The parish community of the Holy Eucharist in Oakburn, MB. was first established in 1933 and in 2022 the community will be celebrating 89 years.
The current structure is the second church of the parish. The first church, built by Ukrainian Catholic faithful in 1933, was a small wood-constructed rectangular structure with a small tower projecting centrally over the frontal summit of the gabled roof. In 1940 the reassignment of the faithful of the parish at Olha to the Oakburn parish, as well as a significant increase in the membership of Oakburn itself, necessitated the construction of a larger church. This need was met in 1943-1945 when the second stylized, spacious church was built; the original building was transferred in 1947 to the newly formed parish at Menzie. The parish was visited by Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk on July 16, 1961, July 11, 1971 and July 31, 1976, and by Bishop Myron Daciuk on June 24, 1984. The second church was constructed primarily of wood, upon a high steel and blown concrete foundation within whose framework was included an area which served for some time as a parish hall. The cruciform building is dominated centrally by a large open dome and has two narrow frontal towers apexed by wrought-iron crosses. A third similar cross projects over the frontal summit of the gabled roof. The exterior basement walls are finished with stone, the walls with brick, the roof and dome with asphalt shingles. The main entrance with a small overhang is reached by a high concrete stairway with stone and concrete sides and handrails. To the right of the main entrance are stairs leading up to the choir loft which is separated from the nave by a flat, wooden, wall-like partial partition. The elevated sanctuary is adjoined bilaterally by two sacristies of which the left one exits to the church grounds.
Upon the flat wall behind the main altar are painted standing-pose representations of St. Methodius, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Cyril, and, on the ceiling, a depiction of Jesus Christ giving the blessing. On corresponding sides of the sanctuary, upon the frontal walls of the transversal naves, are votive altars with standing-pose representations of the Mother of God and Jesus Christ. The interior expanse is dominated upon the axis of the intersecting arms by a large open dome which is supported by four arcades and four corner pilasters. The dome, in similarity to the sanctuary, is richly decorated with artistically executed paintings and ornamentation. Upon the sides of the octagonal drum supporting the dome are painted depictions of the Annunciation, Nativity, Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit, and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are portrayed upon the four pendentives, which are the triangular formations beneath the drum supporting the dome. The Stations of the Cross are painted upon the lateral walls of the longitudinal nave. The aforementioned artwork as well as various other paintings, symbols, and rich decorative ornamentation were all superbly executed by artist Theodore Baran in 1952-1953. The lower walls are covered with natural wood-grained plywood while the upper reaches and the ceilings beneath the paintings are finished with ceiling tiles. The church is lighted electrically and heated by an oil-burning furnace housed in the basement. In the nave are eight banners, a processional Holy Image and crosses. Forty large wooden pews, each seating approximately six individuals, and six smaller ones, each seating 4-5 faithful, are arranged symmetrically upon the fully carpeted floors of the longitudinal and transversal naves. The length of the sanctuary and longitudinal nave is 77 feet while the transversal nave measures 46 x 26 feet. Construction of the church was accomplished under the foremanship of Mr. Borycki and Michael Yanchynsky according to the architectural specifications of Rev. Phillip Ruh, OMI. Near the church, in substitution of the original wooden cross, stands a wrought-iron mission cross, constructed by Eugene Golec according to the design of Michael Mikhaylyshyn. The bilevel enclosed single-bell belfry was constructed near the first church. In continuation of the church property lies the site upon which stands the second parish hall which was constructed in replacement of the one built in 1939. The parish cemetery lies in close proximity to the church.
Ukrainians began settling assigned homesteads situated approximately four miles north of present day Oakburn in 1899, a time when the settlement consisted of only several families. Many of them were witnesses to the children’s tragedy at Peterson Lake (see Seech parish). The parishioners originally belonged to the parish at Olha but eventually became reassigned to Oakburn whose geographical location was proving favorable to its rapid development as a trade and business centre. With the construction of its first church in 1933, it also became the seat of its pastoral district. The faithful were originally spiritually served by Rev. A. Delaere; subsequent pastors included Rev. N. Drohomyrecky, Rev. Anthony Pliucinsky, a Roman Catholic priest who relieved for some time at the parish, Rev. P. Kameneckyj – 1917, Rev. A. Krajkivskyj – 1917, Rev. P. Oleksiw – 1920, Rev. Dr. A. Radkewycz – 1921, Rev. P. Oleksiw – 1922, Rev. V. Strilciw 1923, Bishop Nykyta Budka – 1923-1929, Rev. M. Ircha, Rev. M. Krywucky – 1929, Rev. M. Pasichnyk – 1931, Rev. M. Hryhorijchuk – 1934, Rev. P. Suljatyckyj – 1937, Rev. K. Zarsky – 1938, Rev. K. Lotocki – 1940-1943, Rev. M. Shwed 1943-1947, Rev. J. Fornalchuk – 1948-1953, Rev. P. Romanyshyn -1953-1963, Rev. R. Zakrewsky 1953-1965, Rev. S. Borys 1966-1982, Rev. R. Muzychka – 1983, Rev. A. Vateha – 1983, Rev. J. Radkewycz – 1988. After a rectory was constructed in Shoal Lake in 1963, the pastors of the Oakburn district began residing there. As evidenced by the previously described history, the parishes at Olha, Oakburn and Shoal Lake were a tightly knit community. Their oldest joint Baptismal records date back to 1911, the wedding records to 1917, and the funeral records to 1948. As noted previously, Oakburn flourished as a business centre; a Ukrainian store was opened in 1907, the first co-operative, headed by Rev. Nestor Drohomyrecky, in 1915. The cultural-educational development of the community was not neglected as evidenced by the offering of the theatrical play “Wooing on the Honcharivka”‘ in 1916 and the first concert held in honour of Ivan Franko in 1916. The organizational, service club aspect of community life in Oakburn was also ably looked after. A chapter of the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood was formed in 1940 while the year 1946 saw the formation of a chapter of the UCWLC whose first President became Maria Krystalovich. Since its inception the parish has been faithfully served by a Sisterhood working in co-operation with the Church Executive which assumed and carried out the responsibility for the physical upkeep of the church. Catechism classes, whose latest enrolment was twelve students, have been regularly offered to the children. The parish has been blessed with the initiation of Josepha Emelia Yanyk into the Order of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. At its inception the parish registered 149 individuals; in 1941 there were 140 faithful with 80 children. Currently 45 parishioners, amongst whom remain no individuals born in Ukraine, belong to the parish. In 1988 the parish was under the directorship of Rev. Jaropolk Radkewycz, pastor, and Danylo Holubitsky. Cantoral duties have been performed for many years by Fedor Twerdun. Today the cantor is Katherine (Kay) Wilk.
The Ukrainian Catholic parish of the Holy Eucharist, Oakburn, is under the pastoral charge of Rossburn Pastoral District.
**This description was first written in 1989. It is incomplete and we look forward to updating this information in due time.