Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 13, 2004
Fr. Gauvreau dies at 64
St. Joseph Seminary rector devoted his life to preparing men for the priesthood
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Sulpician Father Louis-Paul Gauvreau will be remembered as a man of duty who fell in love with the Church.
Gauvreau, rector of St. Joseph Seminary for the past two years, died of heart complications Sept. 2. He was 64. Father Shayne Craig, the vice-rector, will lead the seminary until a new rector is hired.
"Father Paul was a very quiet man and a very humble man and, above all, he was a man of duty," Craig said Sept. 2. "He went about his responsibilities as rector with that quietness and humility. He was very, very devoted to the Church and to the men that he was preparing for the priesthood."
Gauvreau became rector of the seminary in September 2002 and led a formation team of four other priests. In an interview following his appointment he said he was happy to be at St. Joseph because "it's one of the best seminaries in Canada." One of the seminary's finest features, he said, is that seminarians study together with laymen and women, which greatly helps their formation.
"I think I'll remember Father Paul primarily for his presence, that humble attention to daily duty, the small things," Craig said.
"He did many little things that are required to do everyday with great amounts of love."
Father Michel Rodrige, another member of the seminary formation team, described Gauvreau as a "likeable person" and a "sociable person" who would take care of the seminarians and was attentive to them.
"He was a guy who would always listen and he would keep what had to be kept in his heart."
Gauvreau's death is a big loss to the seminary and the Sulpician community, said Father Marco Antonio Forero, a seminary professor.
"He was a man with a sense of fraternity and respect for each person and had a profound spirituality and devotion for Jesus Christ."
Gauvreau would never turn down an assignment and would give himself wherever he was asked, according to Craig.
"He was always a bit shy about his English and I think he was a little overwhelmed that he was asked to come to an anglophone environment where he would be working in an English-speaking seminary.
"But when he was asked, he came. He would never say 'no' to something if he were asked."
Gauvreau's main contribution is that he inspired people to work together, Craig said.
"And so I would say he helped us work together as a team in the seminary and he helped us to work together with the college.
"In his gentleness he brought about a deeper unity, a deeper communion in the Church."
Concerned about the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, particularly in the United States, Gauvreau decided to focus his rector conferences on celibacy in the first year and on priestly identity in the second year.
"And, I still remember, after a whole year of conferences he turned to the guys and said, 'You know, there is only one reason to be celibate and that is because you've fallen in love,'" Craig recalled.
Fell in love with Christ
"He was that type of a man. He fell in love with Christ. He fell in love with the Church and he wanted to give himself to his Lord in service of the Church. It's not a bad legacy, you know."
Born and raised in Quebec, Gauvreau served the Church as a priest for 40 years.
He spent most of his priestly career in the formation of seminarians.
In addition to serving on various formation teams, Gauvreau served as seminary rector in Manizales, Colombia for almost 10 years during the 1980s. He served as professor and rector of the Grande Seminaire in Montreal for 12 years before arriving in Edmonton two years ago.
Archbishop Thomas Collins presided at a funeral Mass for Gauvreau at the seminary chapel Sept. 7.
Letter to the Editor - 10/04/04