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Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher was installed as the second archbishop of Gatineau Nov. 30, on the Feast of St. Andrew. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Durocher installed as Gatineau's archbishop

  • December 7, 2011

GATINEAU, QUE. - In a celebration fraught with historic and symbolic significance, Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher was installed as the second archbishop of Gatineau Nov. 30, on the Feast of St. Andrew.

More than 800 people packed St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Gatineau’s Hull district, including 46 bishops from across Canada and Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte. Durocher’s parents and many siblings, nieces, nephews and friends joined the faithful of Gatineau for the joyous occasion.

Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana represented the Holy Father at the installation and, after reading the papal announcement, led Durocher to his cathedral chair.

In his homily, Durocher noted that the nuncio’s presence reminded them the diocesan bishop’s ministry has no value unless it is lived in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter.

Durocher, who served five years in Sault Ste. Marie and 10 years as bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, explained in his homily how he arrived at his episcopal motto “Canta et ambula” — or in English, “Sing and Walk."

Though usually mottos are lifted from Scripture, Durocher took his from a homily of St. Augustine. We must sing to encourage ourselves along our road, to support one another, to lift hearts when the effort required makes us want to pack up and go home, he said. That led Augustine to conclude his homily with the words “Canta et ambula.”

Durocher, who had spent five years training as a classical singer and abandoned a promising career as an opera singer for the priesthood, found in Augustine’s words a confirmation of his vocational discernment.

“I would not stop singing,” he said, noting he found a new way to express it, especially through the celebration of the liturgy.

"Now it is with you, the people of God who are in Gatineau, that I am invited to sing and walk," he said.

Durocher also described the significance of the Feast of St. Andrew for his personal ministry.

“I carry his name, but I have the impression I carry also a little of his spirit,” he said. 

Andrew was the brother of Peter and both responded rapidly to the call of Jesus Christ, he said. In the Gospel of John, it is recounted that Andrew led his brother Peter to Jesus.

Durocher described St. Andrew as the intermediary between Jesus and others, as one who leads people to Christ. He was an evangelist before any of the Gospels were written.

“The image of St. Andrew, the evangelist to facilitate the encounter with Jesus, may be an image that can help us to outline our future tonight,” he said.

Durocher told his new flock that he would visit pastoral regions of the diocese over the next few months. But before that, as vice president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the archbishop will accompany conference president Archbishop Richard Smith and a representative of the Canadian Religious Conference on a Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace solidarity and familiarization mission to Haiti Dec. 14-22.

Durocher shared with his new flock that he wore the episcopal ring of Bishop Aldophe Proulx, a former Gatineau bishop who died in office after 10 years. The ring had been given to Proulx by Pope Paul VI at the close of the Second Vatican Council, in which Proulx was one of the Canadian bishops who participated.

Durocher explained he had been given the ring by Proulx’s family when he was called to the episcopacy 15 years previously as an auxiliary bishop in Sault Ste. Marie. A family member told him the family wanted the ring given to a new bishop who came from Northern Ontario and had served in French Ontario.

"The ring of the Council which Bishop Proulx received is proof of my commitment to welcome the richness of the past, celebrate the present and to discern with you the future," he said in French.

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