On July 5 Bill Marrevee celebrated his 80th birthday. This birthday is perhaps more memorable than others since with this birthday, Bill will also be entering more fully into retirement. Archbishop Paul-André Durocher has thanked Bill for his years of service in the diocese of Gatineau where Bill was pastor in Alymer, Buckingham and the last few years in Chelsea and Cantley. Also the community thanked Bill for his many years of pastoral service. Bill was to the core a pastor of believers. He can take all these memories into his “new” retirement. Thanks, Bill.
On Sunday July 3 the many friends gathered in the parish hall of St. Mark’s in Aylmer and feted Bill. Present was the Archbishop, the member of parliament Greg Fergus, and the mayor of Chelsea, Caryl Greene. Caryl Greene, a graduate from Saint Paul University, gave a touching presentation. It was a worthy tribute to Bill, so here it is:
Tribute by Caryl Green
I’ve been asked to say a few words on behalf of the many parishioners whom Bill has served in the Outaouais…. “Served” is the operative word here because Bill has always been there to care for, to listen, to be with the people of the communities he’s lived among.
Yes, Bill is an academic at heart, having studied and worked for many years at Saint Paul University. But, even through those years at the university, Bill was – more often than not – in a parish for Sunday liturgy (often here at St. Mark’s).
Bill’s theory was never limited to the four walls of a classroom. He established the Summer Institute of Pastoral Liturgy, thirty years ago, precisely to take the theory, the principles of liturgy and put them into action in parishes across Canada.
“With and For the People” captures Bill’s presence among us… and for that we know ourselves to have been Blessed!! And for that, for Bill, we give Thanks!!
Each and every one of us has been touched, in some way, by Bill’s generosity, his caring, his listening, and his ready availability when needed. Let’s take a moment to remember how and when Bill has touched our lives through:
– baptisms, weddings, funerals…
– First Communion, Confirmation, Reconciliation (though not in that order J).
And beyond the formal, liturgy-based moments, through:
– conversations over coffee after mass…
– a simple handshake, with a word of encouragement, of comfort…
– parish dinners, washing dishes, cemetery clean-ups…
– a quiet presence in the hospital room.
Years ago, I remember Bill mentioning he’d often go to the local coffee shops and the mall to meet parishioners where they were… not waiting for people to come to him! And when in the hospital, he’d visit and pray with members of our sister churches – never limiting his service to “his” parishioners only.
These moments were as important (perhaps more!) than the formal encounters. Bill brought the Word of God to us through his words of comfort, of compassion, of understanding, and hope!
I would be remiss to not mention Bill’s homilies. For Bill, his homilies were based on listening to the Word of God, the Scriptures in one ear, and listening to the newspaper, the TV news reports in the other ear. Bill devoted many, many hours of each week to prepare this important message for the benefit of parishioners gathered together each Sunday.
Bill fed us, nourished our Spirit with the Word… along with the Bread, and the Wine!!
I could go on and on with stories of Bill’s compassion and caring. Instead, I invite you to share your stories with one another today. Perhaps write them down on a card – if not today, over the coming days, and send them to Bill. I know these stories – all told – will amaze us!
Bill, thank you for all that you’ve done and given to us over the years. But more importantly, thank you for who you are and how you’ve shared yourself with us.
On behalf of all parishioners whom you have served – Thank you!!
Happy Birthday, Bill!!
Bill with Greg Fergus, the member of Parliament and a parishioner at St. Mark’s.