Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher digs deep into world of psalms in his recently released three-volume books, "The Pslams for Our Lives." Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Archbishop Durocher digs deep into world of psalms

  • April 5, 2017

OTTAWA – An idea that took root 15 years ago is now a reality for Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher.

It takes the form of the three-volume The Psalms for Our Lives, which was launched at an event March 24 at Saint Paul University hosted by Novalis.

The Archbishop of Gatineau said he hoped the books help people connect the sacred songs and poems to their Christian faith, to their personal lives and to their prayer life.

The idea for the volumes came out of columns he began writing 15 years ago in French and in English for local papers while he was Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall. He knew he had both Catholic and Protestant readers as well as those with little or no faith at all.

Writing once a week, it took him three years to get through all 150 psalms of the Old Testament, he said.

He would usually write on Saturday mornings. Though his academic specialty had been sacramental theology, he had always loved studying Scripture and preaching was important to him, he said.

Consequently, he had a collection of commentaries he could consult about the psalms. If he was writing about Psalm 15, for example, he would read what the various commentaries had to say, then sit for a while in prayer to discover the focus he would take for the newspaper.

He examined the origins of the psalm and the “sense of the text,” connect the psalm to the Gospel message in the New Testament, then connect the psalm to his life.

Novalis publishing director Joe Sinasac said he had met Durocher at a reception and, after learning about the columns, suggested this “labour of love” would make good books.

“He brings his inspiring wisdom and passion for the psalms not only to a new generation, but also the entire Canadian community,” Sinasac said.

Carol Kuzmochka, a specialist in faith education and director of Saint Paul University’s School for Ministry Formation, described The Psalms for Our Lives as “150 gifts” that can “nourish and deepen our faith” and that of others.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in their Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes identified the “disconnect between faith and life” as one of the problems facing the modern world, Kuzmochka said.

Durocher’s book can help heal that disconnect and “help us to be better evangelizers,” she said.

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