John’s Church in Newark.

Canonical installation and enthronement was performed by His Grace, Archbishop Paolo Romeo, who said that "by the grace of God and with the blessing and wishes of the Holy See, I have the authority to install you as Bishop of the Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius for Byzantine Slovaks in Canada". When the Nuncio asked Bishop John if he was "prepared to accept the pastoral and juridical responsibilities of shepherding the Slovak faithful of the Byzantine Rite in Canada", Bishop John responded: "With the grace of God, I am prepared to do so." Bishop John’s motto "Prepare the way of the Lord", is incorporated into his crest.

Following the ceremony and the group picture in front of the altar, more than 300 guests gathered at the Premiere Ballroom to pay tribute to the newly installed bishop and hear congratulatory messages from the bishops and clergy present.

God grant you many blessed year, Bishop John!

Mary Siroky - Snell

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