Newcastle has one of the oldest UGCC communities in Australia
Newcastle has a Ukrainian community which is not on the beaten path. It is however one of the oldest Ukrainian communities in Australia. Greta was one of the biggest migrant camps in Australia. Many of the Ukrainians at the camp came on the ship Fairsea which arrived in Newcastle on 19th August 1949. Fr. Franz Bosky, a Belgian Redemptorist, celebrated the first liturgy on 26th March 1950.
Over twenty different parish priests have served the local community. Seven of them were Redemptorists from Canada.
On Sunday, 14th October 2018, over 90 people attended a Divine Liturgy in a prayer of thanks giving for all God’s blessings which was served by Bishop Peter Stasiuk, Fr. Paul Berezniuk, the local pastor, and Fr. Simon Ckuj from Sydney.
In the recent past as the early pioneers passed on to eternal life, and the younger ones moved away in search of work, the community members dwindled. Ten years ago, Fr. Paul arrived at the parish. He has been patiently working full of enthusiasm, and with a very clear focus on Christ, the numbers in the church and the community have been growing. It seems that the whole community has turned into one big family. There is excitement in the air. People stay in the hall for a few hours to experience each other’s company each Sunday. A small Ukrainian school has opened up. There is, what you can call, a local pride, around the community. Everything is clean, organized, and plans are being made about the future.
On Sunday, 14th October, discussion about the future was based on the example of the early pioneers who first of all established the community.
Bishop William Wright, the local Roman rite bishop, came to experience the celebrations. He left very impressed. The problem was that more people wanted to come than there was room for. That is a good sign in itself. The fact that such a large group of people worked on serving all present was very pleasing.
It is far to early to speak of expansion of the facilities but the fact that some said that the hall is too small is good to hear.