Shibu Anthony and his wife Nimmy Shibu thank Fr. Bob Kasun for the help he has given them.


Shibu Anthony and his wife Nimmy Shibu thank Fr. Bob Kasun for the help he has given them.

June 27, 2016

EDMONTON - Ask Fred Prather about the job Basilian Father Bob Kasun has done as pastor of Edmonton's St. Alphonsus Parish, and the response is immediate.

"Phenomenal!" says the long-time parishioner. "This is a man utterly dedicated to the poor and downtrodden."

Prather runs off a litany of outreach programs Kasun has started ranging from a group that prays the rosary while walking down the 118th Avenue strip west of Rexall Place to having an annual street barbecue for the immigrants and low-income people of the neighbourhood.

Then, he recalls at the end of last year's picnic when Kasun finally got a plate of food for himself after serving others all afternoon.

"An unfortunate individual showed up late, expecting to be served, and the man reached out and took the plate out of Father's hand," he says. The priest didn't react at all, but simply went on his way.

As for the fact that Kasun is being taken away from the inner city to become an auxiliary bishop in Toronto, another veteran parishioner, Lucia Solinas, exclaims, "It's about time that he's going to be a bishop! He's going to be a wonderful, wonderful bishop."

Solinas continues, "Father Bob has the Spirit. He's very wise. You can talk to him about anything, and he has lots of patience."

Moses Nnadi started coming to St. Alphonsus in 2013 after arriving from Nigeria. Kasun encouraged him to become involved in the RCIA, Nnadi was baptized and confirmed the following Easter.

After that, Nnadi went to Kasun to find out how he could continue to grow in the faith. The pastor laid out several options, and the young student chose to become involved in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

"It has been a great blessing to me," he said. He prepares food hampers and helps take them to needy people in the area.

Shibu Antony and his wife Nimmy Shibu came to St. Alphonsus shortly after arriving in Canada from the Kerala state in southern India a couple years ago.

Antony was introduced to the parish's English as a second language program and learned enough English to get a job as a production worker.

"Good English class; good learning opportunity," he says. "I liked it."

Nimmy praises Father Bob. "He's such a nice person. He's so helpful."