By Jayne L. Buryn, Communications Coordinator, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton

Calling all Ukrainian Catholic men of the Edmonton Eparchy:

Set aside Friday and Saturday, November 17-18, 2017 to “open your heart and let God in”.

Why? In the words of one participant at the Called to be Holy Men’s Conference held at the Providence Centre November 18 – 19, 2016, the program and speakers “opened [his] heart to [his] relationship with God.”

The conference invited all men – married, single, fathers, grandfathers – 18 years of age and older to share camaraderie, explore God’s call for each of them and to shape their understanding of what it means to be a man of faith and integrity today. It was organized and sponsored by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, and proclaimed a success by both participants and organizers.

Some of the post-conference comments included:

  • “Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate any time I get to spend with other Catholic leaders!”
  • “Great venue- affordable nice room- good meals!”
  • “We need more participants! It was great, let’s get the word out.”
  • “Very, very well organized. Great facility. Friday evening and Saturday is great. Presenters and keynote speaker were very good.”


Panelists at “Called to be Holy” Men’s 2016 Conference
L-R: Peter Van Kampen; Michael Hauptman; Dr. Gerard McLarney; and Fr. Mihajlo Planchak
-Submitted photo

In addition to two keynote addresses and other activities, the conference offered two choices of breakout sessions on Saturday morning:

  • Theology of the Body – the new sexual revolution (Peter Van Kampen)
  • Science, Creation, and Catholicism (Dr. Girard McLarney)
  • Called to be Holy – Jesus Prayer (Fr. Michael Planchak)
  • A Grandfather’s role in a family of faith (Fr. Michael Planchak), included Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer for Grandparents (see the prayer below).

“We had an amazing caliber of presenters,” noted Bernadette Mandrusiak, Eparchial Director of Catechesis and a member of the organizing team. Presenters included educator Michael Hauptman, Elk Island Separate Schools superintendent; Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton pastor Fr. Mihajlo Planchak; teacher and lecturer Dr. Gerard McLarney; and Peter van Kampen, youth ministry coordinator with Red Deer Catholic Schools.

Michael Hauptman brought with him 35 years of the varied experience that formed him as an educator: from camp counsellor and park ranger to kindergarten to grade 12 teacher. He is currently superintendent of Elk Island Catholic Schools.

Michael was recently awarded the Alberta Teachers’ Association William Hrychuk Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding achievement and distinguished service in religious studies and moral education in Alberta.

Michael’s morning keynote address was Recognizing Your Damascus Moment – How does God come to us each day? In the afternoon, he presented on Relationships, Service, and the Balancing Act – How can I be all things to all people?  

Ordained to the Ukrainian Catholic priesthood in 1979, Fr. Mihajlo Planchak served as pastor in Devetina, Bosnia for 10 years. Since 1989 Father Michael and his family – wife Helena and four children – have served the Edmonton Eparchy, currently in the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Holy Eucharist parishes in Edmonton. He is an experienced speaker and presenter.

The Planchak children are now married adults who have blessed Father Mihajlo with five beautiful grandchildren and made an active grandfather of him, as he tells it.

World religions, religion in general, education, sacred scripture, early Christianity, and the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are Dr. Gerard McLarney’s key research interests. He is a teacher at École J. H. Picard school and a sessional lecturer at St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta.

As a popular speaker at youth events, parish missions and the Family Life Conference Peter van Kampen is a travelling missionary for Renewal Ministries. He has participated in events in Kenya, Tanzania and Mexico. With his wife and four children, Peter calls Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, home.

The sacrament of reconciliation (confession) was available during the sessions. Attendees also had the opportunity to pray the Prayer of the Third Hour. The conference concluded with the Divine Liturgy.

“Based on the success of this conference, we are excited that we will be holding another conference on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18, 2017,” says Bernadette. “We are in the midst of planning and inviting speakers. There will be information forthcoming in parish bulletins and the Eparchial spring and fall program guides.”

So, gentlemen of the Eparchy – PLAN TO BE THERE!.