Monthly Archives: July 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Bishop Bryan Bayda

Who’s the man of the hour? Why, it’s Bishop Bryan Bayda, of course!

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We have the pleasure of hosting Saskatchewan’s Bishop Bryan Bayda, who will be participating in the Bishop’s Panel alongside Bishop David Motiuk, as well as leading his session on World Religions. Entitled “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” Bishop Bryan will speak on the sometimes baffling subject of how we as Ukrainian Catholic young adults can interact and learn from our neighbours with different faiths while still keeping and growing in our own faith. As Bishop Bryan puts it, “What is UNITY after all?”

As for the man under the mitre, Bishop Bryan describes himself thus:

Born on his mother’s birthday August 21, 1961 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Bryan became the third of six children that God entrusted to his parents Joseph and Florence Bayda.  He attended Bishop Murray Elementary School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and high school at St. Vladimir’s College Minor Seminary in Roblin, Manitoba. The minor seminary, served by the Ukrainian Catholic Redemptorists, played an important role in nurturing his prayer life, Eastern spirituality and love for the performing arts of his Ukrainian heritage.

His post secondary education includes a 1982 BA from U of Toronto; 1987 M.Div. from U of Toronto St. Michael’s College; 1990 B.Ed. from U of Manitoba; and 1997 Eastern Theology Diploma from Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies. He professed perpetual vows as a Redemptorist in 1986, was ordained a priest May 30, 1987 and served in parishes, taught high school, did pastoral ministry, played an active role in various church youth activities including retreats, eparchial summer camps, five World Youth Day Pilgrimages and Youth For Christ Rallies.

On May 2, 2008 Pope Benedict XIV appointed him as Bishop of the Eparchy of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for Ukrainian Catholics and he was ordained bishop on June 27, 2008. He currently serves on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Doctrine Commission and Bishop Bryan still enjoys activities such as scuba diving, playing guitar and card games, and the occasional round of golf.

A pretty cool guy, if I do say so myself. I mean, just check out his shades from the last Unity in Pinawa:


God bless!

Joyanne 😀

P.s. 15 days!!! It’s not too late to register, so don’t delay!


Hey Zabava!

Unity 2014’s zabava on Saturday night promises to be a fantastic time thanks to the music stylings of Edmonton band, Euphoria!


Euphoria is a fusion of Ukrainian pop, rock, and traditional music from Ukraine along with English favorites and is creating a transformational sound in the Ukrainian-Canadian music scene. Created in 2007, Euphoria has become a leader in creating an ultimate experience for clients and guests at weddings, dances, and performances. The band was formed on a foundation of their love for Ukrainian folk music. However with the influence of modern Ukrainian pop, rock, and techno artists from Ukraine, Euphoria has incorporated these genres into a unique sound. Alongside these modern elements of Ukrainian pop-culture, Euphoria’s love for playing traditional polkas, waltzs, and tangos is evident when they perform. In addition to Ukrainian music, the band performs a variety of English pop songs, country songs, and many good ol’ classics. Euphoria is thrilled to perform for you at Unity 2014! Join Euphoria in conversation: visit,, or their website

Just another of many reasons to get in your registration today! Any questions? Fill out our contact form or contact the Chancery Office at (780) 424-5496 during regular office hours.

Peace and God Bless!

Joyanne 😀

Speaker Spotlight: Fr. Stephen Wojcichowsky

Another day, another SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT! Today? Our fearless Keynote Speaker, Fr. Stephen Wojcichowsky (I’m still having trouble spelling his last name).


When asked to give us a brief bio, Fr. Stephen sent us the following:

Father Stephen was born and raised in Montreal.

He was educated at the following post-secondary institutions: 

  • Loyola of Montreal (B.A. in Political Science; post-B.A. diploma in Theology),
  • University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto (M.A. in Theology),
  • University of Toronto Faculty of Education (Bachelor of Education), 
  • John XXIII Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Maryknoll Seminary, Fordham, N.Y. (M.A. in Eastern Christian Theology)
  • Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario (Certificate in Teacher Librarianship), and
  • Saint Paul University, Ottawa (Licentiate in Sacred Theology, Eastern Christian Studies)  

Since 1975, Father Stephen has been a teacher, principal and consultant in the Catholic school systems of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.  He was the Director of Religious Education Services for the Edmonton Catholic School District from 1999 to 2007. Most recently he completed two three-year terms as the Director of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. 

Over this same period, he has been active in parish ministry as a Ukrainian Catholic deacon, assistant priest and pastor in the eparchies of Toronto, New Westminster and Edmonton. Since September 2013, he has been serving the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton as Chancellor and Vicar General.  

 Father Stephen has led retreats, given talks and served on local and national committees in the areas of Catholic Education, Eastern Christian spirituality, ecumenism, the role of the laity, and youth ministry. He has been a lecturer at Concordia College, Edmonton, in the field of Religious Education. He has also lectured at Newman Theological College, Edmonton, in the areas of Religious Education and Eastern Christianity. Most recently he taught several courses at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute

Father Stephen is married to Maria (née Jakimowicz). Together they have three children and six grandchildren.

