The church in Quebec has been blessed with new leadership this past week with the announcement that two of Quebec City's auxiliary bishops will be taking up new posts, one not having to leave the diocese and the other, heading to former Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet's original spiritual home.
Quebec Auxiliary Bishop Gilles Lemay heads to the Diocese of Amos, where the present head of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops (Cardinal Ouellet) spent his early years and completed his education degree. The February 23rd announcement was an early birthday present for the new ordinary, who turned 63 the following day.
The second, more high profile posting elevates Quebec auxiliary Bishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix (pictured above) to Archbishop of Quebec with the additional title of Primate of Canada (this Archbishop always has that title as he shepherds the birthplace of our faith in Canada).
Archbishop-designate Lacroix has served as Diocesan Administrator since August of 2010, elected to the post by his peers following the departure of Cardinal Ouellet to Rome. At ease in either official language, his studies and pastoral work have taken him everywhere from Quebec to Colombia and New Hampshire. Named an auxiliary bishop in 2009, at 53, he remains one of the youngest bishops in the country, allowing him to settle in for what many (barring Vatican appointments) would anticipate to be a lengthy stay in this important role. He also heads to the front of the line (or back of it as processions go) when attending any function where Canadian bishops process by order of precedent. His installation will take place on March 25th.
Interesting tidbit - Archbishop-designate Lacroix, following the media announcement from the diocese, launched his Twitter feed - if you're a social media junkie, you can follow his tweets here.
For those monitoring other moves in Quebec, more than half of the province's 19 ordinaries (including Cardinal Turcotte in Montreal) will reach the age of retirement (75) in the next two years so the deck will be shuffling significantly in the months ahead. With Cardinal Ouellet overseeing the final recommendation of bishops to the Holy Father in Rome, it will be interesting to see how the landscape evolves in a province that is fighting an increasingly secular influence, a sad state for many where religious ties to education, social service and overall presence in the public square continue to be diluted.
For all those who are tirelessly working to fight the good fight in Quebec and for its newest shepherds, we offer our prayers and best wishes...
Photo: Archdiocese of Quebec