Adaikala Raja John, a Salesian of Don Bosco from Tamilnadu, South India was born on 9th April 1968. He became a Salesian on 24th May 1986 after being with the Salesians for 5 years. Studies of Philosophy was done at the Salesian Institute, Yercaud and Theology at the Regional Seminary at Trichy, both of them affiliated to Rome. He was ordained a priest on 29th December 1997. He has a Doctorate in Sociology on youth situation in Rural Tamilnadu. He has served the Church as Pastor at various parishes in Tamilnadu for 12 years and as a director of Boarding School at Pondicherry for three years. He has also served as Pastor to the war affected people in Sri Lanka and as youth worker at the Salesian Youth center at the Hague in the Netherlands. Besides his regular duties, he also runs a website for Holy Bible in Tamil recognised as official website of the Bible Commission of the Tamilnadu Catholic Bishops Conference. Besides hosting Holy Bible, the daily liturgical readings, reflections are made available and sent to thousands as e-bulletin every day. 24 x 7 Catholic online radio in Tamil is also part of this website. July 2016 he arrived in Edmonton, Canada and served as Associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist. 20th March 2017, he took charge as administrator of St. John Bosco Church, when Fr. Romano was hospitalized and eventually became the pastor after his demise in August 2017.
Fr. Romano was born in Italy near Verona. He did his high school studies in Trent and joined the Salesians in August 1958. He was assigned to the United States province where he did his college studies and three years of teaching. In 1965 he went to Rome to study theology at the Salesian University. He enjoyed the beautiful celebrations of the last months of the Second Vatican Council. He was ordained a priest on December 21, 1968.His priestly ministry started in Montreal at St. Dominic Savio Parish from 1969 to 1984. Under his leadership a new church was built in Montreal dedicated to Mary Help of Christians at the same time as St. John Bosco Church was built in Edmonton. Coincidence? At his request, in 1998 the Salesians bought a three story building to serve as a Youth Centre and as a Mission Office. Fr. Luc Lantagne is now the pastor of that church and coordinator of the Mission Office. Fr. Romano has been at St. John Bosco Parish since August 2000. The parish grew with new families moving into our area. To make room for the many groups and activities, the second floor was built in 2006-2007 and blessed by Archbishop Richard Smith. A new organization was started in 2004 to help the needy families, the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Due to his sudden illness and consequent hospitalisation, he retired in May 2017.
Fr. Luc did his high school and college studies in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He joined the Salesian Congretation in 1972. In 1980 Fr. Luc went to Rome to study theology at the Salesian University. He was ordained a priest on June 16, 1984. His first eight years of priestly ministry were an enriching experience as chaplain and teacher at the “Seminaire Salesien” in Sherbrooke. The following eight years from August 1992 to July 2000 he enriched St. John Bosco Parish with his many talents and youthful enthusiasm.Fr. Luc wanted to know his parishioners, so he set a plan to visit every family. He helped set up the Knights of Columbus Council with their many religious and social activities. All the groups were revamped and grew in quality and membership. Fr. Luc visited the schools often. He loved to surprise children and adults when he appeared disguised as St. Patrick, St. Nicholas, or St. John Bosco.The hall was often used for community events so the kitchen was enlarged. In August 2000 Fr. Luc was named provincial superior for the Canadian Salesians and moved to Montreal.
Fr. Raymond was born in the Gaspé region of Quebec in a big family of thirteen children. His older brother Arthé Guimond became archbishop of Grouard-McLennon on August 15, 2000. Fr. Raymond entered the Seminary in Edmonton in 1960. He was ordained a priest on June 13, 1964. Fr. Raymond came to St. John Bosco in 1987. He made many friends by his home visits and his inspired preaching.Fr. Ray is a good musician. He set up the sound system and led the congregation in singing God’s praises. Several music groups were formed.Many persons were also inspired to pray and work together in a charismatic movement that resulted in the retreat centre at Ephphatha House. When the Salesians closed St. Mary’s School, Fr. Ray obtained the marble statue of St. John Bosco which is near the altar, and the illuminated cross which stands in front of the church. Fr. Ray made another great investment when Mia Turlock and Jody Zenko were signed up as pastoral assistants. He also opened the way for the Salesian priests to come home to St. John Bosco Parish.
Fr. Mike grew up in Alberta and was ordained a priest in September 23, 1961 in St. Joseph’s Basilica. He came to St. John Bosco parish in August 1983. His previous assignments had given him experience in various parishes and administrative responsibility. He was president of Newman Theological College. Fr. Mike was the right man at the right time to lead the parish in the difficult and challenging task of building the church. With a $750,000.00 loan from the Archdiocesan building fund and a $180,000.00 grant from the federal government, Steve Ferenc was hired as general contractor. In February 1984, construction started and by September it was completed. The new church was blessed on October 14, 1984 by Archbishop Joseph MacNeil.Pope John Paul II visited Edmonton from September 16-18, 1984. As a gift to the new church, the Archbishop donated the altar, the presider’s chair and lectern as a permanent souvenir of that visit.One of the events that is remembered for its devastating power was the tornado that destroyed many homes on July 31, 1987, especially at the Evergreen Mobile Park. Many people lost their lives, but none were from our parish. The parish hall was filled with donated clothes and food to help those who lost everything.Fr. Mike recalls the four years at Bosco as the most fulfilling of his priestly ministry in being close to the people in happy events and also in painful times. His sense of humour and his way of encouraging people made him many friends.
Fr. Anthony was born in San Francisco. As a child, he loved music and his parish church of St. Peter and Paul. He was ordanined a Salesian priest on July 2, 1944.
In July 1980 Fr. Anthony came to Edmonton. His first priority was to organize the families in 12 districts which were called “Guilds.” Each group. visited the sick and helped the needy. Together they created the first parish council. They visited every family in the area for a census and produced a list of more than 1200 Catholic families. A church was needed. The Men’s Club started raising funds in 1981. The Catholic Women’s League was organized in our parish in 1982.Fr. Anthony appreciated the help of Fr. Henry Hall, a Salesian from England, who became associate pastor from March 1981 to May 1982 with great enthusiams.A building committee led by Ray Nugent worked in 1982-83 with the architect Joe Donahue for the plans of the church. In August 1983 Fr. Anthony was given a new assignment in the Salesian parish of Surrey BC. But he promised to come back for the dedication of the church, which he did one year later.
Fr. Harold grew up in California and joined the Salesians in 1956. He studied theology at the Salesian University in Rome and was ordained a priest on December 22, 1966. He became director of St. Mary’s School in Edmonton in 1973. He gradually become involved with the new St. Dominic Savio Parish, established in 1970, and later St. John Bosco. Archbishop Joseph MacNeil officially established the St. John Bosco parish community on September 1, 1978. A house was purchased to provide meeting rooms and offices. For several years, weekday Masses were celebrated in the basement. Sunday Masses were celebrated at St. Elizabeth Seton School.Fr. Harold’s main objective was “to form the parish community into a family.” Fr. Harold founded the Legion of Mary. He worked closely with the first three Catholic Schools in the area: St. Elizabeth Seton, St. Maria Goretti, and Anne Fitzgerald. In the spring of 1980 Fr. Danielson was asked to go to Rome to prepare himself for his new appointment in vocation ministry and seminary formation.