Blog Archives

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!

2014-07-03 19.03.22

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 😀



Speaker Spotlight: Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, SSMI

As I was saying, we have some fabulous speakers lined up for our long weekend during Unity 2014. First up in the Speaker Spotlight: Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, SSMI.


Sr. Zoe will be doing a talk on ethical issues related to reproductive technology. In her own words she says:

The musical “Mamma Mia” presents some modern challenges of mothers, fathers, and daughters!  Sophie hopes to successfully identify her father so that he can walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.  The theology of marriage as presented in the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes embraces the essence of marriage as the mutual love and communion of the spouses.  While this ideal guides our exploration of the ethical issues related to human reproduction, the Catholic tradition also reinforces the importance of a well-informed conscience as a guide for action when we find ourselves in ethically challenging situations. 

Turns out Sr. Zoe is no stranger when it comes to things medical or theological. Check out her credentials!

Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, SSMI holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto, a Master’s in Theological Studies, and a Licentiate and Doctorate in Moral Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.   She is presently a professor of Pastoral Theology at Newman College in Edmonton, AB.  

Now that’s what I call a strong woman of faith!

God bless,

Joyanne, Unity 2014 Website Facilitator