On Sunday, January 8th, the parishioners of St. Jerome Church, Regina Beach and St. Peter’s Church of Lumsden, hosted a celebration for Father Lucas Gaspar’s 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood. Mass was celebrated at St. Peter’s Church, Lumsden, and at St. Jerome Church, Regina Beach with His Grace, Archbishop Donald Bolen and Vicar General, Very Reverend Father Lorne Crozon and Father Gaspar Lucas officiating. The childrens’ choir of St. Jerome welcomed His Grace, Archbishop Donald Bolen, Very Rev. Father Crozon and Father Gaspar with the entrance song “Every Move I Make.” St. Jerome music ministry was conducted by choir leader, Lynette Gaetz.
Approximately, 130 people attended the luncheon following Mass, that was held at the South Shore Recreation Centre, Regina Beach and was provided by St. Peter’s and St. Jerome Churches. His Grace, Archbishop Donald Bolen gave the Blessing and a delicious luncheon was served by the United Church ladies of Regina Beach. Guests from the United Church, Regina Beach, Holy Family Church ,Regina, along with Parishioners from St. Peter’s and St. Jerome Church were in attendance for this wonderful celebration.
Bryan Gatschene, President of St. Jerome Parish Council and Harper Boucher, President of St. Peter`s Parish Council acted as emcees for the event. Many tributes and greetings were received from India and the U.S.A. that were read by Brian Rybchuk and Gordon Bonokoski of St. Peter’s parish in Lumsden. As well, greetings on behalf of the Regina Beach United Church were brought by Eunice Cameron. Father Gaspar’s history and his journey to the priesthood was read by Harper Boucher.
Father Gaspar Lucas was born in Tamil Nadu, South India in 1965 to his loving and devoted parents, Abraham and Yesu Mary. Siblings include his three sisters and two brothers.
After obtaining his Bachelor of Business and Administration and Philosphy degrees in North India, Father Gaspar responded to the call of the Lord and entered the Novitiate of the Society of the Divine Word in 1986 and Father Gaspar professed his first religious vows in June of 1987. In April of 1991, Father obtained a degree in Theogy taking his Final Regligious vows on June 6th. The very next day, Father was ordained a Deacon and assigned to serve a slum-area parish in Bombay. All through his formation years in various seminaries and during the Deaconate ministry, Father said, “ it was wonderful to feel that God’s Grace had been sufficient for me to be His Minister as a Priest.”
Hence, in the same year, on December 27th, Father was ordained a Priest in Tamil Nadu, South India, in his own native place, to the joy of his village people who witnessed for the first time in their life, an ordination of a priest. On July 7th, 1992, Father landed in the Philippines as a Missionary . After having had experience as a Pastor in Sta. Monica Parish in Surigao Island, he was appointed as the Spirtual Director and Vice-Rector of Divine Word Seminary in Cebu City for three years. In March of 1996, Father Gaspar’s father passed away. From 1996-2006, Father was appointed to Holy Name University, Tagbiaran, Bohol, for Campus Ministry and teaching business studies. Meanwhile, from 1997 to 2000, Father completed his MBA at the University of San Jose Recollectus, in Cebu City as a weekend student. It was also a deep joy for me to see my youngest brother, Elias, ordained as a Priest on April 28th, 2007, Father’s brother, Elias Lucas, was ordained as a Priest for the Diocese of Jahua. As well, on May 2nd, 2017, Father Gaspar hopes to witness another blessed day of priestly ordination of his nephew, his sister’s son.
Father pursued his Doctorate of Business Administration, Major in MicroFinance at Santo Tomas University in Manila and completed this in October of 2010. Upon returning to India in 2011, he was appointed as the Finance Officer at SAT Prachar Press for three years. Father then journeyed to Canada where he served at Holy Family Parish in Regina. In May of 2015, he was appointed to the Last Mountain Pastoral Region for Regina Beach, Lumsden and Silton Parishes. Looking back to his childhood, formation and past 25 years of priestly life Father said, "I do sincerely believe that the loving Lord has His owns plans for me and has been guiding me along His path for His own service and for my greater happiness. Indeed, I am thankful to Him for the rest of my life. Surely, His grace has been sufficient for me to be His Priest!"
A Presentation by Terry McAleese, Parish Council Representative of St. Jerome parish was made to his Grace, ArchBishop Donald Bolen for his charities. His Grace, then presented Father Gaspar with a Papal Apostolic Blessing to acknowledge this special event. Individual parish gifts were also presented to Father Gaspar by JoAnn Deck and Audrey Shauf on behalf of St. Peter’s and St. Jerome parishes along with a joint parish gift by Harper Boucher and Bryan Gatschene.
Entertainment began with a video prepared by Merilyn Gatschene and Wolfgag Gennutt of St. Jerome Church, depicting Father Gaspar and his family in India, along with many parish event pictures from both St. Peter’s and St. Jerome Churches during which the song, “I Am A Priest Forever” played. A Poem composed by Merilyn Gatschene was read and this was then followed by a song sung by the children of St. Jerome Church St. Jerome choir performed a skit entitled “If Father Gaspar Was Not a Priest” bringing much laughter and enjoyment to all present. St. Jerome choir, joined by members of St. Peter’s choir, then provided musical entertainment.
The afternoon ended with Father Gaspar thanking everyone for making this day so memorable for him and expressed his gratitude to all. In closing, the whole day to celebrate this special occasion was summed up by Father Gaspar’s written words, “It has been a refreshing and rewarding time for me to serve the Lord and His people in Canada, abundantly enjoying the love and affection of all.”