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Get outside the city, visit the ‘Prairie Cathedral’

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Angels at the Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church at Cooks Creek, Manitoba.

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Angels at the Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church at Cooks Creek, Manitoba. Photo Store

Summer is the perfect time to go on vacation, to visit the cottage or the beach. Moreover, it’s a lovely time of year to enjoy our great community of Transcona!

Transcona boasts many beautiful parks and playgrounds. There is also the Transcona Trail, the Transcona BIZ Market Garden, the Transcona Public Library and, of course,  Transcona’s Splash Pad.

A day trip just outside of Winnipeg is always a great idea too.

The RM of Springfield, Man., which borders Transcona, is really idyllic. There, in the rural community of Cooks Creek, you will find the Immaculate Conception Church  — also known as the "Prairie Cathedral."

A visit to this historic place is definitely worthwhile.

Located at the corner of Highway 212 (Cooks Creek Road) and Zora Road, the church, with its bell tower and Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, is just 25 minutes northeast of Winnipeg. The church is presently open to the public every Saturday, Sunday and on statutory holidays from noon until 6 p.m.  

The church is a beautiful place of Christian worship, prayer and meditation.

It is also a designated provincial historic site (1986) and a designated national historic site (1997), and it is visited by innumerable tourists annually.

In lieu of an admission fee charged, donations are gratefully accepted.

Visitors are typically awestruck by this glorious testament of faith, with its magnificent art and architecture and its picturesque grounds with picnic area.  

The church is reminiscent of churches in Ukraine. The adjacent grotto is a representation of the Lourdes grotto in France.

According to Parks Canada, the Immaculate Conception Church of Cooks Creek is "a place of profound importance to Canada... it tells its own unique story, part of the greater story of Canada, contributing to our understanding of Canada as a whole...it bears witness to a defining moment in this nation’s history... it illustrates human creativity and cultural traditions."

Inside the church, an interesting and informative tour is offered. Subsequently, visitors may explore the site self-guided.  

It is a point of fact that the building of the church, bell tower and grotto was a labour of love. It was constructed in the early to mid-1900s by the Ukrainian Canadian community of Cooks Creek under the direction of priest and notable architect, Fr. Philip Ruh, O.M.I.

The church is also home to the Icon of St. Emilian Kovch, who died a martyr during the Second World War. He was declared a Righteous Ukrainian by the Jewish Council of Ukraine in 1991 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001. St. Emilian Kovch is the Patron Saint of the Ukrainian Catholic Clergy.

The church remains an active parish with a substantial membership.  Divine Liturgy is celebrated every Sunday, in English, at 10:30 a.m. and all are welcome.  

Take note...  the 59th annual pilgrimage will be celebrated on Aug. 16, 17 and 18.

For more information, please see the website at immaculate.ca. You can also call 204-444-2478 or email info@immaculate.ca

A video is available to view at youtube.com/watch?v=72SaX_hqUxY

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