Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 2, 2008
New bishop for Prince Albert named
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Prince Albert, Sask.
Pope Benedict has appointed Father Albert Thévenot, the Montreal-based provincial superior of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), as the new bishop for Prince Albert, Sask.
The pope also accepted the retirement of Bishop Blaise Morand, who had reached the retirement age of 75.
As provincial, Thévenot, 62, was in charge of Canada, the United States and Mexico for the missionary order. He said he was "very surprised" at the appointment. Born in Treherne, Man., in 1945, Thévenot became a priest in 1980. He recalled always "having an interest in helping other people in far off lands."
He chose the Missionaries of Africa because they were the only congregation that he knew of that was serving in Africa. He spent 15 years in Tanzania, doing parish work, teaching and working with youth.
"It was better than I thought it would be," he said in an interview from Montreal. "I learned more from the Africans about what is mission than I could bring them."
"I think they changed us more than we changed them."
Thévenot has served in Rome for the order's general council, and then spent a year and a half working with the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. He returned to Canada in 2004. He became provincial two years ago in July.
His work on the council involved lots of travel to various African countries. His work has also brought him in contact with people coming from the Philippines, Mexico and Brazil, experiences he has found enriching.
He plans to travel to Prince Albert soon to talk with Morand about the transition. He has never visited the diocese.
The ordination is planned for early August, but a date has not been set. Morand said he planned to "shine up my golf clubs" in preparation for his retirement.
He described the ordination of five young men to the priesthood May 23 as his "swansong." because he had known the name of his replacement for two weeks.
"Right now we have priests in pretty well all the parishes where we needed them."
Many of the new priests come from other countries such as Vietnam or the Philippines. Morand accepted the young men as seminarians, giving them five or six years to "acclimatize and acculturate."
He recently ordained to the diaconate a Canadian who will be ordained a priest next year.
Far reaching diocese
Prince Albert stretches across Saskatchewan, touching both the Manitoba and Alberta borders. It includes rich farmland and extensive forests.
"I live in my car," Morand joked. "The geography is huge; the population is sparse."
Morand was ordained coadjutor bishop in 1981. He became ordinary in 1993.