Our History

The present Church of the Ascension, which now serves a total of over 900 families and individual households, came about through the amalgamation of two established churches, one in Qualicum Beach and the other in Parksville. Funds were raised within the two churches to acquire several acres of land, from the Mulholland family of Duncan, on which the present church was built in 1969.
St. Theresa - Church of the Little Flower, established at Qualicum Beach on May 19th, 1935 and St. John Vianney, established at Parksville on December 19th, 1948, were the two churches that preceded the Church of the Ascension. One priest looked after both of these churches and provided services that extended into the community well beyond the parishes. An example of this was Father Bullock who taught classes at the Qualicum College and, among other things, initiated a local ambulance service which travelled to hospitals in Comox and Nanaimo. 
The first parish priest of the Church of the Ascension was Father Jan Planeta who came here in February 1968 to see the present church built and established. Unfortunately his time as the parish priest was cut short by a tragic motor vehicle accident near Nanoose in the fall of 1969 when he and two other persons lost their lives. 
Father Planeta was followed by Father Kevin Wiseman who came here in June 1970. Father Wiseman was the parish priest for fourteen years and he left in 1984. During his time here, Knox United Church shared Ascension's premises of Sunday worship until their new building was completed on Pym Road in Parksville. In 1981 there was an addition made to the church hall to meet the needs of the ever growing parish. 
It is noteworthy that both Father Planeta and Father Wiseman had been prisoners of war during World War II. Father Planeta, a priest at the time, was imprisoned in the infamous Dachau from 1939 until 1945 when U.S. Forces freed the prison camp. Father Wiseman, a student priest at the time, was imprisoned in France from 1940 until 1944 when France was liberated by the Allied Forces. 
Father Wiseman was followed by Father Paul Blanchard in 1984, who in turn was followed by Rather Ray Cunningham, a native of Nanaimo, in August 1987. He served as a priest in Port Alberni prior to becoming the Pastor at the Church of the Ascension. Once again to meet the needs of this growing parish, a further addition was made to the church hall in 1992, with offices, activity rooms and storage rooms being added. Father Cunningham, because of poor health, retired in May of 1997 and the parish was without a pastor for the next 14 months. In the ensuing interval the staff and council did an excellent job administrating the parish until a replacement pastor was named. There were priests who came for most of the weekend liturgies though lay services were held on some weekends.
Father Michael Favero was appointed to the parish in August 1998. Father Michael was ordained in 1992, after which he served as an assistant in Campbell River and looked after the communities of Gold River and Tahasis. In 1994 he was appointed to the far north of the Island to served the communities of Alert Bay, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and Zeballos. Father Michael in serving those communities put 98,000 kilometres on his truck in two and a half years. He wecomed the challenge of his appointment to this large parish with less mileage, The Church of the Ascension. 
Father Jozef Kobos SDS was born in Poland on October 16th, 1949. He joined the religious order of the Salvatorian Fathers and was ordained to the Priesthood on April 13th, 1977. He served as a pastor in Poland until 1990 when he moved to the United States where he served in Chicago, New Jersey, and New York. In 1995 Fr. Jozef was transfered to Cranbrook, BC and on January 6th, 1996 he was assigned as pastor to Sparwood and Elkford. In 1998 Fr. Jozef was reassigned to Kasslo and then in 1999 he was relocated to Vancouver Island to become pastor to Chemainus and Ladysmith. Father Jozef was appointed to the Church of the Ascension on January 15th, 2004. 
Father Melquiades Bayron was born on December 10, 1973. He came from Langkis, Duero, Bohol. He grew up and took up his Philosophy and Theology course in the Philippines. He was ordained as a Diocesan Priest on June 29, 2002. He first came to Canada in April 2007, visiting his relatives and benefactors in Vancouver. While in Canada, he applied to work in the Diocese of Victoria. He started serving the diocese in August 2008. His first assignment was in Ladysmith as parish administrator at St. Mary's church. In July 2009, he was moved to Courtenay/Comox to serve as assistant parish priest at Christ the King church. In August 2010, he was moved to Victoria to serve as assistant parish priest at St. Andrew's Cathedral. On August 1, 2011 he was moved to Parksville to serve the Church of the Ascension as Parish Priest.
Fr. Karam Alraban was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He was ordained as a priest in 2011 in the Syriac Catholic Rite. He served in Our Lady of Salvation, Syriac Catholic Church, until 2012. Then he moved to St. Behnam, Syriac Catholic Church, to serve until 2013. He arrived in Canada in 2014 after he was targeted in Iraq. After he received his convention refugee status in Canada, he was incarnated into the Diocese of Victoria, BC. In Canada, Fr. Karam has volunteered in Caholic organizations to help refugees and make them feel welcome. He began his ministry as the Administrator of the Church of the Ascension in Parksville, BC on July 13, 2015.
Fr. Bernard Injou Lee was appointed interim replacement Pastor of the Church of the Ascension on April 18, 2017.

Father Michael Favero returned to serve as pastor of Church of Ascension for the second time in the summer of 2017 and was officially installed by Bishop Gary Gordon on October 28, 2017.
The 50th Anniversary of the building of the Church of Ascension was celebrated on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019, “Ascension Sunday”. We give thanks and praise to God for the beautiful day. A very warm “thank you” to the nearly 200 who attended the Mass of the Ascension of the Lord and the picnic party on the front lawn, and to the many parishioners who contributed their time and talents to make this a very successful event.

Fr. Thomas Chinnappa, our current priest, was born on December 12th, 1970 in a small village in Mysore, Karnataka State, South India. He grew up in a rural area in the diocese of Mysore. He is one of seven children. He has four sisters and two brothers, and he is the “baby of the family”. After graduating from high school, he entered the seminary to begin studies for the priesthood. He studied philosophy and theology at St. Peter’s Pontifical Major Seminary in Bangalore, South India. Fr. Thomas was ordained to the Priesthood in the diocese of Mysore on May 4, 1998. After his ordination, he served the diocese in a variety of ministerial capacities: Associate Pastor, Pastor, Chaplain of a high school, principal of a pre-university college, and principal of an undergraduate college. He earned the degrees of Master of Commerce (M. Com.) and Master of Education (M. Ed.) and he has a doctorate in Philosophy (Ph. D.) on tribal Christians. On April 25, 2017, he came to Canada to serve the diocese of Victoria. From May 1, 2017 until January 2019 he provided pastoral outreach ministry to the First Nations Bands in the Saanich Peninsula Parish. On March 1, 2019, he was appointed to serve full-time as the Hospital Chaplain for the Diocese in the Capital Region of Victoria. On May 1, 2020 he was moved to Nanaimo to serve as the Interim Pastor of St. Peter’s Church. In August 2020, he was moved to Victoria to serve as Assistant Parish Priest at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. On March 15, 2021 he was moved to Parksville to serve as the Administrator of The Church of the Ascension.

Fr. Thomas enjoys ministering to God’s people as a pastor. He is passionate about bringing people together in faith, administering the Sacraments, and proclaiming the word of God.