Learn more about the Chair of the Board.
Monsignor Hernán Astudillo is one of the founders of the San Lorenzo Community. He holds the role of Chair of the Board since, 2004. Monsignor Astudillo is a priest, a musician, a poet, a philosopher, but the one thing that describes him best, is that he is a humanist.
He was born in 1963 in the little town of El Valle, Cuenca, Ecuador. His struggles against intolerance and injustice began at a very early age. When he was nine, his family left El Valle and moved to a small community in the amazon basin. It was here, under the benevolent guidance of a Salesian priests that Monsignor Astudillo learned the gospel of compassion for the oppressed and the under-privileged. As he grew spiritually, he developed a great appreciation and understanding of the rich indigenous heritage. In high school, he participated in sports as well as cultural, musical and religious-pastoral activities. After graduating from high school, Monsignor Astudillo went to the University of Cuenca and the Diocese of Azuay where he studied philosophy, theology and anthropology. Here his paths crossed with Bishop Luis Alberto Luna Tobar, a man who had dedicated his life to the cause of the poor people. Greatly influenced by the Bishop’s commitment to the poor people, Monsignor Astudillo became an ardent supporter and worked relentlessly to further their cause.
The political instability experienced in Ecuador in the 1990’s forced Monsignor to leave his homeland and take refuge in a land that favors benevolence – Canada. Thus, in 1992, he arrived in Toronto as a political refugee. His struggles in Canada gave him a new perspective and sealed his desire to help all who lived on the fringe. On June 6, 1999 he was ordained as the first Hispanic Anglican priest in Canada and established the first Spanish-speaking congregation in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. His contributions to his community and society grow with every passing day. His empathy for the neglected and his love for humanity were instrumental in creating, together with a group of visionary associates the San Lorenzo Community back in 2004.
On May 25th, 2009, Monsignor Hernan received an award from Mayor Miller on behalf of the City of Toronto in recognition of the Caravan of Hope and his contribution to our city. Being present in the chambers as this honour was bestowed upon Monsignor Hernan and witnessing the standing ovation he received prior to his heartfelt speech, was truly an emotional moment not only because this was recognition of his many accomplishments, but also because it was a testimony to the efforts of many within the San Lorenzo Community and the greater Latino American community of Toronto.
After many years of faith, risks, threats, prayers, defamations, reflections, betrayals, hopes and love in abundance, the humanitarian priest was recognized for his tireless pastoral and social work at the service of the poorest. Thus, on November 8, 2019during the 159th Ordinary Session the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, announced that Father Hernan Astudillo had been designated as one of its new Monsignors and the first Latin American priest to reach such high position.
Monsignor Hernán Astudillo is a man of many talents. As a priest he provides spiritual sustenance, but as a human he touches lives with hope and compassion in a world where these are rare commodities.