Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred

Right, Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Dr. Maria Vass-Salazar, lays a wreath at St. Michael’s RC Cemetery in Manfred, Ponoka County on Oct. 25. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)Right, Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Dr. Maria Vass-Salazar, lays a wreath at St. Michael’s RC Cemetery in Manfred, Ponoka County on Oct. 25. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
The Hungarian crucifix at St. Michael’s is believed to be the only one of its kind in Alberta. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)The Hungarian crucifix at St. Michael’s is believed to be the only one of its kind in Alberta. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
The wreath on the top from the Hungarian Embassy was placed on Oct. 25. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)The wreath on the top from the Hungarian Embassy was placed on Oct. 25. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Rev. Roger Niedzielski from the Edmonton Catholic Diosese gives a prayer and blessing. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)Rev. Roger Niedzielski from the Edmonton Catholic Diosese gives a prayer and blessing. (Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)

A wreath laying ceremony, commemorating the 64th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, took place at the St. Micheal’s RC Cemetery in Manfred (located between Ponoka and Bashaw on Range Road 224, south of Hwy. 53) on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Despite the frigid temperature, a group of about 17 people gathered to pay their respects and to acknowledge this important event in Hungarian history, as well as to honour the first Hungarian settlers in Alberta.

Those in attendance included the recently appointed Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Dr. Maria Vass-Salazar, Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, Bryce Liddle, deputy reeve, Ponoka County, Barry Stotts, St. Michael’s Heritage Society president, Anna Szenthe, president of the Canadian Hungarian Heritage Inc., Alexander Szenthe, Hon. Consul of Hungary to Alberta, and Dr. Gergely Bodnar, Hungarian Consul from Ottawa.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was an uprising for freedom from the Soviet Union, beginning Oct. 23 and lasting until Nov. 10.

The event was organized by Julianna Stein, of the Canadian Hungarian Heritage Society.

“Let us remember, of those Hungarians, who came to this country and to this land, and made a home for themselves,” said Szenthe.

“They endured harsh weather. Let their determination and love of God be an example for us who live in Alberta.”

“It’s good to see that even these times of COVID challenges, and various things, we can still find ways to celebrate our cultural heritage and honour those who came before us to this great land,” said Orr.

“We are come together and recognize the lasting impact … Hungarians of all walks of life rose up and stood behind them against oppressive Stalinist-Marxist regime and fought for the ability to think and speak and to live free which is what Alberta is all about especially.”

“It’s very cold, but my heart could not be warmer to see this heritage, to see the memory of the Hungarians settled here,” said Ambassador Vass-Salazar.

“As Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, it is a great honour and privilege for me to visit Bashaw and to remember and pay tribute to the memory of the first Hungarian settlers who came to Alberta,” she said.

“I am truly privileged and touched to see the legacy of these first Hungarian settlers and the importance of their contribution to development of Alberta.”

READ MORE: St. Michael’s Church commemoration held west of Bashaw

Hungarians immigrated to Canada in four major waves, starting with 8,000 prior to 1914. After the revolution in 1956, about 37,000 Hungarian refugees came to Canada (thecanadianencyclopedia.ca).

Dozens of Hungarian immigrants settled in the Manfred area in 1895.

The original St. Michael’s Catholic Church, adjacent to the cemetery, was built in 1910.

The Hungarian crucifix, prominently featured in the St. Michael’s cemetery, which dates back to 1918 or 19, is the only one of its kind in Alberta, says Stotts.

Various Hungarian heritage societies are working with the Catholic church and Ponoka County to have the cemetery be declared an historic site.

Stotts lives five km south of the cemetery, and has been the president of the St. Michael’s Heritage Society for four years. His wife is Hungarian, and is a descendant of Hungarian settlers buried in the cemetery.

Municipalities can now declare sites in their jurisdiction historic sites, but the society is currently working with the Catholic Church to define who is able to be buried in the cemetery, says Stotts.

The property is currently owned by the arch diocese of Edmonton.

“There are some little issues to work out,” said Stotts.

“It’s still an active cemetery.”

BashawHeritageHungary

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta’s declining COVID-19 numbers are a positive sign for the province. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer down to 634 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone down to 2,054 active cases

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

Mae’s Kitchen is located less than two kilometres from The Whistle Stop

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

(Historica Canada)
VIDEO: Heritage Minute marks 100th anniversary of work to discover insulin

Video centres on Leonard Thompson, 13, the first patient to receive successful injections for Type 1 diabetes

Robert Raymond Cook is guarded by RCMP officers after being arrested for the murder of his father. Cook was found guilty of his father’s murder and sentenced to death by hanging. He was never charged with the murder of his stepmother and five half-siblings but was believed to be guilty. Photo from Provincial Archives of Alberta.
Poem apparently written by convicted Stettler murderer Robert Raymond Cook surfaces in Athabasca County

Cook was executed in 1960 in connection with the slaying of his entire family in Stettler

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

The lights of several emergency vehicles could be seen near the Sunken Bridge on May 13. (Photo submitted)
Patient airlifted from Ponoka with serious injuries

RCMP, fire, STARS respond to single vehicle rollover May 13

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read