’Fr. Morgan comes to St. Basil’s after having served as Associate Pastor at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Rochester, New York, for eight years. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Fr. Morgan studied mechanical engineering at the University of Virginia and later worked for six years in the engineering field in Houston, Texas. It was there that he met the Basilian Fathers at St. Anne Parish and began to discern seriously the priesthood and religious life. The first Basilian he met there was Fr. Tom Mailloux who was pastor at St. Basil’s in the 1990s and the first Basilian pastor at the parish in Rochester.
Fr. Morgan is no stranger to Toronto since he spent four years studying in the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College. After completing his Master of Divinity degree, Fr. Morgan moved to Rochester but was ordained to the priesthood in his home parish in Texas on November 21, 2009. Fr. Morgan enjoys being back in Toronto where he explores the many good things it offers while serving and getting to know the people of St. Basil’s.
Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB entered the Basilian Novitiate in August 1967 after graduating from St. John Fisher College in his hometown of Rochester, New York, and he was ordained a priest in April 1974. He taught in Basilian high schools, was Director of Campus Ministry in Rochester and here at St. Michael’s College, and Dean of Student Life at St. John Fisher College. After serving eight years on the General Council of the Basilian Fathers, Fr. Norm was appointed pastor of Christ the King Parish in Rochester which was later merged with four other parishes to form St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, the largest parish in the diocese and where Fr. Morgan Rice, ministered before coming to St. Basil’s.
Besides being appointed Associate Pastor at St. Basil’s, he is Director of Associates, the young men who are beginning their formation as Basilians, and the Ordained Coordinator of the Toronto Area Basilian Lay Associates. Fr. Norm is looks forward to meeting new members of the parish community.
Margaret began working at St. Basil’s Church as an Office Manager in October of 2015. She joined St. Basil’s as a retired Teacher with over 25 years experience as the Head of Special Education and Behaviour Consultant. Prior to teaching, Margaret earned her Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology, and specialist certificates in both Religious and Special Education.
Margaret’s commitment to serving her community and helping others has always been at the forefront. She has (and continues to) volunteer for various local non-profit organizations such as The Toronto Botanical Gardens, L’Altra Italia (an organization that supports Italian arts and culture), Flower Ministry at St. Basil’s Church and ONEXONE. In her spare time, Margaret enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Michael Pirri joined St. Basil’s in 2017 as the Director of Community Engagement after having served as assistant organist in the 2016-2017 academic year. He organizes and arranges various forms of internal and external meetings, conferences, and wider community events, as well as overseeing liturgical ministries. He also works in consultation with various external communities such as the USMC Faculty of Theology Liturgy Committee, and the Dominican Institute of Toronto.
He graduated from King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario in 2013 with a Business Management degree, and works as a small business management consultant.
In his spare time, Michael dedicates himself to work in liturgical music; he is the Chair of the Toronto chapter of the Royal School of Church Music Canada, and has served on the nationwide Executive Board of the same institution since 2012.
Marilena brings to parish ministry her vast experience as a teacher of religious education, chaplaincy team leader and consultant for teacher religious education additional qualifications courses. Her area of expertise is in the area of writing religious education curriculum, sacramental programs and retreats for school boards, parishes and other Catholic organizations.
Originally from Montreal (Quebec), Marilena moved to Toronto in 2003 where she earned her Master’s of Religious Education from St. Michael’s College Faculty of Theology (2006) and a teaching degree from York University (2006).
Marilena received her certificate as a catechist of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Level 1, ages 3-6) from the University of St. Michael‘s College Continuing Education Department. In addition to cofounding the Atrium at St. Basil’s, she mentors teachers and early childhood educators in applying the themes and pedagogy of the Catechesis in their classrooms.
Marilena is currently completing her Doctor of Ministry (St. Michael’s College).
Marilena is a third order Salesian (also known as Salesian Cooperators). Her dedication to evangelize in Don Bosco’s spirit of “reason, religion and loving-kindness” is at the heart of her vocation. She brings this enthusiasm and commitment to St. Basil’s in her ministry with both children and adults.
Marilena has been married for over ten years and has three children.
John Paul Farahat fosters a diverse career as organist, improviser, accompanist, and conductor. As Director of Music and Principal Organist of Saint Basil's, he oversees the Casavant Frères organ (opus 800/2578) as well as the parish’s various music initiatives and choirs. John Paul additionally serves as one of five cathedral organists for Saint Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, and sits on the National Council of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Active as an international concert organist, John Paul‘s notable past engagements include Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Church of St-Eustache in Paris, the International Organ Festival Toulouse Les Orgues, and the Organ Festival of Chamonix; Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, as well as Coventry Cathedral, the University of Saint Andrews, and Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK; the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, as well as the ORGANIX festival and the Cathedral Church of Saint James in Toronto, and the Cathedral of Saint Hyacinthe in Québec.
John Paul holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Toronto where he researched the life and improvisations of Victor Togni (1935 – 1965) in the organ studio of Kevin Komisaruk, with whom he also studied harpsichord and improvisation. He received additional instruction from Olivier Latry, Peter Williams, Noam Sivan, Martin Haselböck and Thomas Murray.
Virginia-Ann Mervar has joined the St. Basil’s staff after attending liturgies at the parish since she began her undergraduate studies at University of St. Michael’s College in 2013. Virginia-Ann completed her undergraduate in the Concurrent Teacher Education Program receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Christianity and Culture with minors in English and Philosophy, while concurrently receiving a Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. After ongoing involvement in youth ministry and campus ministry, in her final year of her education degree, Virginia-Ann felt the call to discern military chaplaincy and began her studies at Regis College as she applied to be a Lay Pastoral Associate in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). In August, 2020, Virginia-Ann was sworn into the CAF as a chaplain-in-training and completed her Masters of Divinity conjointly with the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology Regis College in May 2021 for her chaplaincy qualifications. Virginia-Ann has joined the St. Basil’s Staff for parish and pastoral experience as the next phase of her military chaplaincy training. She looks forward to serving the vibrant St. Basil’s Parish community and is tremendously grateful that St. Basil’s is the parish that will equip her to serve those who serve our country.
Stefani Bedin is a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the University of Toronto, where she is majoring in pipe organ performance and pursuing research pertaining to Roman Catholic liturgical music. Stefani began working at St. Basil’s in 2017, while studying for the Master of Music degree in Organ Performance, shortly after having completed the Bachelor of Music in History and Theory (Honours) with a minor in historical keyboard at the University of Toronto. She also holds an A.R.C.T. in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. In addition to her work at St. Basil’s, which includes playing for liturgies and directing the St. Basil’s Singers, Stefani is also active as a Faculty of Music teaching assistant, freelance solo and collaborative organist and pianist, and private music instructor based in her hometown of Toronto. Committed to sharing the pipe organ's music with diverse audiences, Stefani has given several solo recitals and is also an active executive board member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ Toronto Centre.