Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
November 19, 2001
Bouchard urges on the faithful
Seminary rector installed as sixth bishop of St. Paul
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
ST. PAUL — Bishop Luc Bouchard was barely installed as bishop of St. Paul when he was already calling the faithful of his diocese to abundant life in Christ.
In an impromptu talk from the front of the sanctuary at the end of the three hour and 20 minute installation Mass, Bouchard was explaining his vision for the diocese.
"'I have come that they may have life.' That is the vision of Christ, the vision that Christ had for the world," said the bishop.
Then he surged forward into the congregation and challenged them: "Jesus leads us to life. Can I hear that from you?"
"Jesus leads us to life," the congregation answered with a thunderous roar.
"The world waits for a sign of hope," he continued. "May the bishop be a sign of hope. But may all Christians be a sign of hope. May all Christians be a sign of hope for the world."
Then turning to the World Youth Day Pilgrim Cross, which was erected in the sanctuary, Bouchard said that cross is a sign of the great love Christ has for us all.
"Let us all follow Christ, the hope of the world for us."
Bouchard, 51, was installed as bishop Nov. 9 in a packed Conversion of St. Paul Cathedral. The large sanctuary area was crammed with dozens of priests and bishops, including the three co-consecrators of the new bishop - Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton, Archbishop Eugene LaRocque of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ont., and Archbishop Emilius Goulet of St. Boniface, Man.
The church's nave and choir loft were also packed with laity and religious, many of whom had waited for more than an hour before the Mass began. An overflow crowd went to the nearby St. Paul Seniors' Centre where they participated in the Mass via video.
Among the congregation were many people from Newman Theological College and St. Joseph's Seminary where Bouchard has served as rector for more than a year and on the seminary formation team for about six years.
Catholics of the St. Paul Diocese were impressed with their new bishop.
"He's got dynamite in him," said Diane Mailloux of Bonnyville. "He's gonna rock this diocese."
"He sounds like a really great man. He sure can speak well," said Maria Poulin of St. Edouard.
Lorette Perren, a pastoral assistant at Bonnyville, looks forward to Bouchard's coming to administer Confirmation at her parish in a few weeks.
"He came down to the people's level here tonight. It shows me he's willing to work with the people," she said.
Many are glad the diocese has finally gotten a bishop after a nearly three-year wait since Collins was appointed to Edmonton.
"I feel he'll provide much-needed leadership here," said Marlon Biollo, a first-year seminarian from Venice, Alta. "I feel personally relieved that we finally got a bishop after a two-year-plus wait."
"We've been waiting for a bishop for a long time," echoed Edward Noel of St. Paul. Bouchard "knows how to talk. He knows how to explain things. He talks good French, good English."
Msgr. Robert Poulin, vicar-general of the diocese, told Bouchard on behalf of the priests, "We wish you many, many years of service as our shepherd."
Bouchard's 83-year-old mother Lucienne sat in the front row through the ordination as did other family members. A special celebration for the new bishop will be held in his home diocese in January.
Bishop LaRocque, who ordained Bouchard to the diaconate and priesthood more than 25 years ago, was emotional.
"Bishop-elect Luc, I shall be laying hands on you tonight for a third time. It doesn't happen often in the life of a bishop," he said in his homily.
Bouchard quipped that Collins, St. Paul's previous bishop who more recently served as its apostolic administrator for several months on top of his duties to the Edmonton Archdiocese, "is tonight probably the happiest man here."
The new bishop also paid tribute to the work of Father Walter Laliberty, who served as diocesan administrator before resigning when he was diagnosed with cancer.
"May God restore him to full health and life in abundance," Bouchard said.
Bringing greetings to Bouchard were Collin and Sherry Sikora representing youth, Annabelle Muncaster on behalf of the laity, Msgr. Poulin respresenting the priests and deacons, Frank Large representing the First Nations and Sister Gisele Carrier on behalf of the religious. A special presentation was also made by children of the diocese who gave the bishop several large greeting cards they had made.
Large presented Bouchard with a bevy of gifts on behalf of aboriginal people, including a large star blanket.
"As the wise men were led by a star, we give you your star embedded in this blanket," Large said.
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