Granting sanctuary

In September 2005, Steve Watson of the CAW came to speak with Fr. Astudillo seeking support for an innocent man who had been living in Canada for the last 18 years. A father of three children, Sergio Loreto was being victimized by the immigration system as a result of poor legal advice when he first applied for immigration to Canada. In addition, the media hounded him and his wife and his Canadian born children were being held by family services. Sergio needed sanctuary to prevent him from being sent back to his native country, Guatemala. Desperate and scared, he took refuge in the Parish and for security reasons changed his name to 'Mario Perez'.

Every day for 'Mario' was filled with anxiety and fear. Away from his family, he was lonely. To cope with his intense pain and disappointments, 'Mario' spent his days cleaning and helping to organize the church, assisting with Radio Voces Latinas and wherever else he was needed. At the end of his long days, he slept in the basement of the church. After four months of living in the shadows, 'Mario Perez' stepped out into the world. In a press conference directed by representatives of CAW, the Anglican Diocese and Fr. Astudillo, the plight of an innocent man called ‘Sergio Loreto’ was revealed to the public.

Grateful for the help San Lorenzo extended in his hour of need, Sergio 'adopted' San Lorenzo as his family. He enriched this humble community that stood behind him in his darkest hour. He was an engineer, a radio programmer, a producer and a 'compañero' to all, giving tirelessly of his skills and his heart. In September 2006, unfortunately, Sergio Loreto was arrested and deported to Guatemala.

The Parish continues to work towards bringing Sergio Loreto back to Canada.