Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 19, 2001
Appointment no surprise in Bouchard's old diocese
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
CORNWALL, ONT.— Twenty-five years after Bishop Eugene LaRoque ordained Luc Bouchard a priest, he acted as co-consecrator in Bouchard's ordination as bishop.
"It's a great blessing for any diocese to have one of its priests chosen to be a bishop," LaRocque told the WCR.
Bouchard is a very spiritual man open to doing the will of God, said LaRocque, bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ont., since 1974. "I think that is his most important quality," he added.
"I think he is willing to suffer whatever the suffering is to come with any exercise of authority," LaRocque emphasized.
Bouchard's selection as bishop did not come as a surprise for his diocese. "I can remember my priests saying, 'We knew that when he left the diocese this time, that we wouldn't see him again,'" LaRocque said.
In 1976 when Bouchard was ordained to the priesthood LaRocque saw "an extraordinary young man . . . a very fine student and a person who is close to people."
Bouchard's sense of poverty is another remarkable characteristic, said LaRocque.
When Bouchard was a university student he went down to Hidalgo, Mexico, to work with poor people during the summer.
"I think that marked him as a man who loves the poor, but I have seen that in him even before he went to Mexico."
There is a great richness in that (character) especially that one can have a great deal of faith and joy in the Lord even with little of this world's riches, said LaRocque.
From Bouchard's Hidalgo experience to experiences in ministry to his penchant for music and cooking, LaRocque thinks the new bishop has a holistic personality.
Bouchard is one of the few men who never lived in a seminary but became a priest.
When Bouchard was studying theology he lived in the Dominican house across the campus with the Dominicans and other students.
"They were not living in luxury I can assure you," LaRocque said.
After a few years of parish ministry, LaRocque sent Bouchard for four years of further studies in Scriptures. He trusted that Bouchard could profit, and so would the Church, from this endeavour.
When he visited Bouchard at the Biblicum in Rome, he was pleased with what he heard.
"It is very seldom that we have a student who studies with his heart as well as with his mind," LaRocque was told by the rector of the Biblicum.
LaRocque was right about his discernment, because Bouchard's knowledge of the Scripture was shared not only with young men preparing for ordination but also with lay people and the priests in his diocese.
When Bouchard's election as bishop was made public, LaRocque phoned his mother, Lucienne Morin-Bouchard. "I thought she should find out from me rather than reading it in the newspaper."
"It was a good thing, because Father Luc was away and didn't get to talk to her until that evening."
"She would have read it from the newspaper before she would have heard it from him."
His mother was "astonished", recalled LaRocque. That is reasonable "knowing that she would see him far less now than before because it is more difficult to get away as a bishop," he added.
LaRocque thinks Bouchard will make a great contribution not only to the Diocese of St. Paul but also to the whole Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops.
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