On May 22nd, in the St. James Church in Okotoks south of Calgary the faithful and broader public celebrated a very rare anniversary. Priest John Bastigal, who worked in St. James and St. Michael parish for over fourteen years and whose service culminated in the opening of the new church with a capacity of twelve hundred visitors, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to priesthood.
'Father Jack' as everyone in the Diocese of Calgary calls him was born on May 28, 1937 in Drumheller, Alberta, son of Ján and Brigita Baštigal from Liptovská Revúca in Slovakia, who emigrated to Canada in 1926. Son John graduated from the seminary in Edmonton and after ordination served in several parishes of the Diocese of Calgary. Along with the services to parishioners, he served as the chaplain at the University of Calgary and also started popular spiritual radio and television programs in Calgary.
In 1968, he started postgraduate studies at Fordham University in New York City where he graduated in Sociology. During that time he also worked at the Institute for Social Research at Fordham. He was also able to accept a one-year visiting professorship of Sociology at the University of Puerto Rico while completing his graduate work. After such successful scientific and educational career, he obeyed a call from the Bishop of Calgary that it is time return to pastoral ministry.
In his ministry in Calgary, Okotoks, and Black Diamond, his priestly devotion and spiritual inspiration far exceeded the boundaries of the parishes where he served. Also, he successfully launched and completed the fundraising for the construction of two impressive new churches: the Ascension Church in Calgary, and later the St. James Church in Okotoks, for which the faithful donated millions of dollars.
Besides all the hard work, father Bastigal never forgot the Slovak community in Calgary, whose spiritual leader he still remains. Every two months serves a Mass in Slovak and also makes available other church sacraments in our mother tongue. See more in the photo galleries in section Slovak community / Calgary,
Although he has formally retired three years ago, Father Jack still actively assists in the diocese and meets the spiritual needs of Slovaks in Calgary. On June 4, many from the Slovak community did congratulate him in person at the Holy Mass in Slovak.
Therefore, in addition to our cordial congratulations we are proud to add our 'Thanks God for such a great Slovak priest'!
on behalf of Calgary Branch 65 of the Canadian Slovak League
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