By Jayne L. Buryn, Communications Coordinator, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
On Thursday, December 1, 2016 guests from all walks of life and affiliations enjoyed an evening of light-hearted fun, chatting and socializing with each other, developing
new friendships and visiting with those they have not seen over the past year, all in the spirit of participating in something important: the Seventh Annual Bishop’s Gala.
But the event did have a serious purpose. The Bishop’s Gala is the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton’s Eparch’s major annual fundraiser for programs and projects that support the mission of the Church, the sharing of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bishop David Motiuk launched the event in 2010. It has raised $275,000 to date. About $54,000 was raised at the 2016 Gala.
Generous donors come from both within and outside the Ukrainian Catholic community.
Bishop David chooses the theme each year. This year’s was special. It featured the value of Catholic education to children, families and the community at large. Gala co-hosts Michael Hauptman (Superintendent, Elk Island Catholic Schools) and Joan Carr (Superindentent, Edmonton Catholic Schools) are great supporters of the Ukrainian Bilingual programs in Sherwood Park and Edmonton, respectively. In addition, in 2016, Joan was the recipient of both the prestigious awards of “Superintendent of the Year in Alberta” and “Superintendent of the Year in Canada”.
“This is the bishop’s party” said Andrea Leader, lead event organizer. “Bishop David is so grateful for Albertans’ being blessed with Catholic education and educators, particularly outstanding leaders like Joan.” Joan and Michael Hauptman, Superintendent of Elk Island Catholic Schools, co-chaired the Gala.
The galas are organized by the Eparchial Pastoral Centre staff, a huge undertaking of planning a program, finding a venue, and receiving donations for both silent and live auctions that are held during the “party”, among numerous other responsibilities.
“The young adult volunteers were extremely important to the success of the evening as well,” said Andrea. “Bishop David was very proud to host them and to have them volunteer.”
Gifted award-winning violin players and Edmonton Catholic school students, Anastasia and Saoirse Cipko, musically welcomed guests in the foyer of the Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre, the venue of the Gala. Tables were decorated with art pieces, created and lent by students for the occasion.
At the C.O.R.E
Highlighted at the evening was the C.O.R.E. program. “Camp Oselia: Restoration Earth” is a Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton retreat program developed for and with Edmonton Catholic Schools. The program aligns with the teachings around Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ message on Care for Our Common Home. Within a camp setting, children learn how they impact their environment and how to keep it thriving.
“The combination of the fun, science and faith based activities, the genuine and inspirational staff, the fantastic food and the beautiful grounds and facilities were all things most of our students have never experienced and would never have been able to,” noted teacher Krista Long. “I would honestly say that for many of my students this may have been a life changing experience that they will not have again for a long time.”
C.O.R.E. is a two-and-a-half-day camp experience at Camp Oselia on Wabamun Lake. With fun and interactive activities and games, students develop leadership and team skills, and grow closer to God in His natural playground. They learn the importance of producing natural and fresh food and the difficulties around starting a life in other areas of the world.
Some of the funds from this event will also be used to digitalize the God with Us catechetical program developed in the United States with the guidance of Eastern Church bishops. It is currently being offered to bilingual students, preschool to grade eight, and in Sunday schools in the Eparchy.
Gala participants acquired some exclusive raffle and auction items. Raffled off were dinner for two at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, an Oilers Fan Pack, and a handcrafted Winter Greens table centerpiece.
At the live auction, professional auctioneer Dale Menzak successfully auctioned off
- golf with Bishop David for six at the Belvedere Golf and Country Club,
- a six-night Canmore getaway at a Timberline Lodge two-bedroom condo,
- two 24 karat gold leaf-finished handwritten icons from Ukraine,
- golf for six with Bishop David at the exclusive Edmonton Petroleum Golf and Country Club, and
- a 150th Canada Day dinner and fireworks celebration for eight at the Bishop’s residence.