Some other fun facts about Fr. Stephen:

He enjoys reading classic mysteries and thrillers, completing cryptic crosswords (his words) and Sudoku, playing folksy 60s/70s music on guitar, wine making (as a disciple of Christ should), and watching movies! He is also an avid fan of the Edmonton Eskimos (boo ya!).

I personally have heard Fr. Stephen speak and I have no doubt his keynote will intrigue, challenge, and inspire. Another great reason to register for Unity today! And while you’re at it, check out the updated Sessions page to educate yourselves on which session you’d like to attend when you’re at Unity.

God bless and tune in next time for another Spotlight!


Hot Tubs

I just have two words for you:


That is all.

God bless,

Joyanne 😀

Unity 2014 Song (AKA It’s FINALLY Finished!)

Most of you won’t know this, but quite a few months ago, I (Joyanne) was sitting alone on a Friday night, just relaxing after a regular week of work. Disney’s Frozen was all anyone talked about at this point, and I found myself humming the iconic Idina Menzel song, “Let It Go.” What surprised me, however, is that new lyrics were popping into my head, so I quickly jumped up and grabbed my notebook and a pen. The following is the result.


Joyanne 😀

Speakers Spotlight: Kim Bombak & Fr. Mihajlo Planchak

A double whammy for you folks today. Here’s some info about two very special people we’re excited to have at Unity 2014: Kim Bombak and Fr. Mihajlo Planchak. In the spirit of feminism and chivalry, ladies first!

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Kim will be leading Unity participants in a session about iconography where they will learn how icons are written, how to use them while praying, and other such Icon 101 topics (seriously, how much do you want to learn about icons from her? Seems pretty awesome from that epic Instagrammed duck face of hers!).

As for herself, Kim writes the following:

Kim hates writing bios. She asked her husband, soon-to-be-deacon, Mike, to write this for her, but he refused or forgot. Either way she is now pondering her existence while watching her three children play jedi knight/princess unicorn/baby ladybug, and jumping off the back of the couch.

Kim grew up in an agnostic, Scottish home in northern British Columbia. She once told her high school friend that she was crazy for praying to a block of wood with a picture on it. How ironic that Kim has now gone on to write 13 icons and assist with dozens more under the instruction of Masters Iconographers.

Kim currently resides between Edmonton and Ottawa, where her husband and family receive formation from Holy Spirit Seminary in the hopes that Mike will one day be a priest. She is most often found homeschooling her children and chasing her friends and family around with essential oils…but when she has time she dreams of writing icons.

Another big family person, we turn to our next featured speaker, Fr. Mihajlo Planchak.


Fr. Mihajlo is known for wanting to make sure his youth and young adults become married well, so it comes as no surprise that he will be leading Unity goers in a session called, “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul,” based on the best-selling book by Crystalina and Jason Evert (seriously, he handed those books out to each of us a couple Good Fridays ago). Always good for a story, Fr. Mihajlo uses his own life as an example in much of his speaking. His bio goes like this:

Father Mihaljo Planchak completed theology studies in Zagreb, Croatia from 1973 to 1979. In 1979 he married Helena Rajc and on July 22nd 1979 he was ordained to the priesthood. For ten years he served as a pastor in Devetina, Bosnia. In 1989 with Helena and four children Alexander, Roman, Irene, and Olya moved to the Edmonton Eparchy. He served the Carvel district and Camrose district. In 1999 he was appointed rector at St. Josephat Cathedral were he served for ten years. From 2009 he served for three years at St. Vladimir Parish and now is serving Holy Eucharist And Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. His son, Alexander. died in 1990. Roman is married and has three children, and on May 1st 2010 was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop David. Irene is getting married July 26th 2014, and Olya got married on June 21st 2008 and has one child. 

Honestly, ladies and gents, can this lineup get any better?! And there are still more speakers to come, so keep your eyes peeled through Facebook and Twitterland for our next spotlight. And while you’re at it, you might as well get your registrations in! Spots are already filing up (tearing open those envelopes were an absolute joy!) so get your registration in ASAP!

P.s. did you know you can now pay by Visa or Mastercard? Just phone up the Chancery Office at 780.424.5496 during office hours (8:30-4:30, Monday to Friday) and ask for the Bookkeeper.

Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the true beginning of summer (in Alberta, at least)!

God bless,

Joyanne 😀



CIX! Glory be to Jesus Christ!

More info for everyone. We have 2 awesome Bishops coming out to Unity, and we have the privilege to grill them during our Bishop Panel on Friday afternoon. We’re calling this session “Chatting with Cathy Catholic,” for our very own Catherine Wojcichowsky will be our host.

This is where you folks come in: the Unity 2014 Core Team is asking that you send in any questions you have for the Bishops prior to Unity 2014. You can do this through Twitter and the hashtag #unitybishoptweets. If you haven’t followed us on Twitter yet, how’s your chance! So, don’t be shy! Get your questions in today!

Stay tuned for more core team and speaker updates. Until then, peace!