Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 25, 2008
Vermilion pastor a profound preacher
Polish priest dies suddenly at 46
Fr. Stan Lasko
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Father Stanislaw Lasko, the pastor of Vermilion and area, will be remembered as a shy yet outspoken preacher and a friendly and devout priest.
"Even though his personality was shy, he was a very good homilist and he was able to bring the message of Christ right down to where people could apply it in their lives," said Deacon Kenneth Noster, who worked closely with Lasko.
"He had a very deep, profound spirituality and he actually used his introversion to meditate profoundly on the Gospel and then he was able to express that (from the pulpit). So he was a very outspoken preacher because he had something profound to express."
Lasko died unexpectedly on Aug. 6 at the age of 46. He was a diabetic and had suffered from malaria and pneumonia in the past.
"We were all shocked (by his death)," Noster said. "He was in very poor health but nobody had an idea that he was so fragile because he carried himself very well. He suffered a great deal and he seemed to suffer quietly and patiently and he really didn't show how ill he was."
Lasko was ordained a priest May 29, 1988 in Poland with the Society of the Divine Saviour, commonly know as the Salvatorians. He did parish work in Poland until 1993, when he came to Canada.
One of the first Polish Salvatorians in Canada, Lasko served as a pastor in the dioceses of Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary before coming to Edmonton.
In August 2006, after two years as associate pastor of St. Joseph Basilica, Lasko became pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Vermilion, and the attached parishes of Clandonald and Derwent. He preached retreats all over North America and also led parish missions.
"He was a very kind and a very sensitive man," said Father Darek Zarebski, superior of the 21 Salvatorian priests in Canada. "He was kind of a romantic soul who would write poetry to express his feelings."
Zarebski, who came to Vermilion to preside at Lasko's funeral Mass Aug. 14, also described the late priest as a spiritual man. "His homilies were deeply spiritual," he observed.
"He was a lovely priest and a lovely preacher," said Vermilion parishioner Patricia Laurence. "He had a real gift for instruction. He was very well studied and he gave his homilies based on historical things as well as his knowledge of the Scriptures."
Laurence, a mother of two who moved to Vermilion two years ago, also saw Lasko as a man of prayer.
"He just seemed a very prayerful person. Personally he was very shy but as a priest he was solid; he was wonderful. And I went to Confession with him and I found him a very good confessor as well. He was very merciful and he gave good advice. I really respected Father."
Sense of humour
Lasko also had a good sense of humour.
"He didn't joke all the time but he would throw in a joke often at the beginning of his homilies," Laurence recalled. "He would have something humorous to say before he would start and a lot of it would be Polish jokes because he was Polish. He was very good-natured that way."
The parishes of Vermilion, Clandonald and Derwent were amalgamated more than 15 years ago but still lacked unity when Lasko arrived.
"In two years he changed our hearts," Noster said. "He actually created a unity between the three parishes here that had not been achieved at that level before."
How did he do that? "Through his gentle approach," explained Noster. "Everybody loved him and so people were drawn to him and wanted to do what he wanted."
A memorial Mass for Lasko was held in Vermilion Aug. 14 and a Mass of Resurrection was held at St. Joseph Basilica in Edmonton Aug. 15. His cremated remains were sent to Poland for burial.