Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Parish prays for papal prospect

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ST-MATHIEU-DE-HARRICANA, Que. -- Worshipers from the home parish of a Canadian papal contender offered prayers and predictions on Sunday for one of their own.

Following mass at a church in northwestern Quebec, parishioners discussed the possibility of Marc Cardinal Ouellet inheriting St. Peter's throne.

Ouellet, 68, is a popular figure in the rural community of La Motte, where he was born, raised and ordained as a priest.

Now, many here are rooting -- and praying -- for Ouellet, whose name has been mentioned as one of the front-runners.

"For a little village of 400 residents, it would be an honour to have a pope," said Leo Paul Larouche, who grew up with Ouellet in the village, nearly 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal. "I think there's a good chance he'll become pope. We're following it every day."

Bookmakers and Vatican observers consider Ouellet among the top contenders to replace recently retired Pope Benedict XVI. Ouellet serves as head of the powerful Congregation for Bishops, which vets bishop nominations worldwide.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 4, 2013 A8

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