Pastor Jaroslaw Benesh
Section 30, Lot 868
One of the more remarkable examples of church architecture in the west end of the city is that of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church at 30 Leeds Street, in the Bloor Street West and Ossington Avenue area. Its design is based on that of historic St. Sophia in Kiev, dating back to the 10th century A.D. The site was purchased in the spring of 1960, by the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, situated on Bathurst Street near Queen Street West, which had been established in 1925. The first mass, served in the partially built church on a cold October day in 1963, was attended by 3,000 persons. It was presided over by the Most Reverend Peter Kaminecky, assisted by Pastor J. Benesh, who performed the duties of master of ceremonies. This marked the beginning of Reverend Benesh’s association with the parish. A warm, outgoing and sometimes controversial cleric, he was extremely popular with many churchgoers. In the fall of 1964, in celebration of the Feast of Holy Protection, Reverend Benesh assisted His Excellency Bishop Borecky, the ecclesiastic for Ukrainian Catholics of Eastern Canada, along with many visiting clergy, at mass. From then on, regular daily services have been performed. Reverend Benesh died on July 4, 1966 at the age of 51.