Home Page
   
Advanced search
Reserved area
Lost Password?   Sign up
> News...

An award of distinction
30/03/2011 Assumption

In 2004, the Niagara Catholic District School Board introduced the Niagara Catholic Education Award of Distinction to recognize the valuable contribution made by individuals and groups to Catholic education in the Niagara Region of Canada.

The recipient this year was the late Fr. Stanley PUCHNIAK, the first Oblate to come to the Archdiocese of Toronto in 1935 at the invitation of Cardinal James McGuigan to serve the Polish community. He died in 1989.

Marco Magazzeni, in his submission to the Niagara Catholic District School Board requesting that Fr. Puchniak be recognized as a true pioneer of Catholic Education in the Niagara region, said: “Fr. Puchniak is what Catholic education was, what it is today and what it needs to be into the future – sacrifice and determination.”

In accepting the award on behalf of the Oblates, Fr. Chris PULCHNY said of our honouree: “It is an honour to be here this evening to receive the award and recognition for Fr. Stanley Puchniak as the recipient of the 2011 Niagara Catholic Education Award of Distinction. As you know, he was the first Oblate to come to the Archdiocese of Toronto. He was invited by Cardinal McGuigan in 1935 to serve the Polish community. He had a tremendous love and care for immigrants, the poor and abandoned. He was the founder of St. Stanislaus - St. Casimir Parishes Credit Union which is the largest parish Credit Union in the World. He was instrumental in bringing the Felician Sisters to Canada from the USA. He built three schools, two in Welland and one in Fenwick. And he received the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” medal. He was a priest, teacher and preacher but above all, he was a missionary. He was a proud member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a religious community of men which contributed much to the building up of Canada and helped in weaving the fabric of our society. Whatever he did, he did with the support of his religious community and without that support, I don’t think he would have been able to accomplish all that he did. He was a visionary, a man full of humour and down to earth. He was able to dream dreams and bring them to reality. If he were here tonight, I think he would be speechless, but in his heart, he would be saying that he was only an instrument and did only what he thought should be done for the betterment of the people he was sent to serve. But I think he would also say: Thank you. Thank you for continuing to believe in dreams and thank you for continuing to make them a reality! On behalf of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, I humbly accept this recognition for Fr. Stanley Puchniak and all Oblates who have served in this region”. (News and Views, Assumption Province, March 2011)