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By Mark Pavilons
A respected and loved member of the community is leaving one family behind, but moving in with a new one.
Father Paul Hancko, who served as priest at St. Mary's in Nobleton and St. Patrick's in Schomberg, is moving to the Immaculate Conception Parish, Sutton West & Our Lady of the Lake Mission, Keswick.
He called his departure “bitter-sweet,” because he enjoyed his time here immensely, calling it “my best time as a priest.
“They are (local congregations) my family,” he said, noting they shared many wonderful moments together.
Always optimistic, he wishes his congregations pease and hope for the future.
At the last mass June 17, the Knights of Columbus presented a cheque to the church for $13,000, representing Father Paul's 13 years of service.
Ordained in 1989 in Winnipeg, Father Hancko spent the last 13 years in King, chalking up a number of key accomplishments for both congregations.
The accomplishments, and growth of both congregations, were impressive.
According to members of the congregation, Father Paul's contributions were on both the spiritual and material levels.
When he came to St. Patrick Church in 2005, there were roughly 40 people sitting in the pews and about 10 members, with an average age of about 75 in the choir; no altar servers at all and hardly any young people.
In Nobleton there was one holy Mass on Sunday at the Mission Church with about 20-25 people and in the gym with about 80-90 people.
Fr. Paul started Marian and Corpus Christi processions in both towns. He started to pray and hear confessions every Thursday.
They organized annual pilgrimages to Guadalupe and purchased a full size Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the new Church and had it blessed in front of the Miraculous Icon.
Today in Schomberg there are two English masses on Sunday and the church is full at both times. There is also one Latin Mass.
In Nobleton there is one Mass on Saturday and one on Sunday, both well attended.
In both churches the CWL and K of C organizations are active, and in Nobleton Padre Pio Prayer Group.
In terms of sacraments administered, baptisms Communions and Confirmations are at an all-time high.
St. Patrick Church was painted; the basement hall re-built; a new washroom placed in the lobby of the church; wheelchair access ramp built and the huge stone with the picture of St. Patrick and the name of the church placed in front of the church.
The showpiece granite sculpture, roughly six feet tall, was courtesy of Joe Melo of Melo Landscaping and Allstone Quarry Products.
Melo thanked Father Hancko for “a job well done,” noting he demanding but very professional. The congregation, Melo noted, was very lucky to have had someone with so many accomplishments.
One of the most important actions, according to Deacon Milan Popik, was moving the Tabernacle to the centre of the church. Everybody who came into the church after the move stated that it looks like a “real church” now.
“In St. Mary's it is impossible to describe in details the changes.”
Fr. Paul came into community that wanted to build the church in Nobleton. After nine years of collecting in 2005 they had $100,000. Fr. Paul established a new steering committee and by 2008 there was $1 million collected. On Oct. 26, 2008 they broke ground and on Sept. 21, 2009 the construction began. In September 2010, the first holy mass was held in the new Church and on Oct. 2, 2010 His eminence Cardinal Thomas Collins blessed the new St. Mary's Church.
“It was an amazing journey,” Deacon Popik noted.
Also amazing was the fundraising efforts and the motto “every penny counts” was theme behind the “Pennies from Heaven” campaign, which brought over 1,200,000 pennies (over $12,000) into the building fund.
“Through people's generosity Fr. Paul's vision of St. Mary's Church was taking its shape,” Deacon Popik added. “It was not a small task. Just think how many decisions had to be made.”
This amazing achievement takes many, many years to achieve in some locations.
“Thanks to generous donors, St. Mary's in Nobleton is one of the most beautiful churches in the Toronto area. All in the short 13 years under Fr. Paul's leadership.”
Father Hancko was also on hand just recently to help mark the 50th anniversary of St. Patrick School in Schomberg.
“Father Paul has served our community for 13 years, during which he built a church, provided the sacraments to our children, performed weddings and comforted us during our saddest moments of loss. He truly is a servant of the people and will be greatly missed,” added King Mayor Steve Pellegrini.
Excerpt: A respected and loved member of the community is leaving one family behind, but moving in with a new one. Father Paul Hancko, who served as priest at St. Mary’s in Nobleton and St. Patrick’s in Schomberg, is moving to the Immaculate Conception Parish, Sutton West & Our Lady of the Lake Mission, Keswick.
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