Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 25, 2002
Ouellet named Canada's primate
New archbishop of Quebec was rector at local seminary
By RENATO GANDIA
"I hope that together we would be able to do something for the youth so that they could meet Jesus Christ."
- Archbishop Marc Ouellet
"It is a great honour to be called to head the Archdiocese of Quebec, which is the first see in Canada historically.
"It is a diocesan community with many resources and great experiences. So I look forward to contact them and to get to know them and to work with them, said the archbishop."
Being a primate does not refer to episcopal powers, which each bishop possesses fully, but to ecclesiastical jurisdiction and organization especially in national churches.
With his new appointment, Ouellet is not only challenged but also "thrilled by the perspective of collaborating with other bishops in the province of Quebec and with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops."
After receiving his appointment the first thing he did was go to St. Peter's Basilica and offer a Mass, pray the Creed in the tomb of St. Peter and pray for all the people in the Quebec Archdiocese.
"I asked God to bless them and bring them hope and in a special way to help the Church of Quebec to connect more with the youth, to give a follow-up to the visit of the holy father in Toronto.
"I hope that together we would be able to do something for the youth so that they could meet Jesus Christ and discover the meaning of life from a friendship with him."
Ouellet, 58, expects his installation in Quebec to happen in January.
He was born in Lamotte, Que., and studied at the Montreal Major Seminary. Ordained a priest in 1968, he entered the Society of St. Sulpice in 1972.
He earned a degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 1974 and a doctorate in dogmatic theology from Rome's Gregorian University in 1983.
For 10 years, he served as a professor and rector in a seminary in Colombia before returning to Canada.
From 1990 to 1994 he was rector and professor at the Montreal seminary and from 1994 to 1997 served as rector of St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton.
A former colleague at St. Joseph Seminary, Sulpician Father Gerry Gaudrault, told the WCR, "It is a surprise to see a Sulpician connection in Quebec."
"In that respect it would seem at the outset, that Archbishop Ouellet has been named with a strong Vatican backing."
Historically, Quebec bishops were diocesan priests, Gaudrault noted.
Gaudrault, who is now at Montreal's Grand Seminary, believes Ouellet will bring a new theological orientation to the archdiocese.
"I think the Vatican feels that the Church in Quebec needs a strong theologian. I think that as far as theology goes the new archbishop will bring a strong theological thought to his work."
Ouellet left Edmonton in 1997 to become a professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at Rome's Lateran University.
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