Round Lake is about 2 hours west of Ottawa and is perched just east of Algonquin Park. The people there are very spiritual and friendly.
In the summer 1989, our extended family had access to a cottage on Round Lake. I can still see the waves lapping in to the sandy shore and feel the warmth of the sunset over the lake. Our parish priest Fr. John Burchat hails from Round Lake having grown up in this small community.
The other day I paid a visit to a friend there, Fr. John Bosco Gali, OMI. He is parish priest at St. Casimir’s RC Church, on the banks of the beautiful sandy shored Round Lake. It was his last day to be assigned there.
St. Casimir’s was founded in 1928 in Round Lake whose full-time population is listed as 516. In summer the numbers swell with cottagers and campers. The Parish is not without sadness. On March 20, 2011, a tragic fire burned down the rectory killing the popular Fr. George Olsen who was trapped in the basement: https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/eastern-ont-priest-believed-to-be-victim-of-fatal-fire-1.621568
The rectory was rebuilt and Fr. John Gali was assigned there as Parochial Vicar 5 years ago. Fr. John was born in South East India in Tamil Nadu State. He had a very traditional Catholic upbringing in a community of families whose faith was to promote at least one child to religious vocation. His family supported his call to serve God. He was ordained into the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on December 8, 1994. He came to Canada in 2011 as a member of the Assumption (Polish) Oblate Province of Canada.
Marie and I had met him on a pilgrimage to Wilno, ON at St. Mary’s and had been trying to get together ever since, to chat. He is going to Poland on a one year sabbatical to learn the Polish language and culture. It was very gracious of him to fit me in on his last day. There were people coming and going. Despite that we sat down for an hour and had a chat over pizza. He raves about India and how strong the Catholic faith is there. Think of Mother Theresa he said and you will begin to understand the face of Catholicism there.
Fr. John likes being an Oblate in the Polish Province. They are a strong province with resources. His position will apparently not be back filled until November 2018 when another Oblate becomes available . The pastor at St. Mary’s, Fr. Roman Majek, OMI will be responsible for St. Casimir’s in the meantime. I was told by some parishioners I met that they will miss Fr. John dearly.
Fr. John says living in Round Lake is not unlike living in the small village he grew up in. “It is so inspiring to journey with a traditional family community in St. Casimir’s Round Lake…It has been a great privilege and the blessing of God that the Lord offered me this opportunity, and I am grateful to God.”
God Bless you and goodbye for now Fr. John, St. Eugene de Mazenod, pray for us.
*(With information and quotes from Ecclesia, the Newsletter of the Catholic Diocese of Pembroke, Feb 2018 edition)