Dear Parishioners in our Family of Parishes,
It was May 1, 2015, almost eight years ago now, that Bishop Fabbro appointed me Pastor of Assumption parish. I had been serving in Edmonton, and was excited to be coming here, to the “Sun Parlour of Canada”. Since that time so much has happened. Bishop Fabbro asked me to become Administrator of St. Alphonsus as of July 2019. Then in August of that year Assumption moved back to the historical Assumption church. The Diocese moved forward with plans to implement our Family of Parishes, to be effective July 2020. Then Covid intervened and everything was delayed until October, although we were still under severe restrictions.
In January of 2021 I came down with Covid myself. Although I am deeply grateful that I was fortunate to have lived through it (while so many others were dying at that time), it was a severe case. And within a few months my doctor informed me that I was part of the group known as “long-haulers”. Since then, so much has changed. I took a leave of absence for a few months, returned, and found that I still couldn’t function well, so I had another leave. Fr. Steven Huber was appointed Administrator of Pastoral Affairs, while Deacon Paul Bezaire became Administrator of Temporal Affairs. And in our local Basilian Community, Fr. Jim O’Neill took over the task of local Superior/Rector.
And now there will be more change. The Basilian Fathers have appointed me to return to my hometown of Houston, Texas, as the Director of our Mission office, effective July 1, 2023. My duties will include preaching to raise funds for our Basilian missions in Mexico and Colombia, as well as providing hospitality to our missionaries who come to the US for medical reasons or vacation. In addition, I will be near my two sisters and many family members and friends.
It will be very hard for me to say goodbye. You have taught me so much. All of you have modeled faith and welcome to me. Parishioners of Assumption, you are such a broad segment of today’s Canadian society, filled with history, resilience, and life. You at St. Alphonsus teach me so much about constancy and ministering in a downtown parish. People of St. Angela, you have welcomed me with open arms, and helped me return to the culture of my youth and of the wonderful years of graduate study. You of St. Benedict have reminded me of the beautiful richness of our Church’s history and tradition. And you of the St. Daniel Comboni community have taught me how liturgy can be truly “celebratory”. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all. I will miss you more than you will ever know, and I will carry many of you with me in my heart as I leave here.
I hope to be able to appreciate each moment of the time I still have with you. Know that you are all in my thoughts and prayer. The Basilian Fathers have promised to send someone to replace me; I urge you to welcome him when he comes, and to help him to flourish and grow, just as you have done with me during these eight wonderful years.
May each and all of you be filled with God’s blessing, God’s peace, and God’s love.
Fr. Maurice Restivo, CSB, Associate Pastor