Luncheon honours departing priest

Fr. James has been called to St. Agnes Parish in Thunder Bay after spending more than seven years serving four district parishes (OLOW, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Rainy River, Our Lady of the Lake in Morson, and St. Patrick’s in Emo).
When Fr. James was ushered into the lower hall, he was met with the chorus, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” Of course, he was all smiles and thrilled over what he was viewing from the entrance.
All four parishes were involved in the preparations for the luncheon.
During the past seven years and three months Fr. James was in our district, congregations got attached to his pleasant attitude, outgoing personality, and calm, cool, and collected approach.
He treated everyone with respect and dignity. He also worked very well with the local ministerial association, working together in community service for everyone’s good.
The community is reminded there will be a farewell reception for Fr. James after Mass on Saturday, June 26 in the lower hall of St. Patrick’s Church in Emo. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Fr. Dan Debano already has been named as the replacement for Fr. James.
“As you read or hear this message, most likely you all know that Bishop Colli has asked me to minister in your parish[s],” said Fr. Dan.
“I feel so honoured to have been asked to serve all of you, and I would like to express the word ‘serve,’” he added. “I came to the Diocese of Thunder Bay in 2003 because of the many experiences and ways I would have to serve as a priest.
“Once I get moved in and familiar with my new surroundings, I look forward in meeting with all of you and your families,” he added.
Fr. Debano, who has nine siblings, was raised on and owned a farm. He said if people are wondering how to remember his last name, it means bathroom in Spanish.
However, he is not Spanish. His late father was Maltese while his mother is French-Canadian.
“One thing I am looking forward to is being back out into the country,” Fr. Dan said. “I love the wide open spaces and your communities offer just that—lots of space.”
Fr. Dan saied he has been blessed with many gifts and talents. Being a farmer, and still a farmer at heart, he quickly acquired his father’s mechanical aptitude and mother’s cooking skills.
While his other gifts came later in life (paramedic, teacher, biologist, and the the priesthood), Fr. Dan said his siblings keep him humble by reminding him that he is the one in the family who is the “Jack of all trades and the master of none.”
“Again I am looking forward to serving each of you, your families, and your communities as your new pastor,” he concluded. “In the meantime, please keep both Fr. James and me in your prayers as we make this transition.”