Our Pastor

fr ashley mdBorn in St. John’s Newfoundland, William Ashley was the second youngest of four children. Father Ashley says he knew at a very tender age that he was meant for the priesthood. “ For me…the fourth grade…believe it or not. With the sacrament of Confirmation I became determined at that point that I was going to become a priest and that is what I was meant to be. Hard to believe you could make a decision like that at that age, but I did.”

Father Ashley attended grade school with the Christian Brothers of Ireland and then High school with the Jesuits. He studied for the priesthood in Rome at the Angelicum, the Dominican University in Rome. Father Ashley notes that Blessed John Paul II also studied there. In August 1976, Archbishop Carney of Vancouver ordained Father Ashley a Deacon. The next year, on April 21st, 1977 he was ordained to the Priesthood at St. Peters Basilica in Rome by Cardinal Edward Gagnon.

His first assignment was at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. Then Corpus Christi and four years as Pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in Abbottsford. While in Abbotsford, he founded the very successful St Anne’s Elementary School and purchased the property on behalf of the diocese on which now stands the current Catholic High School. He spent a number of years in the United States in various parish assignments. When he returned to Canada he was assigned as Chaplain, Vancouver General Hospital. About four years later he moved to Star of the Sea Parish in South Surrey where he served as Assistant Pastor for 3 years, then back to Holy Rosary Cathedral for a brief time before being assigned to Sts. Joachim and Ann Parish. “I find, that of all the Parishes I’ve been in, this is one of the most friendly.” He says. “It’s a country parish and the people are easy going. There are a lot of people volunteering for all kinds of things. We have almost 100 volunteers…that’s a lot for such a small parish.” Father Ashley says he has been very impressed by the involvement of parishioners, noting that more than 200 attended the first Parish Picnic held last summer. “We’ve got a kind of revival happening in our little friendly parish in the valley. There are lots of good things going on here.”

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