PALATINE, Ill. – The day had finally come for parishioners at Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church. After working for several years to raise money and make plans, church and community leaders broke ground on July 7 for a new, expanded church that will open in 2020.
It will serve as a parish church but is also designated the Eparchial Shrine of the New Martyrs of Ukraine for the St. Nicholas Eparchy.
“The late Bishop Richard Seminack told us that he wanted our parish to be an eparchial shrine. We hope to have many spiritual events and pilgrimages planned. It is a house of prayer for all nations,” said Father Mykhailo Kuzma.
The day started with a divine liturgy outside presided by Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk.
“The Ukrainian community in the northwest suburbs [of Chicago]has grown substantially over the past decade. We need our church to be big enough to serve the spiritual needs of the community,” said Stefko Kuropas, president of the Parish Council (and a former first vice-president of the Ukrainian National Association).
After the liturgy, the future site of the new church was blessed by the bishop and priests; a traditional groundbreaking followed.
A new church has been a goal for Michael Panko and Building Committee members for almost 10 years. “We all love the old church, but we needed the added space. We will be able to seat twice as many people in the new church. We expect additional growth when the new church opens,” said Mr. Panko, president of the New Building Committee.
Parishioners are not alone in the excitement of having a new edifice. “We have been working with Immaculate Conception for many years now, and that cooperation has only grown with the Chervona Ruta Festival that takes place every June. I see many benefits of the new church for the faithful and our Ukrainian community in the Chicago area,” said Myron Wasiunec, president of the American Ukrainian Youth Association in Palatine.