Michael Wiwchar was born to Wasyl and Anna (Chajkowska) Wiwchar on May 9, 1932 in Komarno, Manitoba, Canada. He grew up with two brothers and one sister. His early schooling and aspirations took him to a Redemptorist minor seminary in Roblin, Manitoba where after his novitiate in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, he took his temporary vows as a Redemptorist in 1953 and his perpetual vows in 1956. He was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in 1959 in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sts. Volodymyr & Olha.
During his early missionary and priestly years, 1961 – 1981, he served at St. Vladimir’s College as a teacher, Socius, Prefect and Director, Vocation Director and Campaign Director. In addition, he was the Sports Director, Coach, Concert Director and Tour Manager. Father Wiwchar played all sports, but focused his athletic interests on hockey where he excelled.
In his pastoral and missionary role, Father Michael served as assistant pastor and pastor for parishes in the Roblin, Swan River and Ethelbert areas, as well as St. Joseph Parish in Winnipeg, Mb, Ss. Peter and Paul in Saskatoon, Sk., St. John the Baptist in Newark, NJ. As a vocation director and Missionary, he preached and/or substituted for pastors in over 100 parishes in the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, Manitoba and in numerous parishes in the Saskatoon Eparchy, Saskatchewan. He preached retreats for diocesan clergy and religious sisters, in addition to full week missions and tridiums in many parishes.
His enthusiasm for serving in the parishes reflects his unending and unrelenting missionary and priestly zeal for serving and working directly with people – a zeal which remains undiminished to this day.
He was consecrated the third Bishop Ordinary of Chicago’s St. Nicholas Eparchy in September, 1993. There, he focused pastoral, parish and parishioner attention on revitalizing the growth of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. He also provided leadership training to ensure that lay people in each parish were prepared to carry out their share of responsibility for assuring the growth of the Church and seeing that it takes its rightful place in the life of our country in the new Millennium.
On November 29, 2000 Bishop Michael was appointed Eparch of Saskatoon Eparchy and was installed on February 12, 2001 at St. George’s Cathedral in Saskatoon. On December 9, 2000 Bishop Michael was appointed Apostolic Administrator of St. Nicholas Eparchy, Chicago. In order to look after the needs of both eparchies, Bishop Michael spent time in both Saskatoon and Chicago on a regular basis until June 4, 2003. During his time in the Eparchy of Saskatoon he devoted himself to supporting and encouraging people. He officially retired as Bishop Emeritus on June 27, 2008 continues to serve his people with love and devotion.
Bishop Michael is a man of extraordinary ministry who has devoted his life to service and his people. Whenever called he responded with dedication and kindness. He has worked tirelessly to support the Ukrainian Catholic church in North America and Ukraine. He fulfilled his demanding duties of Priest, teacher, coach, director, builder, Bishop and mentor with faithfulness.
Bishop Michael has always encouraged his people to never do things mediocre, he encouraged them to do everything with devotion to the highest level possible. Everything that Bishop Michael did and does has shown us his full confidence and hope in the will of God and intercession of the Blessed Mother.
In 2019 as a further demonstration of his commitment to his beloved Church and community, he established the Bishop Michael Wiwchar C.Ss.R. Charity Fund at the Saskatoon Community Foundation to support charities in the Ukrainian Catholic community.