Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 7, 2008
Casavant's laughter, joy echo through his priestly life
Parishioners permit priests to touch them in the heart
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"I love being a priest. It's a very exciting vocation."
His enthusiasm for the priesthood led him in 2002 to join the Society of Saint Sulpice, a society of diocesan priests dedicated to the formation of priests. As part of his role in the society, he provides an internship for a young seminarian in his parish.
"I think you have to have a sense of humour when you are a priest," maintains Casavant, who is known for his loud, joyful and infectious laugh. "If you can't express the message of Christ with joy, what can you tell the people? Joy is Christ's love revealed."
Born the second of three children in Granby, Quebec, Casavant came to Edmonton in 1974. As his father was an instructor with the Canadian Forces, he did his elementary schooling at the Griesbach Canadian Forces base. His parents, Gilles and Annette, now live in Bon Accord. He has an identical twin brother, Alain, who is married with a wife and child. His older sister Lucie has two adult children and lives in St. Albert.
As a young boy Casavant struggled with the idea of what he was going to be when he grew up. "I didn't know so I prayed to God," he recalled. "I really wanted to be able to change people's lives. What became clear is that I couldn't (on my own) but with God in me I could."
The pastor at CFB Griesbach, Father Conrad Verreault, suggested Casavant consider the priesthood but the lad would have nothing to do with it.
"Me, a priest! Are you kidding?" he told the priest.
However, the idea would not go away and became irresistible when he was in Grade 12 at O'Leary High. His questioning led him to St. Pius X Minor Seminary in Saskatoon and eventually to St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton.
"I had a strong sense that God wanted me to do this," he recalled. But as his studies progressed Casavant had doubts. "There were times when I didn't get a sense of God's presence." He wondered whether he should continue with his studies. He wanted a clear sign that God wanted him to stay. It didn't come.
"But I never heard God say, 'leave' (so I stayed)."
It was Casavant's belief that God is "a power of love that is never going away" that helped him to overcome his doubts about the priesthood.
"I have no regrets," he says. "I love being a priest. It's a very exciting vocation."
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