The church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the original and present church of the parish.
It was constructed 22 miles northwest of Rossburn by parish founders in 1911-1912 and blessed by Bishop Nykyta Budka. From 1899-1904, before the construction of the church, the parish was spiritually served by Rev. A Delaere who celebrated Holy Services in the woods where a tree stump served as an altar, an icon was hung from a branch, and a small bell, brought over from Ukraine by Theodore Barabash and preserved to this day, called the faithful to prayer. Subsequent pastors of the parish included Revs. V. Zholdak, N. Kryzhanowsky, S. Dydyk, N. Drohomerecky, P. Kameneckyj, A. Krajkivskyj, R. Oleksiw, Dr. A. Radkevich, P. M. Ircha, M. Krywucky, P. Pasichnyk, M. Hrehhoreychuk, K. Lotocki, M. Shwed, J. Fornalchuk, A. Zayac, V. Olach, H. Oliynyk, and J. Lehky from 1965 to the present day. The church and faithful were visited by Bishop Nykyta Budka on Sept. 13, 1926 and by Bishop Vasylij Ladyka in 1940.
The church was constructed upon 5 acres of land donated to the parish by Theodore Barabash. Construction was accomplished by parish faithful under the foremanship of Mark and Theodore Nowosad and Wasyl Kuch at a cost of $1500.00. The wooden cruciform church has three sheet metal-covered domes – a central one dominating the axis of the intersecting arms and two smaller ones apexing two frontal towers. The exterior walls are covered with vertical painted wood siding. Entry to the church is from the west through a large porch-vestibule which also has a southern access. The church interior is finished with wooden siding, the upper expanses of which are painted a light colour, the lower sections a darker shade, resulting in a natural-looking uniform appearance. Hanging upon the walls are several holy images, primarily oil prints. A large church patron icon on the wall behind the main altar and depictions of the Mother of God and of St. Nicholas on the walls of the transversal naves were paint ed in 1920 by Jacob Sych. A sacristy with one window is located on the right side of the main altar. In the nave each lateral wall has two windows built into it as do the two towers and vestibule. From the centre of the high dome hangs a large candle-lit chandelier. Stairs originating at the base of a tower lead up to the choir loft which is supported by two pillars connected at their summits by a decorative partition into which have been carved three arches resulting in an open-door appearance. Within the nave are wooden pews which provide seating for 55-60 faithful, processional articles, and a wood-burning stove on the nave’s north wall. The wooden painted floor is carpeted up the central aisle and before the main altar. The interior of the church, including the sanctuary, measures 43 feet in length; the intersecting arms total 22 feet in width.
Adjacent to the entrance to the church grounds stands a large informational billboard outlining the dates of significant events in the church’s history. Near this board stand a cross with the inscription, “Built by Maksim Gerelus in 1913” and a belfry with a large 30 x 36 inch bell purchased in Winnipeg by parishioners in 1920 for $1130.00, whose ringing can be heard for a distance of seven miles. Recently, a monument honouring the pioneers who in 1899 began settling the area of the present-day parish of Seech was erected upon church grounds. This monument was blessed by the local pastor on July 22, 1984. In attendance at this joyous event were pastors from neighbouring parishes and large crowds of parishioners and well-wishers. After the formal program, all participants of the ceremony drove two miles southward, near Peterson Lake, where a monument beside a communal grave evoking feelings of never-ending loss and sadness, was blessed. In this communal final resting place were buried 42 children and 3 adults. The parish cemetery lies in continuation of the church site.
Ukrainian pioneers who began settling the Seech area in 1899 arrived primarily from Western Ukraine (Halychyna) representing mainly the villages of Ivanivci, Vilha, Skomorokhy, Bychkovychi, Pylatkivci, Vilkhivka and Lychkivci. The name of the settlement, Seech, was suggested by two of the first settlers, Theodore Barabash and George Karasewich. The first Parish Executive consisted of Stefan Derkach, Wasyl Kuch, Prokip Twerdun, Wasyl Twerdun, Stefan Hnatiw, George Karasewich, Stefan Karasewich, Joseph Gerelus, Stefan Gerelus, Stepan Labit, Oleksa Matiowski, Joseph Dunec, and Wasyl Dunec. (Parish history) The Propamiatna Knyha lists the following names as those of the founders of the parish: Theodore Barabash, Wasyl Twerdun, Peter Matiowski, Frank Rudnik, Maksim Mykoliation, Seven Matiowski, Stefan Derkach, Paul Yaroshewsky, Wasyl and Kost Kuch, John Stadnyk, Joseph and Stefan Gerelus, Hilko Lebid, Maksim Gerelus, and George and Stefan Karasewich.
At the parish’s inception the 91 paid-up members constituted one of the best organized parishes of the area. In 1909 the school at Seech and the Zaporrhozha school several miles away were established, both of which offered Ukrainian language instruction. In 1911 Ukrainian settlers set up the Seech post office. The Zaporrhozha school presently exists as an historical memoir of the past. Upon the site of the Seech school, descendants of the original settlers erected an informational billboard upon which is displayed information about the school and its original appearance. Preserved to this day is the Ukrainian Natonal Home located originally near the Seech school. The Home served as the cultural centre of the Ukrainian community. As in many other communities, the times and circumstances proved unfavorable for further expansion of the parish: the founding pioneers were laid to rest in the parish cemetery while the youth relocated to larger centres in search of improved job opportunities and a higher standard of living. In 1941 the parish registered 30 members with 30 school-aged children. Approximately 20 adults took an active part in the work of the joint Men’s and Women’s Bratstvo. Presently, only 6 members belong to the parish (Quest.), none of whom were born in Ukraine.
An annual reunion of the descendants of the pioneers takes place on the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at which communal Holy Commemorative Services are held in the church and cemetery for the souls of the departed pioneer family members. At this reunion, the Parkland Pioneer Association sponsors a concert of Ukrainian music and speeches commemorating our pioneers. A communal Commemorative meal follows. The event is concluded by a heartfelt rendition of Vichnaja Pamiat’ (Eternal remembrance), accompanied by the tolling of the great bell.
In 1988 the parish was under the directorship of Rev. John Lehky, pastor, Tekla Peech, and Mykola Peech. The Ukrainian Catholic parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Seech, is under the pastoral charge of Rossburn.
**This description was first written in 1989. It is incomplete and we look forward to updating this information in due time.