(Sherbrooke) Aged 68, Robert Jolicoeur priest readily admits he is not the oldest of 13 priests residing at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Michel Sherbrooke, but it seemed particularly important to him to emphasize its 40th ordination anniversary Monday.
Proven by disease and health problems in recent years, the former priest believes it is better to celebrate as time still allows him to do so.
“Something tells me that I can not celebrate my 50th. Maybe it’s wrong, but an inner voice told me that I will not make it that far. I take this opportunity to make a beautiful moment, “said one who was ordained April 25, 1976.
The time, in part, but especially the pride of accomplishment grow while watching the path to today.
“Celebrating my 40th anniversary of ordination, it is primarily a source of great joy and pride, because in a world where there are many people who are leaving, whether in marriage or other commitments I am proud to have lasted. For me it is not trivial. I go to bed at night and I am very proud of myself. It was important to stress my 40th because I had the courage to stay. ”
Although 40 years have passed “since this wonderful spring day where it was 18 degrees in the shade” is still with quivering voice that Robert Jolicoeur tells of the day when he was welcomed in siblings of clergy.
“I thought Robert, from today, you will give Jesus to the world and it fascinated me. ”
A role that came with its joys, but also its pains as was quickly pointed out to the abbot.
“Two or three days before my ordination, I went to the monks in St-Benoit-du-Lac. I wanted to make a small retreat to reflect on my commitment. Seeing my enthusiasm, Father Dom Vidal said, ” you know, brother Joliceur, your joy today is young and beautiful like the disciples of Jesus in the beginning, and that’s it so but remember one thing is that the road will be long. There will be many joys, but also sentences. ‘ ”
It was mostly true when it came time to leave the two parishes where he communed for over 12 years, including that of the Saint-Roch parish in the borough Rock Forest-Saint-Élie-Deauville, where he officiated his last Mass in August 2014.
“My joys them, I found them in the daily seemingly uneventful. I had hundreds of joys, like when I would meet little punks in the disused station in Sherbrooke or when I met someone in a detention center. The parishioners, that was my life, not easily supports Robert Jolicoeur. Both times I left the parish, practically force, it made me sick to the highest degree, especially when I saw them full of priests who were renewed after 12 years and who were 16 or 18 at the same location. I nearly died each time. I do not deny that creates new links and that is positive, but I had become attached to people, people I served. ”
Far from taking credit for its 40 services, Robert Joliceur stresses that this is in part due to the latter he could do the same.
“If I took was that I was surrounded by many friends. This is what allowed me to move through time. It’s amazing how I was surrounded by kindness, generosity and compassion. Sometimes you give, but at the same you get double or triple what you gave to people. ”
However, he made his mourning of a parish of its own, which does not prevent him to continue to be active. In this year of mercy declared by Pope Francis, Robert Joliceur runs every Sunday at the cathedral, from 13 to 16 pm, a pilgrimage of mercy. It also continues to record programs for the victory of love on the TVA network.
“The day I reached into my body by the disease, that’s when I realized that I could not offer a population that they are entitled to expect a priest to time full. I would like to have a parish, the parishioners yes miss, but when I am lucid, I know I can not. That does not stop me to do something else and to pursue my way, but differently and at a slower pace. ”