I have been very fortunate to serve the wonderful Parish Community of St. Kevin for the last decade, almost all of my priestly years. St. Kevin’s Parish was founded in the early 1950’s and was named after the Irish Saint, St. Kevin. The pastoral responsibility for the Parish was entrusted to Holy Cross Fathers by the Diocese of St. Catharines in 1995. St. Kevin’s is a large and lively parish. Presently, we have about 3300 registered families. We also have pastoral responsibility for a Catholic High School, three Catholic Elementary Schools, and a couple of Senior Homes under the parish.
I had an initial experience of the parish for six months as a deacon before my priestly ordination. After my ordination at the end of 2009, I served as an Associate Pastor for four years and for the last six years I have been serving as the Pastor of the Parish, currently assisted by Fr. Sunil Josapath, C.S.C. The demographics and the dynamic of the parish community have changed over the years. However, it still continues to be a vibrant parish.
My ministry at the Parish has been very rich with dedicated and generous parishioners, and with a great variety of ministerial possibilities. As Holy Cross priests and brothers, we bring our charism and our special concern for the people we serve, and that is very much appreciated by the people, not only at St. Kevin’s Parish but in all of our Parishes. I especially admire the care, concern and generosity that the people of the parish show towards the poor and marginalized, both locally and globally.
Being in a parish for a long time has been a blessing for me and for my spiritual and pastoral maturity. However, it has been hard for me to see so many faithful parishioners age before my very eyes and pass away.
I am especially grateful to my predecessor Fr. Jim Mulligan, C.S.C., who has been a great mentor to me, to the parish staff, who have been of great assistance to me, and to all the parishioners for their love and cooperation.
Father Vijai Amirtharaj, C.S.C.
I am happy to share my experience in St. Kevin’s parish. I moved to St. Kevin’s on January 10th 2020, after having completed my six months of Inculturation in Toronto. I remain grateful to Fr. Wilson Andrade, C.S.C. and Fr. Francis Noronha, C.S.C. for their initial support and accommodation. I came to St. Kevin’s with an open mind to do my ministry in a new place and in a new culture, with mixed feelings of excitement and homesickness. I trusted completely in God and in Fr. Vijai Amirtharaj, C.S.C., the Pastor.
However, I was pleased with such a grand welcome by the Community of St. Kevin. I felt at home when I saw my photo on the parish notice board. A month went by and I began to see some of pastoral challenges in my way. I am grateful to Fr. Vijai Amirtharaj, C.S.C. and Fr. Jim Mulligan, C.S.C. for their precise and timely guidance to adapting to the way of our Parish. Our community prayer and meals enabled me to find a deeper meaning in my religious and personal life.
Our Parish office staff made it easy to get into the work of the parish. On call hospital visitation and the Senior Home ministry gave me a kind of satisfaction in my pastoral work. The Food Bank and the Harvest kitchen at St. Kevin’s made me think of how fortunate I am. It helped me to be more compassionate towards those who are underprivileged, and it increased my love for them.
Though Covid-19 demanded lockdown, my time in the parish has blessed me with good friends and has allowed me to cherish our family spirit. I thank God and the community of St. Kevin for the great experience of the last 9 months.
Father Arockia Sunil Josapath, C.S.C
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