Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2003
Bishop Roy laid to rest
Former St. Paul bishop remembered for perseverance
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
The church bell was ringing almost incessantly, announcing the final hour of the man who built not only churches, but communities.
Bishops, priests and the people who knew and loved him processed from the church to the cemetery to lay to rest the body of the late Bishop Emeritus Raymond Roy of St. Paul, July 2.
More than 500 people including four bishops, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton, Archbishop Arthe Guimond of Grouard-McLennan, Bishop Emeritus of Gravelbourg Noel Delaquis and St. Paul Bishop Luc Bouchard, and 31 priests participated in the funeral Mass at St. Paul Cathedral.
Roy's relatives and friends outside of St. Paul Diocese from places like Winnipeg, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and elsewhere attended the funeral.
Known as a first-rate preacher and church builder, Roy was bishop of St. Paul for 25 years until retiring in June 1997.
Bouchard told the WCR, Roy's death means a loss of a shepherd and a friend. "The people love him very much."
When Roy died the people were saddened but at the same time it gave them a moment filled with faith and hope that he is with the Lord now, Bouchard said.
Roy left many legacies to the Church. "He loved to preach and so the people appreciated very much his preaching and his love for Word of God. He always promoted all the organizations and put into place the lay formation program and the JP II Bible School."
Bouchard thinks his predecessor's perseverance and his commitment to service are noteworthy.
This is affirmed by the telegrams that Bouchard received from the Vatican, Pope John Paul, cardinals and other bishops.
"They pointed out his perseverance in his ministry for 25 years a bishop. The last years of his life were marked by suffering but he never complained. In a way he gave his life even in suffering. So he is a faith-filled man."
"I know that he loved his family and his family loved him," said Bouchard.
Winnipeg's Marcelle Mousseau told the WCR, "He was good-natured. He had a lot of love and compassion. He loved to joke around."
Mosseau, one of Roy's nieces and a goddaughter, has many memories of the late bishop. "But they are in a jumble right now," she said, while trying to hold back her tears.
Her sister Berthe Palud remembered in 1966 when their family was hit by a flood. Their uncle came and helped them to move to a secure place and later accommodated them in his rectory in St. Pierre, Man.
"We're all very fortunate to have him. He housed us in his rectory and he used to tell us stories about Jesus and Little Red Riding Hood. He had a wide variety of stories and kept us out of trouble."
"You know in the rectory there were lots of things that little fingers would want to touch."
Palud will remember her uncle by his love: "His love of God, of family, of meeting and helping people, his love of plants, trees and nature."
"I felt really badly for my mother, because he was the only surviving brother of the whole family. Now there's only my mother and my aunt."
Palud was also relieved because she saw how her uncle slowed down.
"All his life, uncle was a leader. He built churches, communities and charitable organizations, and when he fell really sick he became very mellow and very easy going. It was a total reversal of roles for him."
"He was a very good shepherd in many areas of human life," she said.
Gilbert Rioux of St. Pierre Jolys, Man., said, "My uncle was a real family man. He really enjoyed his family, nephews, nieces. Every time there was a gathering he would gather people together. I think he also did that in church. He gathered people together."
Rioux saw his uncle as a man of vision for the Church, who had a lot of expertise in building the Church both spiritually and physically.
"But he was also a guy like you. He didn't mind rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirtied. He worked with the people even though he was a bishop."
"I think that's his greatest strength - raised as a farm boy he remembered and respected his roots."
He too was saddened by his uncle's death but in a way was happy "because he'd been sick for two years and the quality of life wasn't there anymore."
Rioux found it difficult to see his uncle suffering because he was a person who had been so active.
Father James McHugh is one of the many priests Roy had invited to discern his calling.
"He is a very generous man and a man you can talk with."
McHugh, pastor at St. Catherine in Lac La Biche, noted, "He was always in search for vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life."
He knew Roy for years but met him when he was confirmed in his parish in Whitecourt. Years later Roy approached McHugh to enter the seminary.
"He made it clear that going to the seminary is a time for discernment, that I might decide it's not for me. He certainly never made you feel guilty.
"He had the openness of heart."