Meet Father Andrew Leung, CSB

Father Andrew Leung, CSB was warmly welcomed as pastor and rector of the parishes of St. Alphonsus and St. Clare in Edmonton, Alberta in the summer of 2016.  He replaced Bishop Bob Kasun, CSB who was appointed by Pope Francis as an auxiliary bishop of Toronto. This sense of community among the Basilians follows Father Andrew, no matter where life takes him.

Father Leung was born in Calgary to Gemma and Hok-Ling Leung. He and his brother, Benedict, were heavily involved with the Chinese parish they attended. A young Andrew went through the sacraments and as a youth participated in the church as an organist and pianist, altar server, and reader. He attended former Basilian high school, St. Mary’s Senior High, but it wasn’t until university that he first encountered the Basilians.

He was heavily involved in student life at his residence, St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta, and he got to know the Basilians who lived there. At the end of his first year, he was approached by Father Jeff Thompson, CSB who asked if Andrew would be interested in joining the priesthood. He said he would consider it.

While in university, he spent his summers working on Strawberry Island, a Basilian summer retreat where he was introduced to more Basilians. He earned his Bachelor of Education in Physical Science and Biology, and took a part time teaching position at the Edmonton Catholic Public School Board. The Basilians invited him to teach at St. Michael’s College School. Following this, Father Leung decided he would pursue priesthood. He completed his first year of theology before going to Vancouver to complete his novitiate year at the Basilian novitiate in Vancouver, British Colombia. Afterwards, he continued on as a scholastic and earned his Master of Divinity from the University of St. Michael’s College.

In 2012, he earned his Master of Education from the University of Toronto and in 2016 completed his principal qualification courses at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

He was ordained at St. Basil’s parish in Toronto in April 2008 and spent a year serving there as a young priest. As there was a need for masses in Chinese and Father had the opportunity to go to Hong Kong to improve his language skills. Even in Hong Kong he still had ties to the Basilian community. He taught at Our Lady’s College, the high school his mother had attended, and the principal was the sister of Father Daniel Chui, CSB.

Back in Canada, he returned to St. Basil’s and was associate pastor from 2009-2013 and also as the Coordinator of Associates for the Basilian Fathers from 2011-2013. In this role he guided associates along the process through retreats and projects. He sympathized with the associates when they were discouraged and reflected on his own journey to joining the Basilians. “When my friends from university were getting married, I would wonder if this is right path. But if God didn’t want me in this vocation, I wouldn’t be happy,” he said.

What makes Father Leung the happiest is accompanying parishioners throughout their lives.

“I am invited to witness very private moments: some of the most joyous and saddest times in people’s lives. It’s a very humbling experience,” he said.

He also enjoys the opportunities to travel. He has visited Germany and Australia for World Youth Days and worked and lived all over Canada and the U.S. He enjoys the variety of teaching at many different Catholic schools and seeing from the inside how each institution operates differently. “I’ve had the chance to experience a diverse range of cultures and it’s quite helpful to see people’s different perspectives and their sense of priorities,” he said.

No matter where he travels, he is always among family. He returned to St. Michael’s in 2013 and lived with his Basilian brothers who also work at the high school. He was the youngest member of the house and also the Superior, meaning he managed the household. “Basilians are a family. Every family has unique characteristics and everyone is equal.” said Father Andrew. “There’s usually a good sense of humour and openness among the brothers.”

After years of teaching general science and physics at St. Michael’s College School, he stepped into a new role of Director of Spiritual Life in the fall of 2015. He felt there was something special about this independent school, more than the school’s strong hockey culture. The most noticeable difference was the overwhelming sense of community among the teachers, students, and parents. He recognized that the students saw him in a new way. “Teenagers seek out knowledge in a more open way. They open themselves up for discovery and they want guidance, that’s an important trait that they have,” he said.

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