There were a number of reasons for celebrating a memorable year in the life of the Montréal community. On Tuesday December 27 the community came together to do just that. It has been a memorable year for Fr. Claude Bédard. Claude had some serious health issues this past year and so it had become time to decrease his activities. It led to him being replaced at the Procure des Missions in the month of July by Mme Nicole Béland. Claude has run the Procure for a long time and has given it a new élan. But he wished to be relieved and his illness made it imperative. So in July he put together a plan in which his involvement in the Procure would be limited to writing the texts of the letters to the benefactors. Nicole would run the rest. Nicole has been part of the office for almost two decades. The Region’s contract with her was agreed upon at the December meeting of Council. In August, his term of office far beyond its limits already, Claude was replaced by Gustave Lulendo as the new superior of the Montréal community. Quite an eventful year for Claude. Claude was not aware that this was being planned for him. So his surprise was genuine, when he was told that he was a major focus of the day’s celebration.
There were other reasons why 2016 was memorable for the Montréal community. On December 14 Fr. Louis-Marie Butari became officially a member of the Canadian Region. And in the near future we also await the official acceptance of Fr. Engelbert Fotsing as a member of the Canadian Region. The Region is awaiting the decision by the Province of Cameroon and the General Council. On December 27 we celebrated the event.
And finally the community received a new reason for its existence this past year through the appointment by the Archdiocese of Montréal of Louis-Marie Butari as the administrator of the Unité pastorale of Visitation, Saints Martyrs Canadiens and Saint Antoine-Marie Claret with Fr. Engelbert Fotsing and Fr. Gustave Lulendo as assistants. Fr. John van den Hengel met with Mgr Pierre Blanchard, the interim administrator of the Unité pastorale on December 14 to discuss the take-over. The new appointments will go into effect on January 1. As he lives nearby, Mgr Blanchard has agreed to continue to act as advisor in the future when there is need. The new pastoral team will live at the community house at 2830 Boulevard Guoin. The three parishes all with their original rectories are in the vicinity of the house. Each of the members of the team have an office in one of the rectories. The church of Visitation is the oldest church on the island of Montréal. It was built and dedicated in 1792. It is now a very popular church for weddings and funerals. In the past years there have been between 65 and 70 weddings a year at the beautiful Quebec-Gothic church.