Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

(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/Ponoka News)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/Ponoka News)
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Rev. Roger Niedzielski from the Edmonton Catholic Diosese gives a prayer and blessing. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Rev. Roger Niedzielski from the Edmonton Catholic Diosese gives a prayer and blessing. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(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/Ponoka News)The Hungarian crucifix at St. Michael’s is believed to be the only one of its kind in Alberta. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

A wreath laying ceremony, commemorating the 64th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, took place at the St. Michael’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.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BashawHeritageHungary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Bids for Kids poster
Wolf Creek Youth Foundation online auction gets ‘overwhelming’ response

Santa’s Bids for Kids auction to benefit youth programs in Rimbey, Ponoka

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

A sign instructs people to wear masks in downtown Calgary on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pub and restaurant owners are trying to figure out how to comply with a stricter COVID-19 measure in Alberta that dictates only six people from the same household can sit at one table. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Brewpub owner pleased Alberta not closing sit-down dining as COVID-19 cases soar

Alberta’s caseload of COVID-19 infections has been growing for weeks

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at B.C. campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Most Read