Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/6/2012 (3401 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
PARISHIONERS of St. Boniface Cathedral were prepared Thursday to vacate their worship space to make way for summer renovations, but they weren't expecting to also bid adieu to their priest the same day.
On Thursday, Rev. Marcel Damphousse, currently rector of the cathedral, was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to become Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, a bilingual Roman Catholic diocese in southeastern Ontario.
"I think his appointment is wonderful, but not very good for us," said Claudette Savard, chairwoman of the St. Boniface parish pastoral council, referring to the priest's involvement in the $6-million renovation underway at the cathedral.
"I've known from working with him he was bishop material."
Savard said the church's roof, windows and interior will be repaired over the next few months, and the congregation will celebrate mass in the basement parish hall for the rest of the summer because scaffolding limits access to the building.
Damphousse's appointment comes exactly 21 years after the native of St. Joseph, Man., was ordained a priest. He has served in parishes in southern Manitoba and Winnipeg and worked as chaplain of St. Boniface Diocesan High School.
Since his appointment to the cathedral four years ago, Damphousse, 49, has been instrumental in developing a parish council, planning for the extensive repairs and renovations to the cathedral and adjacent ruins and developing a new vision for the historic site.
"He can see the bigger picture and put strategies in place, and he's also very good with details," said Gerry Labossiere, co-chairman of the cathedral's fundraising committee, which has already raised $2.4 million.
Damphousse expects to take up his new responsibilities in Alexandria-Cornwall, a diocese of 55,600 Catholics in 29 parishes and missions, by the end August. His replacement at the cathedral has not yet been named, as Archbishop Albert LeGatt of St. Boniface is vacationing in France this week.
"It's a loss for us, but it will benefit the whole diocese where he is appointed to," said Rev. Léonce Aubin, chancellor of the diocese.
"I was very much OK to be a parish priest," Damphousse said of his appointment, adding he had 10 days to process the news before it became public.
"I was not looking for a promotion. I'm honoured to be asked by the Holy Father to take on this responsibility."
Brenda Suderman has been a columnist in the Saturday paper since 2000, first writing about family entertainment, and about faith and religion since 2006.